8 definite signs someone is seeking approval (complete list)

It is our biological and psychological nature to enjoy approval and validation.

From our earliest age, being told “good job” and accepted and loved is a big buzz.

Our mind is flooded with dopamine when we get positive feedback, and our motivation to do even better and keep going is increased!

Every sports coach knows that encouragement can go a lot further than criticism and insults.

However, some people get stuck in the craving and need for approval, particularly in their professional and romantic life.

Here’s what to watch out for in someone who is toxically addicted to validation.

1) They humble brag

Humble bragging is a way of bragging while seeming like you’re not.

For example, somebody might humblebrag by saying:

“I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t really know what’s going on in the economy and all that because I’ve been really focused on my personal spiritual journey and reaching a higher level of vibration.”
Translation: I’m super spiritual and deep so I don’t have time for “all that” sh*t that the rest of you peasants get so worked up about.

Another good humblebrag?
“I totally forgot about the deadline! I’ve been working out 24/7, it’s ridiculous. I just hate being fat,” they may say while subtly indicating their perfect figure.

Humblebragging sucks, and it’s a way for the typical “nice” person to seek validation for being such a great person.

2) They justify everything they do

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Another of the definite signs someone is seeking approval is that they justify everything they do.
This is also commonly known as oversharing.

Why did they buy new shoes yesterday, well actually it was because …

They didn’t really want to go out two days ago because XYZ, but they’re sorry and next time…

The ultimate example of approval seeking comes from Canada, where many people will apologize when somebody bumps into them by mistake.

It’s become a joke for Americans, but it’s actually true. I’m originally from Canada and have seen it happen many times.

I’ve even done it myself various times, before I realized that cultural conditioning was making me a passive dishrag and stopped.

3) They want to rush to define a relationship

Another of the definite signs someone is seeking approval is that they rush to define and label a relationship.

“Are you sure you like me a lot?” is the basic question here.

But no matter how many times their partner says they do, the approval seeker will harbor doubts, slotting themselves into a toxically anxious attachment style.

While this article explores the main signs that somebody craves validation to an unhealthy degree in life and love, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.

With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…

Are you yourself struggling with a craving for validation or dating someone who is?

What does it mean and how can you turn it around and stop it from blasting your chances at a loving relationship?

Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like approval codependency.

They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.

How do I know?

I contacted them several months ago about my own tendency to constantly seek approval.

I was extremely satisfied with the advice and coach I got, who really understood where I was coming from and could relate to me very well and in detail.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

Click here to get started.

4) They qualify everything they say

I used to be an addict at this, and still struggle.
Qualifying what you say is a common habit among people who aren’t highly confident and seek approval.

Terms like:

“I guess,”


“I think,”


And your common “uh,” are big signs of trying to qualify what you’re saying.

So instead of just saying:

“Yes, I love watching Stranger Things, I think it’s a brilliant show,” the approval seeker will say something like “Stranger Things is pretty cool, I think. I dunno…”
The point? They are literally fishing for someone to agree or not and leaving wiggle room to back down from the statement.
Stop qualifying what you say if there’s no reason to.

If you like Stranger Things or anything else, own it! (I like it).

5) They try to copy others who are ‘cool’ and accepted

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Another of the most definite signs someone is seeking approval is that they copy other people who seem to be “cool” and accepted.

This can feed into quite a cycle of disempowerment, because the sad truth is that none of us can be satisfied trying to be something we’re not.

I recently sat trying to work in my apartment while a crowd of tourist teens in this town blasted bizarre and stupid music in the condominium parking lot all day.

It sounded like baby chimes interspersed with cursing and guttural grunts in between. The topics were mainly about being a fan of anal sex and liking the look of the behind of a woman the singer saw in line at the bank (a style of funk called proibido “prohibited” in Brazil).

I feel confident that few of the crowd of teens was very into the music.

But one guy blasted it from his car because he was sure it was “cool” and rebellious.

And another girl who thought it sounds like sh*t danced along because she was sure this is what chill people enjoy.

And on and on the validation cycle continues.

6) They copy popular political and spiritual opinions

On a related note another of the definite signs someone is seeking approval is that they copy popular political and spiritual opinions.

Growing up I never expected to be so bored by both religious and non-religious people, left-wing and right-wing people.

The general reason?

They aren’t speaking about their values and journey, they are repeating scripts that I have heard word-for-word hundreds of times from people all around the world.

They are aping thought-terminating cliches that end the possibility of real conversation.

Those with a deep need for approval that trumps their need for truth will often do this, repeating what they hear a lot and that makes them feel good even if it’s actually a far shallower view than they would care to realize.

7) They wait for others to act before they join in

The approval seeker is always the person who jumps on a bandwagon…

While the diehard fans are cheering a team on in the regular season, the approval seeker shows up in the playoffs all decked out in new gear with the price tags still on it.

Isn’t he or she awesome?!

Give them some approval, folks.

If you’ve been in this boat of seeking approval and looking for places to find it, then you know how disempowering it can feel.

Instead of continuing to search for belonging outside yourself, I want to suggest coming at this from another direction.

Begin with yourself. Stop searching for external fixes to sort out your life, deep down, you know this isn’t working.

And that’s because until you look within and unleash your personal power, you’ll never find the satisfaction and fulfillment you’re searching for.

I learned this from the renowned Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê.

His life mission is to help people restore balance to their lives and unlock their creativity and potential.

He has an incredible approach that combines ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist.

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains effective methods to achieve what you want in life and stop depending on the approval of others.
So if you want to build a better relationship with yourself, unlock your endless potential, and put passion at the heart of everything you do, start now by checking out his genuine advice.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

8) Sycophancy at work

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In a work environment, one of the top definite signs someone is seeking approval is that they are completely sycophantic.

The boss is always right and they are always ready to chime in with supportive comments.

This can also show up in their personal life, but tends to be most common at work.

They want the approval of those in power and are willing to be a yes man or yes woman no matter how much it takes.

Your admission has not been accepted…

When I graduated high school I applied to many universities, including Yale and Cambridge.

I didn’t get into either. I also got rejected from law school.

With my 97% grades average and extracurricular activities I thought I’d be a shoe-in …

(97% is pretty good, right? Can I get some approval and validation here?)

Well, I felt rejected when that single sheet of paper with the short paragraph told me there was no spot for me in the upcoming year’s class.

I wanted that approval!

We all care about getting what we want and feel disappointed when a person, institution or situation doesn’t give us the approval and praise we feel we deserve.
The difference is that an empowered, confident person moves on and continues believing in themselves.

An insecure and codependent person feels their very identity threatened and may spiral down into the victim narrative and get drunk on the cheap wine of tragedy.

I sincerely hope this article will help you avoid many of the pitfalls of the second option and find your way into the first camp.

Related: 11 signs of a codependent boss (and what to do about it)

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 www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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