Human beings are social animals. Research quite literally shows that we need interaction with other human beings in order to survive. Our life, our health, and our happiness are all directly connected to our ability to communicate and socialize with others.
Still, many of us also struggle with social anxieties. While not everyone may have social anxiety that qualifies as a mental health diagnosis, we can still have fears, anxiousness, and shyness in social situations.
Motivation for Feeling Social Anxiety and Fear
Social phobia can have many different causes and symptoms, and has been linked to issues like trauma, bullying, and other past experiences. One of the most common symptoms of social anxiety is a fear of being judged, and a fear of making a mistake in a way that hurts their social standing.
In psychotherapy treatments for social anxiety, like CBT, one way that we try to help address social phobia is to reframe the way you see and approach different situations. The fear of being judged is a perfect example of this. We often feel like, when we stumble within a conversation, that the person on the other end is making fun of us or thinking about how much we made a mistake.
But, when you leave a conversation, how much time do you spend thinking about all the mistakes *someone else* made? How much time do you spend thinking about and judging other people for their fumbles?
Most likely, you don’t think about other people’s mistakes at all.
The truth is that most people do not spend time thinking about you. Most people do not spend much time thinking about anyone but themselves. We all live very busy lives with our own stresses and distractions. We have our own family to worry about. We have dozens of conversations throughout the day. Most people simply do not have the time and energy to spend thinking about every little mistake you made.
And that’s a good thing.
Part of our social anxieties come from feeling like other people care about us enough to talk about us and think about us all throughout the day. But other people are not thinking about us at all. Even in situations where we do truly and objectively do or say something embarrassing, most people have too much going on in their lives and their own needs/desires to focus on anyone but themselves.
Other People Care About You – But Not That Way
Other people do care about you. They care that you’re happy. They care that you have your needs met. They care if you tell them that you got a new job and they care if you tell them you lost a family member.
But very few people have the time or energy to care about small conversational mistakes or inappropriate verbal responses. They don’t care about your facial tics or your bad jokes. There’s very little that any person can do that can cause someone else to focus and think about them all throughout the day.
So the next time that you find yourself worried about being judged, remember how little energy other people have to spend thinking about your mistakes. We all have our own stresses to worry about.