In situations where I feel uncomfortable, my natural (and, let me add, uncontrollable) reaction is to laugh.
I've been like this for as long as I remember. It gets me in trouble, or at least earns me a lot of grief.
When I was in seventh grade, a strict substitute said something to my class that made me nervous. I giggled, received the death glare, and promptly began to cry.
In eighth grade, I watched a boy in my class almost cut off his lower lip. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, I laughed. My class was buzzing at this point, so only a few people noticed. They said something, and my teacher came to my defense, informing all the ignorant eighth graders (including myself) that sometimes people laugh when they get nervous.
This diagnosed all of my problems, and I was glad to know about it.
During high school, when boys would ask me out, I would often get nervous and giggle before rejecting them...making me seem like the biggest you-know-what in the world, when really, I just didn't know how to respond to such advances.
I attributed these events, and many others, to my nervous laughter, and I've gone on living my life without a problem.
Tonight my nervous laughter at work caused someone much higher above me authority-wise (astronomically so) to feel as if I were insulting him and joking about situation that wasn't at all humorous.
I quickly apologized, explaining I laugh when I get nervous and that I intended no disrespect whatsoever. I apologized again when we were wrapping up our conversation, and he accepted it.
But I still feel terrible, and I still get a little emotional (read: I cry) when I think about it. Okay, so it only happened like, 30 minutes ago, but I'm still extremely upset. So there you go.
I don't know why this instance feels so much worse than all the others, but it does. And I don't know what else there is for me to do - I sincerely apologized, so what more is there than that?
It doesn't help that a person who would normally reassure me in this situation is either ignoring me or too busy to talk to me right now.
Doesn't really matter, considering I hate talking when I'm upset (read: crying) anyway.
But still. I feel awful, awful, awful.
Stupid nervous laughter.