What are the negative effects of the fear of ridicule?
These are the limitations and problems that arise from an excessive fear of making a fool of oneself.
The fear of making a fool of oneself is a phenomenon that conditions and limits the lives of many people.
Beyond being a simple attitude when it comes to assessing the risks and possible advantages of certain social interactions, this psychological phenomenon leads some people to minimize relationships with those they know little or not at all.
In this article we will see what exactly is the fear of making a fool of oneself and what can be its negative effects on people's lives. in the life of the people.
What is the fear of making a fool of oneself?
In short, the fear of making a fool of oneself is the emotional response to the anticipation of looking so bad in front of others that one might even be laughed at.
In itself, fear of ridicule need not always be problematic; in some cases it is simply a way ofIn some cases, it is simply a way to avoid getting involved in activities that one does not master and that may lead to an unflattering image of oneself in front of others; in such cases, the fear of ridicule can be seen as a mechanism to protect one's public image, taking into account certain conventions, aesthetic codes, etc.
However, when the fear of making a fool of oneself becomes very intense, it almost always becomes a problem.
When the fear of ridicule is a recurrent psychological element in a person's behavior, often goes hand in hand with a personality type that tends toward shyness..... Shyness is precisely the predisposition to be afraid of going out of the canons of "normal" in front of people you hardly know, because you are looking for their approval with great insistence.
But when this fear of making a fool of oneself becomes so extreme, in frequency of occurrence and intensity, that it governs the person's social behavior, it can become a real disorder, it can become a real anxiety disorder: social phobia.social phobia.
People who develop this psychopathology actively take measures to avoid interacting with people they do not know, and isolate themselves socially so as not to expose themselves to rejection by others (assuming that this rejection will occur).
- You may be interested in, "How does self-esteem influence making friends?"
Possible problems produced by the fear of making a fool of oneself.
The fear of making a fool of oneself is much more than an entirely subjective experience; it also has an objective component, embodied in the person's actions, which can significantly impair our quality of life.
Here you will find a summary of the most common problems that can occur in the daily life of those who feel this type of fear in a very intense way.
1. Loss of opportunities in social life
The fear of making a fool of oneself makes the task of making friends or even meeting potential love or sexual partners becomes very complicated or even impossible.. Therefore, it leads many people to feel very frustrated with their social life.
2. Opportunity cost of wanting to "fit in".
Another negative consequence of the fear of making a fool of oneself is that people who are very shy or even socially phobic may spend a lot of time and resources trying to "fit in" by going the theoretical learning route.
That is, they they become obsessed with knowing all the conventions to which they have to adapt toThey are obsessed with knowing in advance everything that can make them look ridiculous.
3. Serious problems when communicating in front of an audience
In contexts like the university or certain jobs it is necessary to make oral presentations in front of a more or less ample audience.This kind of experience can be terrifying for those who are more sensitive to the fear of making a fool of themselves.
Therefore, this psychological phenomenon can significantly limit the prospects for academic or professional improvement.
4. The avoidance of social interactions is limiting.
When the fear of making a fool of oneself is sufficiently intense that it leads the leads the person to try to avoid social interactions that he/she knows could occur, this causes other problems to arise.This causes other parallel problems to arise.
For example, to lengthen too much the way back home to avoid to pass in front of the point of meeting of a group, to avoid to go to familiar dinners and to expose itself to conflicts for it, etc.
5. It leads many people to not want to go to therapy.
Unfortunately, the fear of making a fool of oneself leads many people to avoid seeking the psychotherapeutic help they need because they do not want to show their vulnerabilities before a psychology professional.
The idea that the problems that one suffers oneself will give an image that is too pitiful or undignified makes people seek to hide this discomfort and the problems associated with it, assuming that they are "nonsense" or the result of a kind of "mental weakness". This phenomenon is related to the stigmas that for decades have been carried by people in need of mental health support..
What to do in the face of this kind of fear?
The most effective way to deal with this kind of problem is to attend psychotherapy. In the psychologist's office it is possible to address both the root of the problem and what the person has learned. installed in what the person with fear of ridicule has learned, as well as the contextual aspects of everyday life that keep it activated.
The main objective is to make the person improve both his self-esteem and self-efficacy with regard to social relationships, so that he does not feel that he must "overcompensate" for everything he does in front of others by putting a lot of effort into being accepted and being in control of everything he says and does. In this way she will be able to focus more on the spontaneity of what is happening at every moment, instead of making conscious decisions about every single detail in the way she speaks, gestures, etc.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)