10 behaviors that immediately reveal your insecurity to others

by Brendan Brown | February 27, 2024, 1:46 pm

We all know that feeling, right? Like you’re a walking neon sign that screams, “Warning: insecure person alert!”

It’s tough when we’re feeling unsure of ourselves, and even tougher when our actions make it obvious to everyone around us.

But hey, we’re all in the same boat here. We all have our moments of self-doubt and that’s okay! What this article is about, is helping you spot those tell-tale signs of insecurity.

So, let’s dive into 10 behaviors that can show others you’re feeling insecure. Once you know what they are, you can work on changing them.

1. Over-apologizing

Have you ever noticed yourself saying “sorry” a little too much? Even when it’s not your fault or for things that don’t need an apology?

You might knock into a chair and say sorry, or apologize for speaking your mind during a conversation.

This is a classic sign of insecurity. It’s like you’re saying, “I’m sorry for existing.” 

Remember, saying sorry when necessary is a sign of respect and empathy. But overdoing it can make you seem unsure of your own worth.

So, next time before you apologize, think – did I actually do something wrong or am I just trying to avoid potential conflict?

2. Constantly seeking approval

Ever find yourself looking for a thumbs-up, nod, or some kind of approval every time you make a decision or share an idea?

It’s normal to want some validation, but if you’re always seeking approval from others, it can come across like you’re not confident in your own judgments.

While it’s okay to ask for opinions, relying too much on what others think might make them feel like you’re insecure about your own decisions.

3. Avoiding eye contact

I’ll be honest, this one was a biggie for me. Whenever I felt unsure or insecure, I found myself avoiding eye contact like the plague. I’d look at my shoes, the ceiling, anywhere but the person I was talking to.

Why did I do this? Well, there’s something incredibly intimate about eye contact. It felt like if I looked into someone’s eyes, they’d somehow see all my insecurities laid bare.

But here’s what I learned: avoiding eye contact can actually make you come across as unconfident or untrustworthy.

On the flip side, maintaining good eye contact can show that you’re engaged and confident.

4. Speaking too quickly

Did you know that people often speak faster when they’re nervous? It’s true!

When we’re feeling insecure, we tend to speed up our speech, as if we’re in a rush to finish what we’re saying. We might worry that people aren’t interested in listening to us, so we try to get it all out as quickly as possible.

But here’s an interesting fact: Research has shown that those who take their time while speaking are often perceived as more confident and thoughtful.

Slowing down your speech can give you time to collect your thoughts and express yourself more clearly.

So next time you catch yourself speeding through a sentence, take a breath, slow down, and remember that people are interested in what you have to say!

5. Negative self-talk

This one is a little tricky, because it often happens inside our heads where no one else can hear.

But sometimes, it slips out. You make a small mistake and suddenly you’re saying things like, “I’m such an idiot,” or “I can’t do anything right.”

This kind of negative self-talk can reveal your insecurities to others, but more importantly, it can affect your own self-esteem.

Each time you put yourself down, you’re teaching yourself to believe that you’re not good enough. 

We all mess up sometimes – it’s part of being human. So instead of beating yourself up about it, try to speak to yourself like you would to a friend. Be kind, be understanding, and remind yourself of your strengths.

6. Overcompensating

I used to be the ‘Yes Man’. You know, that person who agrees with everything everyone else says, even when deep down, I had a different opinion?

I thought that if I just agreed with everyone else, they would like me more. But all it did was make me come off as insecure and unauthentic.

Overcompensating by agreeing with others, trying too hard to fit in, or even bragging about your accomplishments can be a pretty clear sign of insecurity.

It’s like you’re trying to prove your worth to others.

But here’s what I learned – it’s okay to have a different opinion. It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments without boasting about them. And it’s definitely okay to be yourself.

In fact, being authentic and true to yourself is the most attractive quality you can have!

7. Always playing it safe

Playing it safe all the time is boring. 

When we’re insecure, we tend to stick with what we know to avoid potential failure or embarrassment. But in doing so, we also miss out on a ton of amazing experiences.

Not taking risks might make you seem insecure to others. It can come across like you don’t trust in your abilities or fear stepping out of your comfort zone.

So, let’s be real here – life is messy and unpredictable. We all stumble and fall sometimes. But that’s how we learn, grow and discover new things about ourselves and the world around us.

So why not take a chance? 

8. Hiding behind humor

Humor is a great tool. It can lighten up any situation and bring people together.

But did you know that sometimes people use humor as a defense mechanism to hide their insecurities?

It’s true! Some people might crack jokes or make fun of themselves to divert attention away from their insecurities.

While it might work in the short term, over time, this behavior can give others the impression that you’re not confident in yourself.

In fact, studies have shown that while self-deprecating humor can make you likable, too much of it can lower your perceived competence in the eyes of others.

9. Not accepting compliments

I used to be terrible at accepting compliments. Whenever someone said something nice about me, I would brush it off or downplay it. “No, I’m really not” or “I just got lucky, I guess.”

Sound familiar?

The truth is, not accepting compliments gracefully can be a sign of insecurity. It’s like you’re saying, “I don’t believe I’m worthy of this praise.” 

With time, I’ve learned to say a simple “Thank you” when someone compliments me, and truly take in their kind words.

I still catch myself downplaying compliments sometimes, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

10. Perfectionism

Alright, let’s get real here.

Perfectionism isn’t about having high standards or striving for excellence. It’s about fear – fear of making mistakes, fear of criticism, fear of not being good enough.

When we’re insecure, we can fall into the trap of thinking that if we’re perfect, we’ll be beyond reproach. We put immense pressure on ourselves to avoid any potential judgment or failure.

But the truth is that no one is perfect. Mistakes are a part of life and they’re how we learn and grow.

So if you find yourself striving for that unattainable perfection, take a step back.

It’s okay to aim for excellence, but don’t let the fear of making mistakes hold you back. 

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