Being the Centre of Attention

Hate being the centre of attention?

Whether it’s the knot in the stomach, sweating or the fear of blushing many people hate being the centre of attention.

Occasions such as office nights out, weddings (especially if you are the centre of attention as part of the bridal party), presenting in work, birthday parties, family gatherings or partner’s family gatherings can evoke severe anxiety.

Phrases I hear a lot of people say are –

I will stumble with my words, I won’t know what to say, I will appear weak and go red. Everyone will think I’m boring, I will have nothing interesting to contribute, I’m different to everyone else.

In this post I’m going to look at what is happening and how to make it better.

Let’s take an example –

I need to return a jumper to the shop as it’s the wrong size it was on the wrong hanger but I didn’t check the label and its far too small but I don’t have the receipt.

My mind is full of unhelpful thoughts – I’m going to cause a long queue and everyone is going to be staring at me. I will be the centre of attention in the shop. The customer service desk is always busy and the person will tell me that it was my fault I should have checked the label. She or He may even roll their eyes in exasperation at my stupidity.

I may decide to just leave it, it wasn’t an expensive jumper and maybe someone I know might like it. This gives me temporary release, I feel better knowing I won’t be going to the shop today.

But then, I start to think why am I so weak, anyone else would just go and do it. Then I feel worse.

What’s happening is that my mind is working hard to protect me from threat, this fight or flight response which in prehistoric times kept me safe from danger is now protecting me from the fear of feeling vulnerable.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy looks at our thinking and behaviour and sees if there may be a more helpful way to think or to do.

In this example if I went to the shop and thought – what’s the worst that can happen, the assistant in customer service sees this most days and will most likely be helpful. Perhaps the people in the queue are there for the same reason. What would I advise a friend to do?

If I went ahead and tested this out therefore challenging my unhelpful thinking and behaviour this will benefit me longer term as if something similar happened in the future I would know how to have a better outcome and build my confidence.

Think well, do well, be well.

I would really like to help you further please do contact me.