Blushing Easily is a Good Thing!?


Do you fear blushing? Matthew Feinberg, who has done research into blushing says “Blushing easily is a good thing, not something you should attempt to fight”. I believe many people who have a phobia about blushing will have trouble taking on board Feinberg’s message, but is probably crucial to overcoming their fear of blushing that they do change their beliefs about going red.

People who  have a blushing phobia  need change their beliefs   about going red as research has shown that peoples’ beliefs and expectations about (1) how noticeable their blushing is and  (2) how people will interpret their redness, are significant factors in maintaining  their phobia.

Having worked with people who have a  blushing phobia for many years, I have found that many blushers believe their redness is far more noticeable and severe than it actually is in reality. When I have given blushers video feedback they have expressed surprise that their on screen appearance is far less red  than they expected it to be.

I often tell clients that they don’t know for certain what others think about their blushing, and that people may view their blushing in a positive light. However, it is good to have research to back up my reassurance and I give clients copies of the  Feinberg, Willer & Keltner (2012) research to read for themselves, in the hope that the message will sink in.

Feinberg et al (2012) who are researchers at the University of California, has  found that people who blush easily are more trustworthy, generous and virtuous than those who don’t blush. Another study, done by the same researchers, found that when people see someone blush  at receiving news of a perfect test score they were more likely to trust him than if he seemed proud of his achievement.

Feinberg  said “moderate levels of embarrassment are signs of virtue. You want to affiliate with embarrassed people more. You feel comfortable trusting them”.

According to these 2 studies, not only are blushers perceived as more trustworthy, they are more trustworthy as they exhibit more pro social behaviour than non blushers. Blushers were also found to be better romantic partners because people who are easily embarrassed are more monogamous.

Research says blushing can help us when dating or doing a business deal.When we blush after committing a social faux pas, it is a non verbal apology and diffuses aggression.

Blushers tend to be very sensitive so may redden at things other people might not, but blushers are generous and kind people.

If you would like help with your blushing phobia give me a call on 9819 3671 or 0429 88 3671

Feinberg,Matthew; Willer,Robb; Keltner, Dacher. Jounral of Personality & Social Psychology, Vol 102(1), Jan 2012, 81-97.

This article published on Apr 24, 2014. View related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *