DEATH OF EMBARRASSMENT

Display of grief publicly is now the in-thing. The best places are reality shows. Some believe, it gives us viewing enjoyment. Public grief metamorphosing into ‘recreational grief’ is common phenomenon. ‘Conspicuous compassion’ is similar in spirit to ‘recreational grief’. Like other inflations, ‘compassion inflation’ is spreading its tentacles. One commentator observed, “We live in a post-emotional age, one characterised by crocodile tears and manufactured emotion.” This trend shows that society has become more selfish, and only cares to project ego. Caring is becoming ‘ostentatious caring’. Embarrassment is dying. It is dying because of our eagerness to broadcast our experiences and our individuality endorsed. The most worrying thing is that we have begun to “reject embarrassment as if it were some fusty trapping of a bygone age”. Can society really afford the death of embarrassment?

Embarrassment has so far served us well. It is a kind of barometer for a society's notions of civility. When we ignore the social niceties, we risk not only embarrassing ourselves, but also sowing doubt in others about our social standing. Embarrassment is a way of expressing our commitment to group norms. The subtle signals of embarrassment are a sign of respect for others, our appreciation of their view of things, and our commitment to the moral and social order. Research shows that people, who are embarrassed and simply admit it, are well liked. Another observation is that shy people with high levels of empathy (the ability to imagine how others may be feeling) feel more easily embarrassed. When you admit to embarrassment, it shows that the embarrassing incident was nothing more than a brief lapse. A person who is not easily embarrassed is the one in whom empathy is missing. He can’t see his inadequacies. People who are unwilling to express embarrassment mark themselves as socially suspect. For obvious reasons, keep a safe distance from a person who can’t be embarrassed.