Embarrassment is considered one of the self-conscious emotions, quite at ease in the company of guilt, shame, and pride. Given that embarrassment happens in relation to other people, it is a public emotion that makes you feel exposed, awkward, and filled with regret for whatever your wrongdoing happens to be. Potential negative evaluations concerning standards about actions, thoughts, and feelings that govern our behavior are at the core of embarrassment and other self-conscious emotions (Lewis, 2008).
And now according to some researchers, embarrassment is nothing to be embarrased about. Studies have shown that People who are easily embarrassed are seen as more trustworthy.
Not only that, but people who are easily embarrassed also report higher levels of monogamy; they tend to stay faithful to their partner.
Those who are easily embarrassed are always conscious of violating a social rule e.g Most find it hard to be disloyal or engage in an extramarital affair.
So, embarrassment can also be a sign of fidelity.
Dr Robb Willer, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Embarrassment is one emotional signature of a person to whom you can entrust valuable resources
It’s part of the social glue that fosters trust and cooperation in our everyday life.”
Dr Matthew Feinberg, the study’s first author, also added that:
“Moderate levels of embarrassment are signs of virtue.
Now when we say embarrassment is not all that bad, we are talking about normal levels of embarrassment, and not the excess kind that affect people experiencing social anxiety disorder.
The typical signs of embarrassment are:
Downward gaze, smile controls (such as a smile that is inhibited or one where only the corners of the lips turn upward), head movements that turn away, and face touching.
The researchers which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology focused more on the idea of generalised trust.
For the research, a group of about 5 dozen people were asked to judge a trained actor who acted out getting a perfect score on a test.
Some people watched a version where he was embarrassed about his success, others watched a version where he was pleased with his success.
It turned out that people trusted him more if he acted embarrassed.
The study’s first author Dr Feinberg says people tend to trust those who are easily embarrassed because they feel comfortable trusting them and want to affiliate more with them.