Imagine you are with a group of friends. You say something and you get reactions back, which you think are negative but are actually the truth. You constantly think/worry people are thinking negatively about you.

What is this called? And I am not referencing to worrying because that is too abstract.

  • 1
    I would say "paranoia".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 1:23

2 Answers 2


Assuming you are wrong and people are not thinking negatively about you, in its simplest form you can call it "low self-esteem" as suggested in one of the comments. Such unrealistic feelings or delusions can be part of a major psychiatric disorder like paranoia.

  • I agree with you. I'd throw in a soupçon of narcissism, too, but not the kind which is revealed in excessive admiration of self. The kind of narcissism I'm talking about could surface in people who in their hearts believe no one should think anything negative about them because they don't do anything wrong! Moreover, all those self-centered thoughts reveal a bit of narcissism and perhaps a lack of (or absence of) empathy. With empathy, normal folks are open to being wrong and profit from people's criticisms, perhaps even becoming better people for them. Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 22:25
  • Add thin-skinned and personalizing things that may have nothing to do with you, and you have a recipe for a sad life. Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 23:00

"Self-conscious," "paranoid," or "insecure" could all work in this context, assuming that their friends' claims are not actually being negative.

Self-conscious - "Uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others." [Merriam-Webster]

Paranoid - "Unreasonably or obsessively anxious, suspicious, or mistrustful." [Lexico]

Insecure - "(of a person) not confident or assured; uncertain and anxious." [Lexico]

Also, "irrationally anxious" could be used in this context.

If the friends were being negative, but the other person perceives those responses as the result of jealousy, then "narcissistic," egotistical, or "self-centered" (and potentially "vain" or "conceited") could be used.

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