Fear of Speaking Spanish

The Fear of Speaking Spanish

One thing that most Spanish learners have in common is the fear of speaking Spanish.  In my opinion, the scariest part of learning Spanish is speaking to another person.  Nothing is scarier than going up to a native speaker and testing out your Spanish.

Are they going to understand me?  Will I make a mistake?  Will I look like an idiot?

These are some of the questions that go through my head when I am about to talk to a native Spanish speaker or someone that speaks better Spanish than me.

No one wants to look bad and be embarrassed.  The fear of looking like a fool is enough to make even the advanced Spanish student clam up.

A lot of Spanish learners miss out on great opportunities to use their Spanish because of this fear of speaking.

My Experience

When I was living in Colombia I would do just about anything to keep from speaking to people in Spanish.  I was so scared of forgetting a word or mispronouncing something and looking like an idiot.

As much as I tried to avoid it there were times when I had to face my fear.  Most of the time everything went smooth but sometimes I lived out my worst fear.

I loved going to bakeries when I was living in Colombia.  There are always yummy smells coming from the bakeries that are on almost every corner in Bogota.  More times than I could count I would go into a bakery and try to order something.  Only to have the person taking my order just stare at me with a blank face because they did not understand me.

When someone did show emotion it would be in the form of a very dramatic face which sent me into a panic.  All that would be followed up with them saying something so fast that I did not understand.  This left me looking for a way to get out of this situation altogether.  I would normally just point to what I wanted or say thanks and leave defeated.

My Conclusion

The fear of speaking can really cripple your progress in learning Spanish.  Even though I had more of these embarrassing encounters than I would like to admit, I lived.  No one really made fun of me at least not to my face.  I learned from each experience and when I spoke with confidence it seemed like more people understood me.

Now I have by no means figured this out and I still get really scared when I have to say something in Spanish.  I even get nervous when I speak Spanish in the videos on our YouTube channel.

Don’t Worry, Speak Spanish

The number one thing I have learned is not to worry about looking like an idiot.  If you don’t take advantage of every opportunity to speak Spanish you will feel like one later.  Nothing bad is going to happen to you and you can learn from each encounter.  It will build your confidence and you can always try it again if it does not turn out the way you want.

I have never had a native Spanish speaker make fun of me for trying to speak Spanish.  I have never had anyone be rude to me.  They might make some weird faces or noises but that’s OK.  Just go with confidence and it will surprise you just how well you do.  Now get out there and speak.

I lived out my worse fear of speaking Spanish with native speakers in one of our youtube videos where we went to Colombia to test out my basic Spanish.  You can watch it here.

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Unlock your Spanish voice!

Learn all the Spanish you need for real life.

Unlock your Spanish voice!

Learn all the Spanish you need for real life.