But Why Do I Blush? Embarrassment And Erythrophobia

Last updated by Katie M.

A mundane, everyday situation. I arrive at my gym. The coach is in the middle of a conversation with a young man I don’t know. She takes the time to say hello to me (of course) and compliment me on my new haircut (nice) and the young man adds: “Indeed, nice haircut.” And then my face goes bright red and I slip away, embarrassed. To think that I didn’t have a mask to hide myself!

But Why Do I Blush? Embarrassment And Erythrophobia

Red cheeks: The flashing light 🚨

Emotions and I have a long history of domestication, management and overflow, but when the overflow turns my cheeks red, it’s difficult to contain anything. Indeed, when faced with an emotion that’s too strong, stress, a misunderstanding, discomfort, I literally catch fire. A compliment, a reproach, a blunder, and I feel myself turning red. I’m hot, I’m in pain and I can’t do anything about my trouble, so I’m even more ashamed and blush even more. 😳 In short, a real passage through hell!

Don’t look at me!

The worst part of my misfortune, and that of all the others who blush easily, is that it never happens when we’re alone. You’ll never start blushing because you answer a question wrong on Trivia (even if you do it out loud). But wait until you get the wrong answer at the quiz night in your local bar, and then panic ensues!

Yes, of course, blushing is linked to the way others look at you. It’s the fear of being judged by others that creates this reaction. Indeed, it’s a kind of alarm system or rather a flashing light which tells the other person: I feel that I’m the center of your attention, that you’re judging me and that makes me uncomfortable. Whether the other person’s intentions are good or bad, it doesn’t matter, this is why we blush as much at a compliment as we do at a criticism. It’s in fact our public identity and our social image that are threatened.

>>> Discover; How to manage your emotions

Is it really normal to blush? An admission of embarrassment

Blushing can be classified as an expressive marker of emotion. That is, the non-verbal, but physical expression of emotions, such as smiling or crying. If I smile, I’m showing others that I’m happy, if I cry, that I’m sad and if I blush, that I’m uncomfortable. Blushing is therefore primarily to be interpreted by others. However, it should be noted that in an embarrassing situation, blushing is not the first thing we do.

👉 In an embarrassing situation, for example, we’ll look down very quickly, tense up or even stiffen up, stammer or change our speech rate. And while all these signs of embarrassment appear in the first few seconds, it takes us between 15 and 20 seconds to blush!

Shall we make peace? 🕊️

Blushing is a way for the person we're talking to understand that we care about how others look at us, which helps make us more likeable to others. This is especially ideal if we blush after a mistake. It allows us to show others that we have a sense of morality, and that we are therefore fit for life in society. If the person in front of you has a little empathy, they should understand your embarrassment and let you calm down.


It should be added in passing that blushing evokes embarrassment in almost all cultures. Just like primary emotions, blushing is therefore a sign everyone understands. Great!

📌 All monkeys?

Blushing would be equivalent in humans to the signs of calming down observed in primates. Submissive strategies meant to ease tensions. Thus, delousing, kissing or throwing themselves on the ground are all signs of calming like our blushing.

What does my body say?

When an embarrassing situation occurs, our nervous system goes into action. The sympathetic nervous system puts our body on alert, while the parasympathetic nervous system slows down the body’s functions to allow us to calm down. In fact, we blush when the sympathetic nervous system sends an alert of such force that the parasympathetic nervous system cannot control it. The sympathetic nervous system therefore turns to the blood vessels, which dilate and create the blushing.

How can I stop blushing? Goodbye erythrophobia!

The real problem with blushing is that the shame is so strong that it reinforces the blushing. The more we try to hide our blushing, the worse we’ll make the situation. Especially as shame is such a strong feeling that it leaves an almost traumatic trace in our emotional memory: a real taste of revenge!

>>> Read about the 10 most unusual phobias

The shame of blushing

When you begin blushing regularly and become apprehensive about it, or even afraid of it, it is called erythrophobia. This phobia is one of the social anxieties, it can be treated by CBT, but it all starts with a phase of acceptance.

👉 The best thing is to remember that blushing has a social interest. You therefore need to play it down and not try to stop blushing, which is uncontrollable anyway. Being ashamed of blushing only makes things worse, so it's best to be kind to yourself and concentrate on your breathing and what you have to say. Finally, you can work on yourself to learn to assert yourself and reduce the fear of being judged by others, a psychologist can help you to gain self-confidence.

Editor’s note: sensitivity to be accepted!

We usually blush most when we feel people are paying attention to us. So here we are talking about our relationship with what others think, our self-confidence, the fear of showing our weaknesses or losing control. Vast subjects! Just remember that it is normal to blush, that there is absolutely nothing shameful about it. The best advice I can give you is to accept your sensitivity, to embrace it and make it a strength. It can be a long road to get there, which is why we can only advise you to make an appointment with a psychologist to work on yourself.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!

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Article presented by Katie M.

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Wengood's playlist

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

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