Why Do We Care What Strangers Think Of Us?

Public speaking is a common fear. People, it seems, are afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of a large audience, and losing public approval.

Why should that be? If someone speaks in front of a large group of strangers, why should their reaction matter? Setting aside an instance, say, like a job interview, where a stranger’s impression of you has something to do with your future, what difference should it make whether complete strangers, who we have never met before and will never see again, should like or approve of us?

Why do we care what strangers think of us?

Related questions: Where do our fears come from? When is embarrassment a good thing? Why do we behave differently alone or in large groups?