Getting Over Social Embarrassment In 3 Key Steps

Regardless of whether we have social anxiety issues or not, the following has happened to most of us at some point: We go out with someone, to a party, or to a work meeting, and say or do something we later hate ourselves for.

Should you end up socially embarrassed, whatever you do, don’t let the feeling of shame mess with your confidence.

Instead, choose to do the following and rid yourself of that haunting feeling:

1. List the things you did wrong

List the things you’re worried you did wrong and make sure they’re about your behavior and not the reactions of others.

For each act on your list, ask yourself the following question: “Is this an objective fact?” An objective fact is empirically true, and not just something that feels like the truth.


Objective fact – you spilled a drink on someone.

Something that only feels true – you made yourself look like an idiot.

It is more than likely that the people you spent time with would be highly surprised to know that you’re worried about it. And even if you acted a little foolish, they probably didn’t notice and forgot about it as soon as their attention switched to something else.

Recognize the moment you’re ashamed of as a symptom of anxiety and don’t be judgemental about it. Because if your “mess-up” is not an objective fact, it’s alright to forgive yourself.

2. Make a damage assessment 

Keep in mind that all the things that should remain on your list have to be objective facts. And for each of them aks yourself, “Is this really such a big deal?”

Maybe you did spill your drink on another person, but isn’t it possible that you’ve made a fly out of an elephant? Maybe the person was frustrated at first but then was kind to you afterward.

Don’t sweat it. Be more forgiving toward yourself and keep going. We all mess up in small and in big ways from time to time. Accept your imperfect state and tell yourself, “I’m just human, and as such, I can make mistakes.”

Well, if you spilled your drink on a potential employer, then yes, you may have hurt your chances of getting hired.

If that’s the case, it may be time to…

3. Set things right

Set up a meeting with that person at a time and place convenient for both of you and be ready to apologize in a way that feels right.

For example, you might tell them something like, “I feel bad about spilling my drink on you, and I would love to have it cleaned for you.”

By showing that you care, you will be seen as having strong social skills, and being proactive will also improve your confidence as your personal effectiveness gets stronger with time.

We all mess up every once in a while. But we can learn to assess the things we see as wrong accurately and take appropriate action when necessary — raising our social skills and self-esteem while we’re at it.

We hope this article was helpful to you. Let us know your thoughts on the topic by joining the conversation in the comments and please share if you’ve enjoyed the read.

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