Social Anxiety and Jumping to Conclusions
Living with social anxiety and jumping to conclusions is like perpetually bouncing on a crowded trampoline: We must be watchful so we don't cause harm to others; we must avoid bumping into, and thus annoying, others; we know if we do it wrong we will surely ruin things for everyone; and we jump, jump to conclusions that we're being judged negatively. Social anxiety is exhausting (Social Phobia [Social Anxiety Disorder, SAD]). You don't have to remain stuck on the social anxiety trampoline, jumping to conclusions that you are somehow lesser than others. To stop jumping to conclusions and soothe social anxiety, to find some peace of mind, you must understand some of the effects of social anxiety.
Jumping to Conclusions and Other Effects of Social Anxiety
Social anxiety causes us to overthink almost everything. This involves a variety of different thought patterns, among them are:
- Mind-reading, or assuming that you know what someone is thinking based on your observations
- Making assumptions, or believing that you know how someone feels about you
- Catastrophizing, or looking at something you perceive as negative and giving it too much importance in your life
- Jumping to conclusions, or forming an opinion about what someone thinks without actually hearing him/her say what it is
These negative thought patterns are interrelated, sharing similarities and contributing to each other. Whether individually or in combination, they exacerbate social anxiety.
Consequences of Social Anxiety and Jumping to Conclusions
Social anxiety has us bouncing on a trampoline, jumping to conclusions that are quite harmful. It's common with social anxiety for people to conclude that they're being judged negatively, that they don't measure up to others, that they're annoying or stupid or [fill in the blank with a derogatory label].
As a result of jumping to the conclusion that others think poorly of him/her, someone with social anxiety can feel physically ill and emotionally upset. He/she can lose self-confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. Jumping to conclusions affects behaviors, too. When someone feels negatively judged, he/she is likely to be reluctant to go places and do things with others. Social anxiety and jumping to conclusions are more exhausting and dangerous than jumping on a trampoline.
Stop Jumping to Conclusions; Get off the Social Anxiety Trampoline
When we jump to conclusions about how others perceive us and our worth, we keep social anxiety going, fueled by our thoughts about the thoughts of others. When we practice mind-reading, we make assumptions about what others are thinking. In actuality, of course, we cannot know what someone else is thinking.
A strong link exists between social anxiety, mind-reading, and jumping to conclusions. It's possible to break that link. For more on ending mind-reading, conclusion-jumping, and social anxiety, tune into the following video.
Peterson, T. (2016, October 27). Social Anxiety and Jumping to Conclusions, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, June 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/10/the-social-anxiety-trampoline-jumping-to-conclusions
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Thank you for this captivating article and I strongly agree with it
Hi San Miguel,
Thank you for your comment and expressing your reaction I appreciate it!
Thank you for this article. I do find social anxiety to be very exhausting. I suppose it can be attributed to black and white thinking along with low negative self worth. You are right for me anyways...I always jump to conclusions about what others are thinking and not usually in a good way. Thank you for the coping tips.
I'm glad you like the tips, and I appreciate your comment. You are right on -- black and white thinking and low negative self-worth do contribute greatly to social anxiety. Being aware of our thoughts and knowing that they're not always accurate and reliable are helpful in getting rid of social anxiety.