How Low Self-Esteem Can Affect Your Social Life

April 3, 2019 Sam Woolfe

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Low self-esteem affects your social life, among other things. When you have a low opinion of yourself, you can become painfully self-conscious, feeling worried that others will also judge you. For this reason, many people with low self-esteem will go to efforts to distance themselves from social situations, which – in the long run – can worsen low self-esteem. Here’s how having low self-esteem can get in the way of socializing and what you can do about it.

Avoidance of a Social Life Because of Low Self-Esteem

Fear of being judged in a social situation may lead to you starting to avoid them. This could also be a sign of social anxiety, which often becomes entangled with low self-esteem. After all, when social situations give you intense feelings of dread and nervousness, this can diminish your self-esteem. Social anxiety and low self-esteem reinforce each other. Avoiding social situations due to anxiety can make you feel alienated as if something is terribly wrong with you. And the worse you feel about yourself, the harder it will be to motivate yourself to socialize.

Avoidance, unfortunately, is not a healthy long-term strategy for dealing with either social anxiety or low self-esteem. If you have planned to go out and worries about socializing or self-criticism start to creep in, it can be useful to repeat the following phrase to yourself in your head: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” 

The anxiety may be an issue for you, but it only interrupts your life when you act in accordance with it. Disobeying your anxiety or self-criticism, as it were, takes immense strength. However, being able to do this is one of the most effective ways to build self-esteem.

Low Self-Esteem and Social Interactions -- Self-Criticism

If you’re someone who struggles with low self-esteem when socializing, you may experience nagging self-criticism both during and after a social interaction. This could involve over-analyzing everything you say and do, filtering it through a negative lens. You may come to believe you’re acting – or acted – in an awkward, embarrassing, or annoying way. When you live with low self-esteem, it’s easy to convince yourself of reasons why others would dislike you since it’s so easy for you to dislike yourself.

It’s important to remind yourself that no one is analyzing yourself like you are. No one cares as much as you do. In fact, you’d be surprised how wildly different other people’s opinions of you are compared to your own. The key to overcoming self-criticism is staying authentic. This means embracing the totality of who you are, including all your quirks and awkwardness.

Low Self-Esteem and Not Speaking Up in Your Social Life

When you have low self-esteem, you may keep a tight lid on your thoughts and feelings in a social situation. The prospect of being mocked or rejected may weigh too heavily and stop you from opening up and giving your input. You may also carry around this negative belief that you have nothing of value to offer, that no one is interested in hearing what you have to say if you experience low self-esteem in your social life.

Not speaking up due to low self-esteem in your social life can cause you to miss many opportunities, especially in terms of work and your relationships. Again, the phrase: “feel the fear and do it anyway,” can help in this regard. Despite your mind telling you not to speak up, act against it. The inner critic may chime in again after you’ve spoken, criticizing what you said or how you said it. But remember, this inner critic, while sometimes loud, does not speak in truths. The more you challenge this voice, the louder your more authentic voice will be. This is the voice that gives you a down-to-earth perspective. It helps you to develop a healthy self-image, one that allows you to participate confidently in social situations.

Do you have a social life that suffers from low self-esteem? What have you noticed about the effects of low self-esteem on a social life?

APA Reference
Woolfe, S. (2019, April 3). How Low Self-Esteem Can Affect Your Social Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Sam Woolfe

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