Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Michael in Oakbrook, Illinois. What should I do when some bad moments or embarrassing moments cause anxiety in my life?
First, remember you’re not alone. Everyone, no matter how polished their social skills, no matter how sophisticated, cultured and refined they are, has said or done the wrong thing at some time. Social embarrassment is something which people literally fear more than death. Think of the potential impact of social embarrassment. There’s often none. It’s our perception of an event, an overstimulation of how people notice you or will care or recall the event hours later. It is often not a big deal, but we perceive it as one.
Social psychology, the study of human social behavior and interaction, has determined that in an ambiguous social situation where there could be the possibility of danger, many people will hesitate to act, whether the options are to flee, intervene or call for help. Why is this? Because what if the situation is being misinterpreted and you are wrong and there is no danger and you acted as if there was? This is embarrassing to be so wrong, and social psychology experiments and observation and analysis of actual events have shown that people will risk death before embarrassment. So ask yourself if this way of thinking is irrational or rational.
Another area to address is to take inventory of your social skills. Do they need further development? Spend more time watching and listening than talking. Consult one of the many sources available on social skills. There are also cultural variations in what is considered appropriate social behavior. This can be important to be aware of.
Another big picture way of looking at this is to relax a little. Sometimes people can just be too sensitive and uptight always concerned about saying and doing the perfect thing. Such perfection is humorless, stiff and boring, in my opinion.