Do You Care What Strangers Think of You?

By Guest Blogger Valerie Tejeda

A couple of months ago, I was running some last minute errands on Valentines Day, when the strangest thing happened to me. I stopped by my favorite place in the world, Whole Foods Market, to pick up some items so I could make something special for my valentine. As I walked toward the dessert section, it was crowded with men who just like me, were trying to find some last minute sweets for their sweethearts.

I finally made my way towards the front of the crowd and was happily browsing the desserts, when a man dressed in a nice suit came up to me and said, “Hey, I really like your boots.” I’ve noticed that there are two types of men in this world: men who notice fashion, and men who are oblivious to it. However, anyone who is into fashion would have definitely noticed these boots! I was wearing “Steve Madden Lexeee Boots,” and the truth is they are pretty fabulous. After his compliment, I turned and looked at him and said, “thank you.” He then removed himself from the dessert crowd and I continued browse. I honestly didn’t think a thing of it.

Do You Care What Strangers Think of You?
The famous Steve Madden "Lexeee" boot

Less than a minute later, I felt someone tap me on my shoulder, and to my surprise it was the “boots” guy. “I’m actually shopping for my co-workers,” he said. “See, I own my own company, and we’re having a Valentine’s day party tomorrow, and I was just looking for some desserts for them. I’m not shopping for a significant other or anything.” He then continued by saying, “I just didn’t want you to think I was one of those ‘bad’ guys who compliments some young woman’s shoes, while shopping for their wife on Valentine’s day.” I was so confused, that all I could say in response was, “Ok.” He then picked up three boxes of organic heart shaped cookies and headed towards the cash register.

On my drive home I got to thinking about what the “boots” guy represented. He honestly did not seem like some “creepy-married-guy-type-trying-to-hit-on-me-on-Valentine’s-day.” I mean, all he did was compliment my shoes. But the strangest part of it all was, he wanted to make sure I KNEW that he was not some “creepy married guy that was hitting on me on Valentines day.”

So why did he care so much about what I, a complete stranger, thought of him?

Do You Care What Strangers Think of You?

Once I started looking for this, I felt like it was everywhere! All week, I constantly noticed people saying random comments to strangers. First, there was a lady in Peets Coffee letting people know that the crying kid next her, was not her child. Then, there was an embarrassed teenager voicing to shoppers that the loud woman in H&M was not her mother, even though she so obviously was. Following that, there was a girl in Boudin Bakery explaining to the cashier that she never usually eats alone, but had to today since her friend canceled on her last minute. And the cycled continued for the rest of the week.

So, the question is, why do we care what strangers think of us? Why do we give so much power to other people? People we don’t even know? Why do we need their approval?

According to Tom Perry, CEO of YourCoach, the need for approval has been conditioned within us since birth.“Approval from others gives us a higher sense of self-esteem. We’re convinced that their recognition matters to our self-worth and how deeply we value ourselves.” Hmmm. Interesting.

Do You Care What Strangers Think of You?

I admit, I go back and forth between having moments when I care about what strangers or others think of me, and not caring at all. But why do we go through all the trouble? What is at play here? I do know, that the more secure I am at a particular stage in my life, the less I care.


About Valerie Tejeda…

Do You Care What Strangers Think of You?

Val is a freelance writer and one of the the founders of, a site about the “study” of glamour. Glamonomics is a California based fashion blog bringing you four different types of styles from four girls (Val, Jess, Maggie, & Virginia) across the state. Their goal is to share with you their styles, fab finds, fashion favorites, trend reports and celebrity fashion.

What about you… do you care about what strangers think of you? Are you on the fence here? Why do you think we care about what strangers think of us? I’d love your opinion.


  1. I care about what I look like in front of strangers. For instance, I would never wear sweat pants or any baggy clothing outside of the house, even if it is just to go to the store. I think it’s a worry of being judged because your clothes say a lot about you.

  2. I admit I do care what others think of me. I experienced a similar situation as the girl in the bakery where my friend couldn’t make our lunch date because her daughter had an accident at school and I made the same excuse to the waiter. I think it’s normal to care what others think. The hard part is to stop caring.

  3. We care what others think because of low self esteem. We are not secure enough in ourselves to feel confident in what we do or say so we place so much emphasis on what others think of us. It’s a nasty cycle.

  4. Great question and topic. I always try and do what feels right in my heart and not let other people’s opinions affect me too much. I do try.

  5. Always an interesting topic, for sure. The most interesting part about it, though, is it sounds like you’ve been shopping in my neighborhood in Walnut Creek, CA!

  6. I absolutely could not care less. I will even go one more. I dont care what people I know think of me, other than my family and friends. How people think of me has no bearing on how well I perform my job, how good of a mother and wife I am or how I live my life.
    To me its like ‘borrowing trouble’. Who cares?

  7. Tough one… I wish I never cared, but…

    Ok, once I was getting off a bus in Dublin city center at 8.30am and had to literally hold my hand over my mouth while going up the center aisle then run to the gutter and puke. Not a pretty sight first thing in the morning.

    The thing that bugged me is that anyone would have most likely assumed I’d been out way too late the night before and was hung over….but I was actually about 8 weeks pregnant and seriously suffering morning sickness.

    I remember telling my boss once I got to work that I wished I had a sign strapped to my back saying “Pregnant, just not showing yet!”

    I think it’s more that we don’t want people to pass the judgements that WE would if we saw someone else in the same situation…and yeah, i’d probably judge someone puking in the street…. but I didn’t stop anyone to tell them why!

  8. I CANNOT AFFORD to care about what others think about me and what I am doing in my life. I live my life and do what is important to me first and foremost…. Of course, I take my family into consideration but at the end of the day, I am the one that has to be happy with my life and my choices… There will always be people that have a problem with you, me and everyone else on this planet… I always say, “What others think of me is none of my DAMN business”

  9. Great post, and no I don’t care what others think of me because what they think of me is none of my business 🙂

  10. I have this issue and I’m taking steps to get over it myself..and it is nerve wrecking! I think it is because we believe we are thinking through their minds and looking through “their” eyes. We feel as though they are more expert on life and that “they” are right. Most ppl are just like puppets to everyone else so in order to be true, it takes guts and ppl think its weird since everyone else plays follow the leader caus its easier. Strangers don’t really know us so that’s my first limitation to get rid of.

  11. I guess it was about shoe fetishism and that man just couldn´t resist to indicate his interest. I believe that he wasn´t much worried about what the others are thinking really.

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