9 signs your personality isn’t as laid-back as you think it is

Ever feel like a serene swan gliding on top, while churning like a frantic duck underneath? 

You’re not alone. 

Often, our calm exterior masks hidden turbulence. However, if you often present a laid-back appearance but don’t share the intense emotions affecting you behind the scenes, it may lead to a sense of discontent.


Because genuine connections are built on trust, understanding, and open communication. Sharing both the calm and the chaos allows for a deeper connection, fostering empathy and support.

So, are you using laid-back as a coping mechanism? Here are nine signs you’re working harder than you think to appear effortless.

1) You bottle up negative emotions instead of processing them healthily 

While suppressing difficult feelings can provide temporary relief, it often leads to emotional build-up and unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

Sharing your vulnerabilities with trusted individuals can provide catharsis and strengthen connections.

Think of it like letting off steam from a pressure cooker—it’s better to release it safely than risk an explosion.

2) You resort to self-deprecating humour or minimise your struggles to avoid burdening others 

You wear a smile like a shield, deflecting your struggles with self-deprecating humour or downplaying your difficulties. 

But here’s the twist: while you think you’re protecting your loved ones from worry, minimising your burdens can unintentionally create distance.

While you think you’re protecting your loved ones from worry, minimising your burdens can unintentionally create distance. Sharing your burdens fosters a deeper understanding and allows others to offer support and empathy. 

Strength isn’t measured by how little you reveal but by how openly you communicate and allow others to support you.

3) You meticulously plan your days and strive for perfectionism

Your schedule planner is colour-coded and you’ve implemented an elaborate system for productivity. Still, you worry, “What if it doesn’t go to plan?” 

While aiming for excellence is admirable, needing to control everything can lead to anxiety and hinder adaptability. 

Look for signs like difficulty delegating and frustration with imperfections. Embracing imperfections and trusting others can make life flow more smoothly.

Think of it like riding a wave—sometimes you just have to go with the flow and trust that you’ll land on your feet.

4) You have difficulty delegating tasks and prefer to do everything yourself

Refusing to delegate tasks can be a sign you fear the loss of control or not trusting others. 

Recognise that teamwork enhances efficiency and allows you to relax. Sometimes, letting go and trusting others can be the most effective way to navigate life’s currents.

Sharing the workload creates a sense of shared ownership and support, making the journey smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

5) You find yourself constantly busy and unavailable, fearing idle time might lead to unwanted introspection 

Sometimes, the busiest schedules hide the quietest storms. 

Overwork and distractions can be effective masks for internal turmoil. 

It’s okay to slow down, take some quiet time for yourself and in the calm, beneath the radar of distractions, your unaddressed emotions will gently surface. Acknowledge them, understand them, then release them.

It’s not about wallowing in the past but about paving the way for a present free from burdens and brimming with healthy solutions.

6) You’re a chronic observer 

You silently absorb everything, picking up on subtle cues in the room and other people’s hidden emotions. You find you analyse conversations and interactions, trying to anticipate potential problems or conflicts. 

This mental effort can be exhausting and prevents you from enjoying the moment and connecting with others on a deeper level

Being a silent observer might feel safe in the short term, but it can create a wall between you and those who care about you most. 

It’s okay to step away from the observer role, share your feelings and participate actively in the conversation. 

While observing is a valuable skill, true connection comes from sharing your thoughts and vulnerabilities.

7) You become overly agreeable to avoid conflict, even when compromising your values 

While peacekeeping is valuable, constant acquiescence can lead to resentment and unfulfilled needs. 

This constant compromise can lead to a sense of inauthenticity and resentment building up over time. 

But here’s the thing: constantly putting your own needs aside can lead to a feeling of being unseen and unheard. Remember, healthy relationships are built on give and take.

Express your needs and opinions, even if it means risking some conflict. 

Importantly, learning to express your desires and boundaries assertively empowers you in relationships and makes it easier for people to respond to your wants and needs. 

8) You say “sure” or “fine” often, but your body language tells otherwise 

Notice the tension in your shoulders, the forced smile, or the averted gaze. These are all telltale signs your laid-back acceptance is masking unspoken disapproval or disappointment. 

Listen to your body. Pay attention to your non-verbal cues to understand your true feelings then try to communicate your needs honestly, even if it’s uncomfortable. 

Being agreeable may be the easiest option in the short term, but the subtle signs your body sends may help you avoid resentment and regret later. 

9) You struggle to let go 

While you appear easygoing, holding onto past hurts or grudges can create internal tension. 

Letting go often requires confronting vulnerabilities and acknowledging your pain. 

This is a daunting task. Sometimes the familiar sting of resentment feels easier to bear than the uncertainty of forgiveness. 

If you find you are holding on to too much negativity, remember that letting go doesn’t condone the actions of others, but it liberates you from their hold on your present.

Why self-reflection matters

It’s true, calm waters may hide turbulent currents beneath.

We all need to hide our stress occasionally but regularly suppressing true feelings to appear easy-going can lead to isolation and missed growth opportunities. 

Instead, be honest about the effort beneath your serenity. Open communication builds trust and fosters deeper connections. 

Remember, the swan’s graceful glide might be captivating, but the duck’s paddling effort keeps it afloat—and more relatable.

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Picture of 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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