If someone uses these 12 phrases in a conversation, they lack self-confidence

Confidence isn’t just about how you feel. It’s also hiding behind the way you move, the words you say, and the way in which you say them.

In short, confidence exudes from your whole being. And when you lack it for whatever reason, many people – especially if they’re highly observant – will be able to tell.

So, do you or someone you know lack self-confidence? Let’s find out.

If someone uses these 12 phrases in a conversation, they probably don’t believe in themselves as much as they could.

1) “I’m probably wrong…”

One of my friends – let’s call her Gemma – always diminishes the weight of her own opinions under the guise of, “I’m probably wrong.”

Lo and behold, she also struggles with a lack of self-esteem and strong people-pleasing tendencies.

I love Gemma. But every time she undermines herself, I just want to shake her and tell her, “You matter!”

We’ve all been in a situation where we said something but weren’t quite sure if it was right. If I’m referring to a study or a statistic, for instance, I’ll add something along the lines of, “Don’t quote me on it, though, I might not remember it correctly.”

This urges the other person to do their own research and not rely on everything I say with one hundred percent certainty.

However, “I’m probably wrong” is different because it automatically assumes you’ve made a mistake.

Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

2) “I’m not the best person to ask…”

This phrase is in the same vein as the one above – it revolves around minimizing one’s own importance and credibility in order to escape any possible burden of responsibility.

Look, I get it.

Sometimes, you really aren’t the best person to ask. I mean, if someone were to ask me for advice on coding, I’d probably scratch my head and reply, “Have you tried putting in 1 and 0? Because that’s the extent of what I know.”

However, there are plenty of situations in life where you are, in fact, the best person to ask, because the person who’s asking you has chosen to come to you for a reason.

Recently, my friend Tom asked me for some feedback on his graphic design portfolio. I know very little about graphic design, but that wasn’t the point – he wanted an honest opinion from his friend.

I offered my input, and he actually incorporated some of my advice (which made me feel awesome).

You can always contribute something to the conversation, however tiny it may seem. Don’t underestimate the power of your opinion.

3) “I’m so, so, so sorry…”

Remember my friend Gemma?

One of her go-to phrases is “sorry”. It’s gotten to the point where my friends and I had to tell her to stop apologizing so much because it started getting on our nerves.

There is a time and place for apologies. If you’ve made a mistake or if you’ve upset someone, an apology goes a long way.

But if you’ve beaten someone in a game or if a friend who’s visiting you has bumped a toe against your wardrobe, saying “sorry” three times in a row is a bit too much. 

What’s more, it signals a lack of self-confidence.

4) “I’m very sorry to bother you…”

This phrase sounds very innocent at first, right?

I mean, it’s always good to be polite, and if someone’s in the middle of a conversation, for instance, “I’m very sorry to bother you” is the right way to approach them.

However, things get a little more complicated if you use this phrase in situations where you’re no bother at all.

If you email customer support, you’re not bothering them – they’re doing their job.

If you call your doctor, you’re not bothering them – again, they’re doing their job.

The same applies to friendships and romantic relationships. Chances are, your friend doesn’t think you’re a bother because they love you and want to help you.

An alternative way to be polite yet confident is to say, “Do you think it’d be possible for us to do X?”

5) “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it”

Imagine asking someone what’s wrong, only for them to reply, “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.”

How infuriating is that?

Not only does it mean the person in question refuses to talk about their feelings openly and resolve the issue together, but it also displays low confidence – they are so afraid of judgment and confrontation that they’d rather invalidate their emotions and bottle them down.

If you often find yourself saying, “It’s nothing,” remember that your feelings are valid and deserve to be heard, discussed, and processed.

6) “You’re so X, I’m not X at all…”

lack integrity 1 If someone uses these 12 phrases in a conversation, they lack self-confidence

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to talk about something that’s very common among people who lack self-confidence – compliment fishing.

Oftentimes, low self-esteem translates into a need for external validation. And what better way to get a compliment than to compliment somebody else and bring yourself down at the same time?

“You’re so smart, I’m not smart at all…”

“Oh, come on, you’re very clever!”

Mission accomplished.

7) “I think I just got lucky”

Not everyone who struggles with self-esteem will grab at every opportunity to receive a compliment.

In fact, many people who lack self-confidence are the exact opposite – they hate compliments because they don’t believe them and think the person saying it is just being nice.

And what’s the best response to a compliment you don’t believe?

“I think I just got lucky, really. It’s not as impressive as it sounds.”

But it is. The person complimenting you thinks it; everyone else thinks it; I think it. There is always some level of luck when it comes to success, but the rest? The rest is all you.

8) “I don’t deserve this”

The reason people may find it difficult to accept compliments is that they believe they are inherently not worthy of them.

If that sounds like you, know that this is something many of us struggle with and that it ought to be reflected upon and perhaps discussed with someone you trust.

You deserve the world, but no matter how many times I tell you that, this belief needs to come from within you. 

Fortunately, it is possible for us to rewrite our own narratives.

9) “That’s just me”

Another narrative we tend to get stuck in is the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

You are A and B and C, and so if you make a mistake or do something embarrassing, you might want to deflect the blame by shrugging it off and saying, “That’s just me. I’m ditzy/clumsy/stupid like that.”

However, true confidence doesn’t lie in acknowledging your faults and accepting them as part of who you are. It lies in the recognition that your identity is fluid and that one action doesn’t reflect your whole personality.

You can always work on your weaknesses while embracing yourself simultaneously.

10) “Yes, I can do X and Y and Z for you!”

As someone who used to be a big people-pleaser, I can honestly say that people-pleasing absolutely does signal a lack of healthy self-esteem.

People-pleasers struggle to assert their boundaries and prioritize their well-being because they’re so terrified of being disliked or finding themselves in the midst of a conflict that they’d rather just say “yes” to everything.

However, this is a recipe for a disaster because you can simply never please everyone.

There are too many people, too many requirements, and only 24 hours in a day. Invest your energy in those who matter most – including you.

11) “You choose, I’m fine with whatever”

There’s a scene in Friends where Rachel says she isn’t a pushover, only for her to agree to Monica’s choice of a restaurant even though she’d prefer to go elsewhere.

It’s the perfect example of going with the flow because you don’t want to cause trouble.

What would happen if Rachel said “no”?

Well, chances are that she and Monica would simply come up with a few more options and settle on a compromise. And if Monica refused to compromise, that would be a reflection of her character more than Rachel’s.

It’s okay to say what you want. If you’re surrounded by respectful and kind people (which I strongly recommend), disagreements won’t escalate. Instead, you’ll find a solution that suits both parties.

12) “I’m so [insult]”

The way you talk about yourself matters more than you might think.

If you put yourself down – “I’m so stupid, ugh” – you will incorporate those thoughts, letting them affect every aspect of your life.

If you treat yourself in the same way you would a friend – you avoid negative self-talk and try to view yourself in a positive light – the principle remains the same: those thoughts will grow in magnitude, helping you feel more confident.

I speak from personal experience. Growing up, I used to insult myself quite a lot, and ever since I stopped, my confidence has skyrocketed.

You’re not stupid. You’re not ditzy. You’re an imperfect human being worthy of love.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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