People who are overly concerned about what others think of them usually have these 8 qualities

Just for fun, let’s kick this one off with an embarrassing story. Embarrassing enough that I can recall the incident in graphic, nightmarish detail even decades later.

Let me set the scene.

It’s the mid-90s, and I’m at a gig for one of the bands I was booking at the time. It was summer, I was young, a bit tipsy, and wearing an adorable sundress.

Yep, I was feeling pretty good.

Until I unknowingly strutted out of the Ladies’ Room with my skirt tucked into my undies. I must’ve been quite a sight rocking out with my buttocks out.

Luckily, a kind-hearted girl alerted me to the issue as I was in mid-strut, and I proceeded to die a thousand painful, cringy deaths. 

And as I’m typing this, I’m wincing. 

But you know what? Even the people who saw it probably forgot about it after five minutes. I may be the main character in my own life, but to the patrons that night I was just another slightly inebriated chick doing something goofy.

This is both humbling and comforting. 

It’s perfectly understandable to want other people to like you. After all, we are social animals. But worrying too much about other people’s opinions of you can damage your mental, as well as your physical, health.

Let’s take a look at a few qualities of people who care too much about what others think. 

Anything strike a chord? 

1) Criticism is your kryptonite

Even someone with the most rock-solid self-esteem can falter a bit when their manner, ethics, or qualifications are critiqued or criticized. 

Even if you’re grateful to receive constructive feedback, it can still hit a nerve. For someone who struggles with their self-confidence, even the most tactfully delivered advice can feel positively devastating.

If this is the case, odds are that you’re probably a people-pleaser. 

With some practice and positive self-talk, you can learn to welcome criticism as an opportunity for growth instead of feeling inadequate. 

2) Craves external validation

Do you ever find yourself ruminating over casual remarks made by your friends and family? 

It doesn’t matter that they weren’t talking about you, specifically. The words still haunt you like a nagging ghost. 

Maybe there was a dinner table discussion about how cheap-looking mini-skirts are when they are a primary staple of your wardrobe.

Or–my personal favorite–that online work isn’t a “real” job and that people who work from home are weird and lazy. 

Weird? Sometimes. Lazy? Definitely not.

I will never need external validation enough to make me do something I don’t want to do.

But if you put too much stock in others’ opinions, you might turn down that awesome remote position that pays better than a commuter job and saves you oodles on gas money.

You’d rather miss out on a good thing than risk disappointing your family and friends, even if they “only” silently judge you. 

3) All apologies

The ability to apologize readily and sincerely is a sign of good character. However, it’s also possible to go completely overboard. 

If you’re apologizing just because you’re afraid of sparking a conflict and don’t want to escalate things, you’re probably overly concerned by other people’s opinions

Or maybe you’re a compulsive “Sorry”-sayer because you’ve always been led to believe that everything is always your fault so you overcompensate by over-apologizing.

But let’s be realistic. You’re not responsible for mankind’s sins. Most things, in fact, are not your fault, and there’s no need for you to pretend otherwise.

4) Cringy flashbacks

This circles back to my embarrassing anecdote above. You know, when I sashayed out of the Ladies Room with my dress tucked into my dainties at a crowded nightclub. 

For years, I would wake with a start when my brain replayed my shame in horrific technicolor. You may have a similar incident or two that you like to relive at 3 a.m.

And every time your mind replays it, the horror and shame come at you anew. 

Talk about a waste of time, people.

No one is thinking about some awkward or goofy thing you did years ago. They’re too busy worrying about people remembering some awkward or goofy thing they did years ago.

Most humans are far too self-centered to spare a thought that way, so relax.

5) Overthinking

If you pick apart every social exchange you take part in and parse it for meaning like Beatlemaniacs with album covers you just might have a problem with overthinking. 

You may do this in real-time conversation in an effort to read the room. This rarely ends well. 

If you have to calibrate your opinions to gel with those of your companions, you might be caught in a cycle of people-pleasing.

6) Perpetual people pleasing 

When you find yourself saying ‘yes’ when anyone else would say ‘no,’ you’re caught in an unending loop of people-pleasing.

It’s awesome to be the person everyone can count on when you need a last-minute sitter or a ride to the airport.

However, it’s important that you set limits by putting firm boundaries in place. And yes, this is easier said than done for most people pleasers.

Believe it or not, if you’d rather not attend a certain event you’re not obligated to go just to appease other people. If you don’t have the time to do a friend’s taxes, it’s OK to just say so.

And if people get salty because you’re peppering your “yeses” with “nos” that’s on them, not you. 

7) Epic attempts at mind reading

Do you ever catch yourself thinking you know what’s going on in another person’s mind? And it seems you’re always convinced that their thoughts about you are negative. what other people think about you is none of your business. 

And maybe they are, even though it’s far more likely that they’re not. Either way, 

It’s pointless worrying about what others think of you. Focus on internal validation instead. 

8) You take things too personally

I’ll say it again. Luckily for all of us, most people are in their own little bubbles and barely register what’s going on in someone else’s. 

There’s no malicious intent involved. It’s just human nature.

Keeping all that in mind, you shouldn’t assume someone is deliberately doing something to annoy or hurt you. They’re probably just oblivious. 

So, instead of inferring other people’s intent, try to communicate with “I” messages so you can share your feelings without accusing them of making you feel that way.

Final thoughts

It’s completely understandable to desire companionship, understanding, respect, and love from others, but everything in moderation, right?

It’s easy to get carried away and neglect your own feelings while prioritizing everyone else’s. Do this long enough and you may become resentful and even angry.

Just remember that what other people think about you is none of your business. And the only

opinion of your life that matters is your own. And to check your undergarments before leaving the Ladies’ Room. Trust me on that one.

Picture of Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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