After months of dating, you think you know a person. Or at the very least, know they won’t make you want to hide from embarrassment. But as Reddit user Blain-Ad-5996 will soon tell you, that’s not always the case.
A few days ago, she submitted a story to the “Am I The [Jerk]?” community about one dinner date she had with her boyfriend. Everything was going fine until the man took out an actual bell to get the waiter’s attention.
I don’t know what had gotten into his head and convinced him this was acceptable but the dude even defended himself, telling his confused girlfriend it was normal behavior in the US.
In an attempt to find out if that’s true, she turned to the popular subreddit to tell all about it and ask if she overreacted. Here’s what the woman wrote.
One woman went to a restaurant with her boyfriend but the date ended quickly after he rang an actual bell to get the waiter’s attention
Image credits: Marco Verch (not the actual photo)
The guy even accused her of making a needless scene out of it, so she turned to the internet to ask if that’s actually the case
Dating someone from another culture can often require partners to work more in the beginning stages of the relationship. Usually, you need to put in more effort to understand a person from another background. And not just linguistically; you really need to see the world through their eyes if you want to make it work. So the fact that Blain-Ad-5996 asked other people to share their take on what happened between her and her boyfriend is only—she’s searching for answers.
But a couple can embarrass each other even if they grew up on the same block. According to Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of psychology and chair of the psychology department at Albright College, this sometimes happens because we have a tendency to believe that others are paying more attention to our actions than they really are. “In one famous study, researchers asked college students to enter a room full of strangers while wearing a Barry Manilow T-shirt (pretty uncool attire for a college student). They then asked them to estimate the number of people in the room who had noticed the shirt. The students overestimated how many people had noticed the shirt, guessing on average a number twice as high as the reality,” Seidman wrote in Psychology Today.
But people were dumbstruck by the whole ordeal as much as she was
She believes this spotlight effect extends to our significant others because our most important relationships tend to become incorporated into the self, as ‘them’ and ‘me’ become ‘we.’
“We begin to see our relationship partners as part of us. And so, for better or worse, what affects our partners affects us, too. Research shows that we can use our partners’ accomplishments and positive traits as a way to boost our own self-esteem. It makes sense that since we experience our partners’ gaffes as reflecting on us, we would also feel that we are in the spotlight when those embarrassing moments happen,” Seidman explained.
The psychologist also suggested that some people are more prone to this spotlight effect than others. Like those high in public self-consciousness, for example. Or those with low self-esteem. “They tend to distance themselves from a romantic partner they perceive as flawed in situations in which it seems the flaw would reflect negatively on them.”
But there’s a silver lining in all of this after all. Think about it, if we overestimate how much others are paying attention to us, it’s also very likely that we’re also overestimating how much our partners are making us the center of ridicule. So with that in mind, Seidman invites everyone to let their embarrassing partner loose. Unless they call waiters with a bell, of course.