John doesn't give a damn what strangers think of him. He also doesn't give a damn what his friends or work colleagues think of him. He eats at a packed McDonalds not giving a care of the strangers around him. However if he recognizes someone from his past, university, school, he feels an intense feeling of inadequacy, shame, judgement and self-consciousness. His reason for feeling this is because these people form a benchmark to compare himself with and they will judge him causing him shame. He feel they will judge him for being single, not being wealthy and not being successful. This is a combination of "keeping up with the Joneses" + social phobia + specific people benchmark

He knows he doesn't have a social anxiety as he has no problem around strangers, new places, friends or work colleagues.

What type of condition does John have?

  • Ruddigorism. -- – Greg Lee Oct 23 '16 at 22:17
  • benchmark? Not the word I would have chosen. – Lambie Oct 23 '16 at 22:21
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    You may find it more helpful taking this to the Cognitive Sciences site. It belongs in the realm of psychology. Though you may find, with such limited input on his condition, that professionals disagree, or express uncertainty, on exactly what John is suffering from, let alone any word which describes it. I doubt there is any word which means discomfort in the presence of former peers, but if there is it probably ends ...phobia.. – WS2 Oct 23 '16 at 22:43
  • @Lambie, are you asking me? My suggestion, Ruddigorism, is derived from the opera Ruddigore, and specifically from the scene when the deceased ancestors of Despard descend from their portraits in the grand hall of Castle Ruddigore to berate the supposed baronet for failing to fufill his part in the ancient curse. Give a listen: youtube.com/watch?v=cgO2mYULBgw – Greg Lee Oct 23 '16 at 23:06
  • Poor fellow! Sounds as though the Grim Reaper is on his way! – Peter Point Oct 24 '16 at 3:53

Perhaps John has an inferiority complex.

From Wikipedia:

An inferiority complex is a lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty, and feelings of not measuring up to standards.

Addendum: John is much more concerned about those from his past, university, school, etc. than he is about strangers: the former "know" and are in a position to "judge" him, causing him shame. He has intense feelings of inadequacy, shame, judgement, and self-consciousness because he "benchmarks" himself against them; as per the definition of inferiority complex, he doesn't "measure up to standards".

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