People with low self-confidence display these 15 behaviors (without realizing it)

When somebody doesn’t have much self-confidence it shows in their actions and behavior. 

Becoming more aware of this helps us spot these behaviors in ourselves and in those we cross paths with. 

I know that in my own case I’ve spotted many of these behaviors and in the past few years in particular I’ve been improving and growing out of them. 

Here are some of the top behaviors that people with self-confidence issues often engage in. 

1) Looking for validation

People with low self-confidence tend to look for validation

They seek it through other people, through work colleagues, through addictions…

They seek that big rush, that big win, that arm around the shoulders saying “wow, you did great! You’re awesome!”

You name it, the insecure person has done it all in search of that euphoric sensation.

The basic insecurity at play: “did I do this right? Am I worthy?” 

The antidote: “I am proud of myself and my actions.”

2) Trying to please everyone

Insecure people tend to center their well-being outside themselves. 

They seek validation from getting the approval of others, and quite often the shortest route to that is people pleasing

This means that they go out of their way to make sure everyone is happy, which is essentially an impossible task. 

The basic insecurity at play: “do people like me?”

The antidote: “I like and value myself.”

3) Reacting dramatically to criticism

A side effect of people-pleasing is reacting dramatically to criticism. 

Insecure people have a lot of trouble accepting criticism even when that criticism is constructive feedback or well-meant. 

Even criticism from a friend can lead to very hurt feelings, because the low-confidence individual already has so many doubts about their worth that the slightest chink in their armor makes them go into panic mode.

The basic insecurity at play: “there’s something wrong with me, I know it.”

The antidote: “nobody is perfect, but I’m on a path to getting better and better.”

4) Looking for pity and sympathy 

People with low confidence often struggle with self-pity. 

I’m not claiming there aren’t legitimate reasons for feeling sorry for oneself. In some cases people have had a genuinely terrible lot in life and they really are misunderstood and disadvantaged in many ways. 

But the problem is that no amount of sympathy actually moves anyone forward in life, because that drive and that fire has to ultimately come from inside. 

The basic insecurity at play: “if people feel sorry enough for me maybe things will change.”

The antidote: “nobody else is going to do it for me and sympathy won’t change my life.” 

5) Being overly eager in dating 

Low confidence people tend to fall into clinginess and neediness in relationships

They seek approval among others in general and in particular in romantic relationships. 

They want to be sure they’re truly wanted and valued, and seek constant reminders of their value. They try to define relationships right away and “lock in” a label for something to feel secure.

The result tends to be eventual separation.

The basic insecurity at play: “I have to take whoever I can get as soon as possible before they see my faults and leave me.”

The antidote: “I’m a high-value, attractive individual with lots to offer the right person.” 

6) Self-sabotaging in career

When a person doesn’t think that highly of themselves they’re willing to accept shoddy treatment across the board. 

This includes in the professional environment, where they’ll often take lower pay and poor treatment. 

It’s sad to see, but everyone can spot those individuals in a workplace who are letting themselves be pushed around and exploited due to not really believing in themselves.  

The basic insecurity at play: “I’m not worth much and should take whatever job I can get.”

The antidote: “I deserve to find and keep a job that truly values me and where my talents can flourish.” 

7) Doubting themselves 

People with low self-confidence often doubt themselves in many situations. 

They don’t believe in their own potential and often fall prey to imposter syndrome. 

At the gym, in the classroom, at work, even at home or in a relationship, the insecure person feels like they don’t belong, an experience known as imposter syndrome.

The basic insecurity at play: “there’s something not good enough about me.”

The antidote: “I am powerful, talented and capable beyond even my own imagination.” 

8) Speaking haltingly 

The low confidence individual often has trouble projecting their voice and speaking clearly. 

They may avert their gaze, mumble, speak at very low volume or add many “uh” and “err” sounds as they speak. 

They feel highly anxious to assert themselves and speak clearly to say what they mean or take a chance in saying anything that’s not well received. 

The basic insecurity at play: “my words aren’t valid and are probably worthless.”

The antidote: “my voice is powerful and valid, and I have a right to be heard.”

9) Avoiding eye contact 

ways your fear or rejection is holding you back in your love life People with low self-confidence display these 15 behaviors (without realizing it)

This is something I mentioned in the previous point and it’s worth emphasizing. 

People who don’t believe much in themselves tend to avoid eye contact

They look down when they enter a room and usually avert their gaze if somebody is looking at them. 

The basic insecurity at play: “I am unworthy, I am subservient.”

The antidote: “I am worthy. I have a right to assert my place in this world.” 

10) Displaying weak body language 

The insecure person usually displays weak body language overall. 

Examples include not facing the person they’re speaking to, having slumped shoulders and sitting hunched over or with their hands supporting their head. 

It may just look like they’re very tired (which is possible), but submissive, weak body language is often part of a pattern of low self-confidence. 

The basic insecurity at play: “I am weak, I don’t want to be here.”

The antidote: “I am strong. I belong here.” 

11) Letting others make their decisions

Another feature of insecure people is that they often outsource decisions. 

They doubt their own ability or worthiness in deciding what to do in life, and hence pass the baton to somebody else. 

Even the smallest of choices can have them up all night wondering what to do and turning to others for advice. 

Yet no matter how much advice they get, insecure people tend to overthink it and always doubt what they end up doing and wondering if “the road not taken” would have been the better option. 

The basic insecurity at play: “I don’t know what’s best for me.”

The antidote: “I have the right to make my own decisions, even if they’re mistakes.” 

12) Following trends and fads 

Trends and fads can be very tempting to latch on to. 

We start listening to the same music, watching the same shows and following new diets because everybody else seems to be doing it!

Insecure folks are especially susceptible to this because they are searching for external things to make them feel a greater sense of belonging and well-being. 

Maybe the latest trend could be just the ticket, they figure, although it never quite is… 

The basic insecurity at play: “I’ll be happier if I follow what other people like.”

The antidote: “other people’s likes and dislikes don’t need to be my priority.”

13) Dressing like everyone else 

People who don’t believe in themselves also often latch onto fashion trends. 

This may seem like a small detail, but it’s something to pay attention to. 

Those who are truly comfortable in their own skin are not afraid to dress and clothe themselves as they see fit. 

The basic insecurity at play: “my body and my natural state is unattractive and lacking.”

The antidote: “I’m a beautiful human being who can feel empowered to dress however I want even if others find it weird or un-stylish!” 

14) Believing what seems most popular

Beliefs are another area where insecure people often try to fit in with the majority. 

If they crowdsource their deepest values and beliefs, they think, maybe it will lead to being more accepted and loved?

It will prove that their value is high and that they are truly wanted and valid. 

The basic insecurity at play: “are my beliefs correct and good?” 

The antidote: “I don’t need approval or to poll the crowd about my beliefs and values before standing up for them.” 

15) Trying to buy popularity and happiness 

Money is an important part of life and it can be a crucial tool.

But insecure people often turn to money as a crutch as well, seeking to buy affection, attention and pleasure with it and feel higher value as a result. 

The end result, sadly, is usually a feeling of even more emptiness and a growing worry that maybe the self doubts they have are true.

The basic insecurity at play: “am I a popular, sought-after person?” 

The antidote: “I’m popular with myself. In fact, my favorite person to hang out with is me!” 

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on and visit his website at

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