Imagine you are sitting in a class, everything is going smooth and you understand everything. Suddenly, the teacher makes a confusing point. So, you just question her politely to explain and repeat the point again. It is as simple as this, right?
For some people, yes but for others, it is a stern no. Some of us just do not understand that how people are able to speak up straight away without repeating and practicing it in their heads. What is it to live without the fear of embarrassment?
Being scared of getting embarrassed, especially in front of people is common. Although it sometimes is good and keeps a person from passing rude or negative remarks on other people, it can be a great pain as well.
For example, the situation of confusion in the class described above. It may also stop you from asking fairly important questions from your health professional or may affect your work or school performance.
Therefore, it is important to have control over this fear. Where it is good to stay conscious, letting it ruin opportunities is probably not a good idea. So, how do you control this?
For such people, a new study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion may be a new hope to all their problems with the fear of embarrassment. The research was led by Li Jiang, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Read more here.
What Does the Study Show?
The main focus of the study was on the perspective of the person when in a potentially embarrassing situation. According to the researchers, the perspective is the most important thing in controlling the fear of embarrassment.
There are two main perspectives – the actor and the observer. When you are seeing things from an actor’s perspective, you tend to become more conscious and feel mortified.
On the other hand, viewing things simply as an observer by detaching emotions from the whole scenario may stop the feeling of mortification.
Conclusively, if you just strictly take an observer’s perspective in an imminent awkward or embarrassing situation, you may actually be more confident and go through it without getting yourself insulted.
How Was the Research Conducted?
To corroborate the claims mentioned above, the team of researchers led had three experiments. Each one of these had an advertisement for common embarrassing situations.
In the first one, a person passes gas in the midst of a yoga class. The second one featured people who had to get tested for STDs. Lastly, the third one showed a person who passes gas during a date in front of the other person.
After showings these ads, the researchers questioned the participants watching on their emotions in such a situation. They were also asked whether they identified more with the actor in the scenario or as an observer.
It was found that when the participants adopted an actor’s perspective, they were more conscious and self-aware. On the other hand, they were much less awkward and aware with an observer’s perspective.
This means viewing things as an observer can help you make things less awkward and handle the situation in a better way.
The researchers argue this shows much more than learning how to control embarrassing situations. They argue that it is a big technique used in marketing psychology. For example, many products are sold with an ad of how can they help in avoiding potential embarrassment.
For instance, many detergents have ads that show how dirty cuffs and collars may mortify you in the office. So, for an effective cleaning of clothes in one laundry session, you can buy the specific powder and avoid such a situation.
Jiang says in conclusion “If we are to help ourselves, and others, we must overcome our fear of embarrassment in social situations”.