How can I get over my fear of public embarrassment?
A lot of times, I avoid situations where I am to meet new people because I have a fear of embarrassing myself. I often avoid large groups of people, like parties, because I think they all constantly judge me.
Hello, and thank you for your question. First, I want you to know that you are certainly not alone on this issue. Everyone, at some point in time, has a fear of public embarrassment. But for many people, this fear can become so awful that it begins to have a real negative impact on their quality of life. They will try to avoid any situation that they even THINK will cause them embarrassment or anxiety. Escaping a possible embarrassing moment by avoiding or isolating may cause some relief at first, but then many times the avoidance will eventually lead to loneliness, isolation, and even despair. By avoiding, we can also miss out on things that make us feel alive and bring enjoyment.
There are many self-help books that offer advice on this issue. You can do an internet search, and I recommend reading the reviews of the book. That is great way to find out if others have found the book helpful.
Another option is to seek a counselor to help you with this fear. I would recommend a counselor who specializes in helping people who have anxiety or social anxiety. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a good choice for helping with anxiety, but there are many others.
The truth is that anxiety and fear of embarrassing ourselves is not something that any of us will ever "get over", but we can learn to respond to those feelings differently.
A colleague may offer some other advice, as well.. Be well
Robin Landwehr, DBH, LPC, NCC
- 299 views
When I talk with clients about social anxiety sometimes I'll ask them what they would do if their anxiety was manageable. Would you want to be more social? Would that improve you quality of relationships in your life? These answers can clarify what you want your life to look like and how much socialization you are truly interested in.
It's normal to have thoughts and fears about what others are thinking of us, otherwise we'd be pretty shameless in our behavior!
Even though we feel as though we are in the spotlight, the truth is that most people are not focused on us. There's hundreds of thousands of stimuli the brain processes (especially at a party!) and you are a very small percentage of that. Think about it this way--if you are at a party with a bunch of other people, why would you be in "center stage" vs anyone else at that party? When people are worried about embarrassment or judgment, they typically act in ways to be less visible in public. Chances are, people notice you less than they notice others simply because of avoidance behaviors.
I don't think it's needed to attend every social event because who has the energy for that?! But pushing yourself to engage can teach your brain that you can push yourself through these events. The more you avoid, the more your brain will because the situation is something to fear. If you can, stick with someone you trust or connect to. That could help you to enjoy the experience more and frame it somewhat positively.
If you really struggle on your own, you could visit a counselor and work on some strategies that fit for you.
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Why not accept and tolerate that you naturally are a shy person who doesn't like large groups?
This is not necessarily something to get over if it is part of who you are.
People have the capacity to judge others regardless of whether the group is large or small.
If you aren't afraid of being judged in small groups then study the factors which allow you to feel safe in small groups.
Possibly you can generalize your findings to large group venues.
If you try the and aren't successful, then likely you simply aren't naturally someone who cares for large group settings.
Not everything a person doesn't like is a symptom of something is wrong w the person!
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