Anthropophobia, or the fear of other people, accounted for 22% of all fears searched this year.
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Between a global pandemic, murder hornets, and Joe Exotic’s music videos, 2020 has been one of the scariest years in recent American history. I would’ve thought that the top fear on everyone’s mind would have been COVID-19, but Google shows that’s not the case. Statistically speaking, we have been more afraid of each other this year than the virus. According to Sisanie, the year’s most-searched phobia has been anthropophobia, or the fear of other people.
Anthropophobia, which is like social phobia but not quite the same, accounted for a whopping 22% of all fears searched nationwide in 2020. Social phobia only occurs in certain situations, whereas anthropophobia can happen anywhere, with anyone. For instance, with anthropophobia, Very Well Mind says, “Relatives who are known for being kind and loving are perceived as the same level of threat as strangers on a crowded bus.” People searched for anthropophobia this year five times more than last year, and the searched peaked around the time of the most extreme lockdown, April 19-25.
Other popular fears included germaphobia, for obvious reasons, and philophobia, which is the fear of falling in love or intimacy. Not everyone is experiencing philophobia, though. According to PBS, dating app Tinder saw more engagement on March 29th than any other day in its history, with 300 billion users actively using the app. Additionally, OKCupid has seen a 700% increase in users going on virtual dates. This begs the question, are we afraid of other people and creating connections, or are we afraid of not finding those connections?
Quarantine has been nothing short of panic-inducing, but personally, my connections with other people have gotten me through it. At the beginning of quarantine, I did video chats with my long-distance friends. My friends and I constantly checked in with each other in our group chat. After the restrictions lifted, I started seeing my family again, and my neighbors and I had outdoor movie nights. The pandemic brought my roommate and I closer together, and I am endlessly thankful for my quaran-team. Other people might seem kind of scary, but please be kind and help each other out. I promise, you won’t regret it.