How embarrassing.

I’ve mentioned before my phobia of being embarrassed. It’s probably the thing I am most afraid of, that gives me the most anxiety when I imagine encountering it. (Well, that and cockroaches. I’ve often said — and meant — that if I found a cockroach in my apartment, he would get the apartment.)

My fear of humiliation manifests itself in bizarre ways sometimes. For example, even if I know the answer to a publicly asked question (and know that I know it), I’ll usually keep quiet on the off-chance that I’m somehow wrong anyway and don’t want to be called out on it.

Another situation I can just barely stand? Going around in a circle and introducing yourself in front of a group.

Yup, I’m saying that one of the most anxiety-producing situations I can experience is having to say my name.

Told you it was a little weird.

As long as I can remember, I’ve dreaded that moment on the first day of school, the first meeting at a new company, etc. the bigger the circle and the longer I have to imagine what could go wrong, the harder my heart pounds.

Why am I so freaked out? I’m worried I’ll say the wrong name or mess up my own an everyone will laugh at me.


It’s a little pathetic, right? I mean, I don’t consider myself an insecure person. I should be able to handle misspeaking and everyone getting a little chuckle out of it.

I was going to say, “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? I stutter over my words, everyone laughs, and we love on.” But the fact is, yeah, that’s the worst that could happen. I can feel my face burn and my stomach fill with butterflies even just thinking about it happening.

Why am I dwelling on this (somewhat ridiculous) phobia? Because yesterday, my entire department had to introduce ourselves to the head of our company, a woman whose name I can almost guarantee you know, a woman who’s a celebrity in her own right and whom I admire and respect and am more than a little intimidated by. And not for nothing, but she’s also a woman who has made it clear she suffers no fools and doesn’t have time for people blathering all over themselves trying to string a few words into a sentence.

So, yeah, I was a little nervous.

I’m going to throw out a spoiler here and tell you it all went fine. She was very nice to me, and a managed to spit out my name, title, tenure with the company, and what I was working on without any embarrassing stammers or awkward phrasing. (I know, you guys! Someone should really get me a medal.)

Unfortunately for me, I think this is just one of those phobias that will always be in the back of my mind. The trick will just be learning to overcome it. (Hint: I’m a big fan of practicing. You know I had rehearsed my little “what I’ve been working on” shpeel.)

Ok, now. Let’s go around the room an everyone say what they’re afraid of so I feel better about my own fears.


But seriously. Spill!


21 thoughts on “How embarrassing.

  1. Spiders and well speaking in front of a large groups of people would get me too. I’d be blabbering like Bridget Jones if thrown out there, ha ha. Glad you didn’t stutter and mess it up though! 🙂

  2. I literally have the exact same fear. I am terrified of being embarrassed. I can’t stand it – the thought alone makes my stomach churn. During an incident a few months ago, I literally burst into tears and told my husband, “this is my worst fear coming true!!” – trust me, the actual thing that happened was “not a big deal” to a “normal” person. Normal, schmormal. You are not alone 😉 also…. spiders. Yuck.

    • Normal people are boring. (Though apparently also less fearful?) We non-normal people need to stick together!

      • OK, I’m not actually afraid of nuclear war. That was a joke. I mean, I would be if the threat was imminent (but wouldn’t we all). But, that isn’t something that causes me anxiety.

        I am legitimately afraid of small volleyball crowds, but that’s because it is my job to make volleyball crowds big, and if the crowd is small not only is it super embarrassing to have to sit through the entire game with the atmosphere of a library, but it also threatens my livelihood. The same can be said for wrestling, baseball and softball.

  3. Ugh I hate those circle things too! I totally agree – the larger the circle the more time you have to get nervous about it AND the more people to embarrass yourself in front of. I like getting to the part where I just know people already!

    • Absolutely! Then even if you say something stupid, they’ve known you long enough to know that you’re not a stupid person. It’s a much better dynamic 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. I hate that introduction thing. I had to introduce myself at our Chamber of Commerce 1st Friday coffee to a room of over 100, and it was awkward. Super awkward. Now I’m dying to know where you work!

    • Chamber of Commerce sounds pretty official! I think I just get especially nervous anytime it’s someone I want to impress or convince that I’m impressive. Too much pressure on myself!

  5. Is it weird that I love the circle thing? Don’t get me wrong, I hate giving presentations or speeches or stuff like that, but I always loved the first day of classes and getting to tell people my name that way because I hate talking to strangers one-on-one and having to tell them my name. :/

    If it makes you feel better, I’m afraid of concerts. I love music. I would kill to see Kenny Chesney or Garth Brooks or Tim McGraw live, but I probably never will. Because I hate large crowds and concerts. They terrify me. I’m afraid of ending up in a mosh pit, even if I’m nowhere near the front. I’m afraid of being trampled or abandoned by whoever I’m with or getting lost or somehow getting in the middle of those random fights that break out at concerts. It’s irrational and paranoid. At least your fear doesn’t keep you from going to concerts? *shrugs*

    • Not weird at all! I’m glad someone enjoys it haha. And I can totally get the concert thing. The crowds are the biggest reason I have a hard time enjoying them too, but my husband LOVES them, so I’ve just had to get used to it.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. My fear is getting too comfortable and blabbing like an egotistical fool. Those folks bother me a lot more than those that are nervous. What seems to help is not thinking about myself. Just thinking about what others need to know. So, in your boss’ case, that Justine is awesome.

  7. I am terrified of birds. Terrified. I avoid quiet beaches and empty parking lots because I know they flock there 😦 it’s usually unnoticeable until I go to the pet shop and scream while runnin out because they have a parrot just let loose in the store. What’s wrong with pet store owners these days?!

  8. Growing up, my fear was waiting for my name to be called during attendance on the first day of school. Because 9 times out of 10, teachers would screw it up or, worse, call me Emily. PEOPLE. It’s Emilia. Like “Amelia.” LIKE EARHART.

    Carla had it so easy.

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