Maybe you’ve experienced someone who blushes first hand, maybe you are on yourself, or maybe neither of those options apply… You are sure to know they exist, aren’t you?

I encounter plenty of people that blush, both in and out of my therapy rooms. Lots of people blush when encountering people they sort of know but don’t know well, or are a little unsure of themselves and bump into someone unexpectedly in the supermarket while wearing their ‘comfy’ clothes… You know the kinds of scenarios.

Out in public, a therapy client may see me, and I often cannot say hello first because that individual may not want friends and family to know they have being seeing a therapist and so on… So sometimes, they might give a second look and start to blush…

Now, however much of a supremely lovely person you may be, however much of a highly evolved member of the human race you may be, however considerate, friendly, thoughtful and wonderful you attempt to be to that person when you see them blush… They know you have seen them blush… becuase they now know you have seen that they are blushing… They start to blush more.

It is a very overt way to spot human interation at an unconscious level. It is like we all have a huge invisible antenna sticking out of the tops of our heads that projects everything that is going on within us out to those we come into contact with.

What we sense or perceive in the outside world starts us communicating with our own mind, in a fashion similar to self-hypnosis and we make the blushing miles worse than it was.

There is even some recent research to support this process…

Cited on the Science Direct website, this piece of research, the participants were falsely told that they were blushing (i.e. they were not actually blushing), and as a result, they blushed a great deal more… According to the research, the participants were anticipating being negatively judged by the people they were conversing with.

So this finding could help explain why some shy people fall into a vicious of circle of fearing blushing, feeling that they are blushing more than they are, and ultimately fearing social situations because of it… A bit like what happens when you bump into someone in the supermarket-type-scenario…

I must say, for half of the participants who had written on their application forms that they blushed sometimes, this cannot have been too much of a fun experience… I am yet to encoutner anyone who enjoys blushing…

The participants who were all students, had to talk for five minutes with a couple of people they had never met before. A daunting task for many of the most confident students… Unless of course, they were philosophy students or drama students, in which case, the other guys would not have got a word in…

During the time they were talking, the participants had their facial skin temperature and colour measured by a fany device… The key of the entire process being that, half of them were given false¬† feedback about how much they were blushing.

Interesting stuff, eh?

Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy Fathers day this Sunday, do your best to avoid thinking about how much you are blushing if your Dad behaves embarassingly during his special day… I’ll be back on Monday…