Fear of Social Rejection Causes Social Rejection

Paranoid behavior is self-fulfilling, says study
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2012 3:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Being paranoid that your friends hate you might cause them to hate you, according to a new study. Researchers at a Canadian business school put subjects in situations that could arose their suspicions (like, for instance, hearing co-workers laughing during lunch) then attempted to determine which subjects were inclined to dig into those suspicions (say, by eavesdropping on one of those co-workers). They found that people most paranoid about such things tended to act in ways that ticked off colleagues (like the aforementioned eavesdropping), which then led to social rejection—a vicious circle of self-fulfilling fear.

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"It's a quick downward spiral from social uncertainty to paranoid thoughts and behaviors to ultimate social rejection," concludes Lindsay Abrams at the Atlantic. "Ironically, those who are most predisposed to that initial uncertainty end up causing the problems they wanted to avoid." (Read more social rejection stories.)

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