Imaginary Audience

An imaginary audience is the adolescent’s egocentric belief that other people are watching him/her and noticing his/her appearance, ideas, and behavior.  It is this untrue belief that observers are paying as much attention to the adolescent’s behaviors as they do themselves.  Teens get self-conscious and worry about what others are thinking of them.  For example, a student in math class who doesn’t know the answer is sure that the teacher is going to call on him.  A pre-teen walking down the hall in middle school is sure that everyone is staring at her because she has a pimple on her face, or she just got her period and she thinks that everyone can tell (Berger, 2018; Feldman, 2014).  No one can tell.  No one is staring.  People are worried about their own issues.


Kevin Love, a very good basketball player wrote an article in 2018 about mental health, panic attacks, and that you can’t tell by looking at people.  He wrote, “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.”  It’s a great article and it’s really true (Love, 2018).  People were abused as children and it may affect their self-esteem, but you can’t tell by looking by them.  Some people have a family member who is dying and it is a huge stressor, but you can’t tell.  We should try to be nice to people and compassionate for others and ourselves.  

(Stop at 2:40 after “Bad Hair Day”)


Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person: Through Childhood and adolescence (11th

ed.). New York, NY: Worth.  

Feldman, R. S. (2014). Child development: A topical approach. Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Love, K. (2018). Everyone is going through something. Retrieved from