What causes us to actually feel physically uncomfortable during “awkward silences”?


What causes us to actually feel physically uncomfortable during “awkward silences”?

In: Biology

Our primitive caveman brains are obsessed with status and belonging. In ancient times, being rejected by your tribe or family meant certain death. We evolved to be hypersensitive to the moods and feelings of others. When we are enduring an awkward social encounter, that primitive caveman part of our brain still fears rejection. So it starts pushing the brain’s panic button and injecting you with cortisol.

Your brain is saying, “This person doesn’t like me, so I’m in danger of being rejected, and then I will be lost and alone and get eaten by sabretoothed tigers.” It interprets rejection as a threat to your safety.

When you are alone and it is silent, you don’t feel uncomfortable do you? So why is it uncomfortable when there is another person in the room? The answer to this you can find within yourself, you feel the need to impress the other person by letting them know you have the ability to talk, this feeling is known as insecurity. Insecurity is an easy fix, all you have to do is learn that you will not die if you do not talk to the other person during every given moment they are within talking distance. If you have nothing to say, there is no reason to talk, don’t worry about whether or not they think you are weird or retarded, because you know you can disprove that should they have a relevant inquiry, you know, by responding. You’ve responded before haven’t you? Guess what?? You can respond again!