If you want to win esteem in embarrassing moments (theirs,) simply “don’t notice” your friends’ minor spills, slips, fumbles and blunders. Obviously ignore burps, coughs, hiccups, and all other signs of human frailty in your fellow mortals. If one of your companions suffers the humiliation of audibly passing gas, and should you wink, chuckle, hoot, or show any recognition of his biological blooper, he may return your cheap smile with a humiliated one of his own. But, you’ll lose points in his estimation.
And, say at lunch, a rushing tide of their spilled Coke is flooding across the table for a direct hit, and it will be impossible to ignore by the time it floods your lap. Simply deftly flip your napkin to obstruct the tabletop tidal wave, and try not to miss a syllable of the sentence you started before their mortifying gaffe. On such small sands the castles of respect are built.