Have you ever judged someone as “rude” for a slow response to a text or e-mail, for ghosting you, not saying “hi” first or at all, for constantly declining invitations, leaving places early, cancelling plans, being “snippy”, being unreliable, not making eye contact, taking over a conversation or project or ignoring you in public (see my “Small Talk” blog!)? If you answered “yes” to my question-thank you for being honest! I can guarantee that everyone at some point in their lives has judged someone as rude for these behaviors- it’s human nature.
Did you know that anxiety and more specifically people with social phobia are often judged as being rude for the behaviors listed above? The irony is that the fear of judgement is the driving force behind social anxiety. “In trust, every action someone with social anxiety takes during the course of a conversation is painstakingly monitored to ensure they don’t say anything wrong. One of the greatest fears of someone with social anxiety is to offend someone to the point that they may be alienated.” (Rosie Wylor-Owen, 3 Ways Your Social Anxiety Makes You Come Off as Rude). It’s a catch-22!
Not many people truly understand or can comprehend the impact that anxiety can have on a person’s behavior. Social phobia is known for being the “least understood anxiety disorder” which often leads people to dismiss these anxious behaviors and instead the person is labeled as rude. At A Little Counseling, we aim to help our anxious and misjudged- “rude” clients retrain their thinking about being judged and develop a tolerance for it, because we’re all going to be judged-OFTEN. We work on building confidence and skills that decrease the “rude” behaviors stated above. With effort and practice, you CAN overcome social phobia and improve your actions.
I challenge you to think about this blog the next time you judge someone as “rude” for the behaviors stated above. A little understanding can go a long way, especially when it comes to one’s mental health.