Flattery and fake politeness in the service industry could weaken self-esteem among people with social anxiety
SOCIAL ANXIETY AND THE SERVICE INDUSTRY
The service industry has undergone a dramatic restructuring over the years. Excessive fawning and fake politeness have become the preferred mode of communication with a clientele who reciprocates with an equal amount of spending.
Overzealous flattery and insincere banter have the sole purpose of placating the client into opening their wallets and loosely spend their hard earned money. It has become an effective, albeit cunning, method of extracting sums of money that would otherwise have made anyone recoil in rebellion.
By arousing our latent narcissistic inclination, the service industry has created a new type of professionals we are going to call egositters. Egositters are experts at ensuring that our ego is always well fed and completely satisfied, which unfortunately makes us happy and relaxed.
However, not everyone benefits from those egositters, as the effect they have on those people is quite the opposite. Indeed, there is a group of people to whom excessive flattery is repulsive and damaging, and those are individuals with social anxiety.
Influence of egositters on social anxiety
Notably, individuals coping with social anxiety often present with a bruised or wounded ego, as they have the deep rooted belief that they are undeserving of praise, they also fear attention and regard any compliment intended for them as fake and probably even insulting.
When egositters lavish them with attention and flattery, they may perceive it as an onslaught and feel extremely intimidated and ill at ease. These egositters may inadvertently add salt to their already wounded ego by further convincing them that compliments directed to them are indeed fake and meaningless.
Social anxiety is not just an extreme form of shyness as it goes beyond the social sphere. This type of anxiety is conspicuous in the social domain, hence its name, but in reality it is deeply rooted in the personal sphere, namely the self. Coping with social anxiety does not just involve practicing social skills; it also implicates cultivating a strong and independent self that can mingle with others without disappearing.
In other words the self needs to see its reflection in others through their reaction and their words, but if what they get are fake flattery and insipid small talks, then anxiety rises and social withdrawal becomes necessary.
Yasmina Rebani Lee
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