Here’s the scene: you’re at the grocery store and you get on line for the cashier behind a pretty woman. 

You start talking to her and immediately become distracted by how nervous you are.

You start to take a deep breath to quell your nerves but you stop midway.

You’re sure that will be a giveaway.

“She’ll definitely know how nervous I am.”

This is an example of the illusion of transparency, which is the cognitive bias where we overestimate other people’s ability to read our internal emotional state.

When we’re nervous, we think everyone knows it.

Same thing when we’re embarrassed or angry.

This is common in relationships too; we think our partner knows what we’re feeling and we react, often with resentment, when they don’t.

But study after study reveals that we can’t sense these emotions from others, including our partners, which is why communicating your feelings is so important, if not critical, in a relationship.

But the Illusion of Transparency is important even before you get into a relationship.

Asking a woman out.

Going on a first date.

These are anxiety-provoking situations.

Isn’t it a comfort to know your nervousness is not as apparent to her as it is to you?

Doesn’t that help you relax just a little bit?

Keep the Illusion of Transparency in mind next time you’re in one of these situations.

You won’t be coming across as badly as you think!

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