I have a confession to make. I used to have almost no confidence around men.
I was the woman who constantly felt insecure and worried about what guys think of me.
Today, I am in a much better place. But since I’ve experienced both sides of the coin, I can now easily recognize the signs that another woman lacks confidence around men too.
Because I used to show the same ones.
Whether you’re a woman who’s trying to overcome insecurity yourself, or you’re wondering if a friend of yours is struggling with this so you can help her, these 9 signs will give you the answer.
1) She avoids eye contact
This first sign is a hallmark of a woman with low self-confidence, both towards men and towards humans in general.
She doesn’t feel confident being in the spotlight, and so having a man pay attention to her by looking at her may make her feel uncomfortable.
In response, she may look away or down at the ground, and then glance back to see if the person is still looking at her.
Personally, this used to really set me ill at ease. I would constantly worry about what the person was thinking about me, and think of a dozen negative explanations like “my outfit looks weird” or “my hair is frizzy”.
This would be particularly hard for me if I personally found the man attractive, and wished it was mutual. But it could be even more uncomfortable when he seemed a little creepy and I was worried if he had bad intentions.
Many times, all these worries would have been unfounded, but insecurity often turns women’s thoughts in this direction.
2) She fidgets a lot
Here’s another sign that’s very easy to notice. Just watch her for a while, and you’ll see that she can’t seem to stop fidgeting around men.
Maybe she frequently touches her clothes, or she shifts in her seat. Maybe she has a bad habit like biting her nails.
For me, it was twirling my hair and tucking it behind my ear.
These small unconscious movements often serve as a distraction from the woman’s discomfort and a way to release pent-up energy.
She might try hard to control her facial expressions and what she says, but she can’t focus on her entire body at once, and her anxiety leaks out in some form.
3) She makes self-deprecating comments
How does this woman talk about herself? Does she highlight her positive qualities and accept compliments with joy, or does she tend to minimize her achievements and qualities?
If they’re used sparingly, self-deprecating comments can show humor or humility. But if women use them often, they can signal a lack of confidence around men.
There could actually be multiple reasons for this. Maybe she genuinely believes those things, and so it’s her way of trying to be honest.
Or maybe she craves some sort of compliment or validation from the guy, so she puts herself down hoping that he’ll start convincing her how amazing she is.
On the other hand, maybe she’s worried other people think those things about her, so she says it to “beat them to the punch”.
Whatever the reason, people around will start to get the impression that this woman doesn’t value herself enough — and unfortunately, that is often the case.
4) She agrees with everything
We all like people who agree with us — that’s why our friends tend to have mostly the same opinions as us.
But when a woman lacks confidence around men, she may agree with everything they say, even if it goes against her own beliefs or opinions.
She may do this because she really wants to be liked, and she’s worried that she doesn’t have enough worth to be liked if she disagrees with something.
But it may also come from a fear of conflict, and not enough confidence in expressing her own opinions.
In the past, I often found myself wishing I could voice my different perspective, and I admired any woman who found a polite and elegant way to express herself in front of men.
I was doing the best I could, but I was giving off the impression that I lacked a strong sense of identity. Thankfully, over time I was able to develop self-knowledge and the confidence to express my opinions without fear of judgment or rejection.
5) She apologizes for everything
A woman who lacks confidence around men may have a tendency to apologize for everything, even when it’s not her fault.
This is often a way to avoid confrontation or to prevent men from getting upset with her — especially as men often have a more direct and assertive way of speaking.
I used to be the one constantly saying “sorry” for things that were clearly not my fault, like if someone bumped into me or if the waiter got my order wrong.
I felt so insecure that whenever something went wrong, my lack of confidence made me feel responsible for it.
As I started to develop more confidence, I became better able to distinguish what I can and shouldn’t feel accountable for, and say sorry only when I really had a role to play.
6) She avoids physical proximity
Next time you see this woman around men, notice how far away she stays from them.
When a woman lacks confidence, she tends to keep more distance between herself and men, whether she chooses a seat farther away, stands further away, or even unconsciously leans back when approached.
This kind of behavior can be misinterpreted as disinterest or dislike, but it often stems from the woman’s internal struggle with self-consciousness.
This used to be me 100% — I felt so insecure that I was scared men would think I’m coming onto them whenever I touched them or stayed too physically close.
And likewise when it was a man who came up to me — the mere act of being physically close triggered such strong feelings of insecurity that it compelled me to step back.
7) She downplays compliments
Another common sign is the way a woman responds to compliments.
Instead of graciously accepting them, she might downplay or dismiss them, suggesting that she’s not worthy of the praise. This is often a reflection of her own negative self-perception.
I remember that when I used to receive compliments, my immediate response was to say things like, “Oh, it’s not a big deal” or “You’re being too kind.”
This wasn’t because I didn’t appreciate the compliments — rather, it was because I couldn’t believe that a man genuinely saw something positive in me.
When I was able to overcome this habit, I realized how it must have been tiring for men to try to convince me they really meant what they said — but it takes time in order to develop the confidence to see that.
8) She avoids making decisions
Does this woman ever make decisions in front of men? If not, it may be another manifestation of a lack of confidence.
You might wonder what decisions have to do with a lack of confidence — but actually, it’s a lot. It takes courage to stand behind a decision when others may disagree with it.
And women may struggle with this especially because society has taught them supposed to be gentle and agreeable, so they’re worried about being seen as bossy or conflictive.
They may also be afraid of the embarrassment of making the wrong decision, or making mistakes if they take the lead.
So as a result, they may defer decisions to a later time or to someone else.
I used to struggle with this myself. I remember going out to eat with a group of friends, and when it came time to order, I would always be the last to decide. I would often ask others what they were getting or choose something “safe” to avoid drawing attention to myself.
9) She doesn’t speak unless spoken to
Finally, one of the most telling signs of a woman’s lack of confidence around men is her reticence to speak up.
Often, she will wait until someone speaks to her before joining a conversation or sharing her thoughts. This can be due to a fear of being judged, criticized, or misunderstood.
But it’s worse around men in particular, because of the dominant and assertive role they often take on. Unfortunately, some men just make this worse with their disrespectful attitude towards women.
I remember trying to share my thoughts a few times and being ridiculed, shut down, or outright ignored by a man. It cut so deep into my insecurity that I stopped trying after that and just kept my mouth shut unless I was directly addressed.
Thankfully, I’ve grown into strong enough confidence that I’m able to see that men who act like this have more of a problem with themselves than with me.
Men who treat me respectfully actually love hearing what I have to say — and I’ll bet that’s also the case for this woman you know.
Building up a woman’s confidence around men
Now you know 9 signs that a woman lacks confidence around men.
Whether you read this article to help yourself or another woman you know, hopefully this will help you recognize when a woman is struggling with deep insecurity.
It can take time to build up self-confidence, but take me as an example that it really is possible. And with supportive people around her, any woman can learn to let her true personality shine.