7 behaviors that give the impression you’re high-maintenance (even if you’re not)

by Isabel Cabrera | January 28, 2024, 1:04 pm

Picture this…

You’re having dinner at your favorite restaurant. Everyone else at the table has placed their order apart from you. 

You have a question for the waiter. Well, several actually.

The rest of the table sighs. 

To you, this is normal behavior. You know what you like and you don’t see a problem being assertive. After all, your mother always taught you “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

You simply have high standards (and the expectations to match). 

And think about it…

Should you really ignore the raw piece of chicken on your plate when the waitstaff asks “Is everything okay?”

Of course not. 

But when does having a penchant for the finer things cross into “high-maintenance” territory? And if you think about it, are you being demanding or actually, perfectly reasonable?

Well, here are seven behaviors that give the impression you’re high-maintenance (even if you’re not).

Let’s jump right in…

1) You know exactly what you want (and how you want it) 

You’re observant and detail-orientated. Some might say, “particular.” In other words, people’s first impression of you is that you’re a perfectionist (bordering on pedantic). 

Everything needs to be just so. 

And you’re usually the first to notice when things are out of place or the wrong shade of white. 

What’s more, you constantly fuss over the smallest details. Be it the flower arrangement on the table or the way you organize the spice rack.

To you, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

But while paying attention to details is an excellent quality, there’s a fine line between being meticulous (or helpful) and appearing high-maintenance.

Especially if you’re too rigid about what you like or dislike. 

Just remember, it’s okay to have strong preferences. But be mindful of how much emphasis you place on them, especially in group settings.

2) You are quick to voice your opinion (and complain)

Be honest now. Hands up if you have zero filter!

Let me put it this way…

If something’s quite not right, there’s an injustice afoot, or it’s something simply isn’t to your liking you’re the first to speak up. 

Even if it’s on someone else’s behalf. 

The thing is, you like to take charge and you’re not worried about the consequences. At least, not at the time. 

You have conviction and an unyielding sense of right and wrong. And that’s because you’re confident and more self-assured than the average person. 

But to others, this strong stance may come across as overbearing or high-maintenance, regardless of whether it’s well-intentioned or not.

3) You fall apart when things don’t go to plan

Do people ever call you “uptight”, “wound up” or “highly strung”?

Well, that’s probably due to your endless to-do lists and detailed plans. 

The fact is, you like to plan ahead to the point of overdoing it. You even have several contingency plans “just in case.” 

And when those plans fall through or change (even a little), you pout and don’t know what to do.

I get it…

From your perspective, you’re simply being organized and responsible. 

But to others, the constant overplanning can be overwhelming. It may also come across as (you guessed it) high-maintenance.

Just look at it from their point of view. 

Having a rigid plan that leaves little room for spontaneity isn’t very relaxing now, is it? In fact, it probably makes them feel like they’re walking on eggshells around you. 

At the end of the day, some people prefer to go with the flow. 

So if you want to change their minds, embrace flexibility and let go of the need to control every aspect. Who knows, you may enjoy where that unexpected detour takes you.

4) You don’t let go of things easily

Let’s face it, you hold a grudge

It’s not that you want to, you just have trouble letting go. You’re just like an elephant, you never forget. 

But this inability to bury the hatchet and smoke the peace pipe may portray you as a high-maintenance character. 

Here’s the thing. 

While you may feel justified holding people accountable, it’s not healthy to drag up the past and never let go. It makes you appear petty, stubborn, and inflexible.

But that’s not all.

According to experts, it pays to forgive and forget. 

Not only can it improve relationships (and make you look less difficult), but it’s also good for your mental health and physical well-being. 

5) You never say “I’m sorry”

There’s no easy way to say this, but you have trouble apologizing and other people have noticed. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

I’m sure you have your reasons. You may not even realize you’re doing it. 

Sometimes, though. You need to put aside the ego and say those two little (but impactful) words, “I’m sorry.” 

If not, your unwillingness to admit any wrongdoing may come back to bite you later. By that I mean, friends, family, and acquaintances labeling you as high-maintenance.

6) You take your time getting ready

From perfectly styled hair to flawlessly coordinated outfits, you take pride in your appearance – whatever the occasion. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

That said…

There’s a chance this picture-perfect image is painting you as a high-maintenance individual. 

Let me explain. 

If you’re consistently highly polished and put together, it might inadvertently give the impression that you require a lot of fuss. 

Not to mention, attention, effort, and time. 

Likewise, people may assume you expect expensive and high-end things.

While there’s nothing wrong with looking good, balance is key. 

Sometimes it’s okay to embrace the odd messy hair day or the casual look every once in a while. It shows that you’re not all about maintaining a pristine image.

7) You need to have the final say (and the last word)

Do you always have to be the one who picks the restaurant, movie, or activity with your partner? Perhaps when you do let them choose, it’s ONLY on the condition that you have the final say…

You know best, after all. 

Besides, the last place they picked was truly terrible.

If this sounds familiar, that decisive attitude of yours could be mistaken as high-maintanence. 

Even if your goal is for the two of you to have a good time, it can create an impression that compromise is not in your vocabulary.

But that’s not all. 

When you get into a disagreement, that same stubborn streak often wins out. You’re not shy at expressing your opinion and displeasure when things aren’t up to snuff. 

In fact, you can’t help but have the last word.

The problem with that is, that behavior can be draining. Not just for you, but also for your loved ones. 

So if you want to dispel any misconceptions about being excessively “picky” or “demanding” it might be time to loosen your grip, go with the flow more, and pay attention to the subtle social cues along the way.

When all is said and done, sometimes life is about compromise, understanding, and meeting people halfway. 

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