Social Phobia: Fear Of Being Judged

· February 1, 2017

Social phobia is an irrational fear that involves great discomfort towards the idea of social relationships. Those who suffer from this phobia manage to keep their distance from people, remaining isolated, because it makes them uncomfortable and stresses them to be in any kind of relationship or have any kind of interaction with other people.

This is a kind of phobia that has many limitations since human contact is a basic part of our lives. We need to relate to those around us in every important sphere of our lives, be this working life or family life, meeting a potential partner, or starting and maintaining a friendship.

Those who suffer from social phobia avoid any circumstances where they find themselves forced to interact with other people. However, in many cases, this is not possible. So they have no option but to face situations that are very difficult for them, particularly because they cannot get the thought out of their head that they are constantly being judged.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

-Nelson Mandela-

Understanding social phobia

Although there are many phobias, social phobia is one of the most misunderstood and crippling. Any social event, parties, meetings – in short, situations in which we must expose ourselves to other people – are the most feared experiences.

Woman Mask on Head


The most deeply rooted fear in this phobia is that of finding oneself in a committed situation that turns out to be shameful and humiliating. This feeling is either because of the consequences of their own fear and anxiety or because of their belief that they are incapable of facing said situation.

Those who suffer from social phobia feel misunderstood and to some extent marginalized. Its complexity and significance lies in the fact that people need the social contact that they are simultaneously avoiding. So the person feels like they are in a prison that gives them an unpleasant sensation.

For this phobia to be diagnosed as such, it must be restricting for the person suffering from it. Furthermore, it must interfere in their life in an incapacitating way, creating serious discomfort, preventing their development in various spheres of their daily life.

Possible causes of social phobia

There can be many causes for this phobia. The most sensitive period in which this can start developing is in adolescence. It may be related to parents who were overprotective. It can also arise from a lack of social skills.

They feel great anxiety towards situations where they anticipate social interaction, in which there may be some sort of social contact and intimacy. The psychophysiological activation that takes place in these situations can lead to symptoms like tachycardia, distress, shaking, blushing, stuttering, and constant sweating.

Once the person has developed this phobia, the best thing they can do is see a specialist. The main goals to work on will be controlling the irrational fear and the discomfort created.

We have a hard time accepting and expressing our needs; in our fear of being judged, we judge others.

Our fear of being judged

In one way or another, we all have this fear that others are judging us based on our abilities, actions, or feelings, be they past, present, or even anticipated. The problem can be seen when this starts making us obsessive, becoming limiting and pathological.

The usual complaint is that we are not understood by others and that nobody understands us. We complain about their lack of empathy without realizing that our attitude and actions are creating that solitude and promoting the lack of affection that we are asking for deep down inside.

Woman Looking Through Hole in Door

Awareness and introspection help us not fall into the trap of thinking that everything that happens to us is the fault of others. In our way of seeing things and acting, there must be consequences, which is why we are also responsible for what we end up bringing to our own life experience.

 “Sometimes we’re just too stubborn to admit that we have needs, because in our society, need equals weakness. When we turn our anger inward, it often expresses itself in feelings of depression or guilt. Anger held internally changes our impressions of the past and distorts our view of current reality. All of this old anger becomes unfinished business not merely with others, but with ourselves.”

-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross-