I’m just gonna bust out and say it. Most people don’t give a fuck about you – and I truly mean that in the best way possible.
I want you to imagine the last time you were in public and feeling self-conscious. Maybe you dropped your Starbuck at Target, or felt like a weirdo for an uncalled-for “you too”. You can probably remember the details on your end of the interaction- everything you did or said that made you feel awkward AF. We remember the details of our interactions because we are hard-wired to be acutely aware of our own behavior. When you reflect on those moments, can you remember details of the strangers around you? I bet you can’t or it’s fuzzy at best, because realistically you didn’t notice that much about them. Studies have proven that we are mostly preoccupied with ourselves. In social psychology, the tendency to overestimate how much people notice about us is called the spotlight effect. We may think people have a spotlight on us, but they don’t. This is good news for your social anxiety, you are officially free to make mistakes without having other people notice or care.
Want further evidence of how little people notice? I work as a waitress in a nice restaurant. I am 5’5”, and my hair is brown. My coworker is 5’1”, and her hair is RED, like really red. People mistake us for one another all. the. time. Sometimes I spend an hour interacting with people and they can’t remember what I look like- which is fine- because it’s so damn freeing.
Bottom line, when you find yourself stewing over a social mishap, those strangers are well on their way to forgetting you exist. Don’t make yourself relive the things that don’t matter for people who don’t matter. Do what you want, be who you are, and try not to give a fuck.
*(If you are reading this and suffer from severe or clinical social anxiety, I am not seeking to minimize what you’re dealing with and encourage you to seek professional treatment options ❤️. )*