Want to come off as more confident?
The old proverb, “fake it till you make it,” can be extremely helpful when it comes to confidence.
Start by avoiding doing these 10 things that confident people never do in social situations.
Soon enough, you’ll find yourself feeling more and more socially confident.
1) They don’t brag about their accomplishments
Do you know any people that are always bragging about how successful or happy they are?
I know a couple people like that. One person in particular participated in a dance competition, and told anyone who would listen how proud and honored she was to have won second place.
But how did these people come off to you? Most of the time, people who feel the need to convince others of their success aren’t really confident of it themselves.
I later found out that this person I knew only won second place because there were actually only 2 people in the competition. Yep, she won second place by default.
I’m not trying to belittle her effort or skill — the fact that she participated in the competition at all is something to be proud of.
But it doesn’t show her to be a confident person, as she wouldn’t have such a strong need to seek admiration from others otherwise.
Confident people rather spend their energy living their great accomplishments rather than talking about them. Because if they’re truly great, you won’t even need to tell people.
2) They don’t monopolize the conversation
As Eugene Baker said, “You never learn anything by listening to yourself talk.” Confident people definitely agree.
Rather than monopolizing the conversation or continuously turning the subject towards themselves, they allow room for others to speak.
They are secure enough in themselves that they don’t need to be the center of attention in the conversation at all times.
They are also not afraid that someone else’s opinion or expertise will somehow “beat” their own.
On the contrary, they are truly curious and open-minded.
This is not just a sign of confidence, it’s also a great way to deepen connections with others and make yourself more likable.
3) They don’t correct people when they’re “wrong”
Some people are super quick to jump at any chance to correct other people’s mistakes, or point out when they’re wrong.
These are not confident people — at least they don’t act like it.
This is not only emotionally exhausting for the one being “corrected,” but it also shows insecurity.
It comes off as self-centered, and looks like you put your need to “win” above respecting other people.
If you are truly confident in your values and opinions, you won’t feel threatened by the fact that someone else thinks differently.
On the contrary, you’ll listen with an open mind and respect everyone’s right to share what they think.
4) They don’t gossip or talk behind people’s back
People love to talk, and gossip weasels its way into many conversations without much effort on our part.
But confident people are mindful to not engage in it.
They also keep any negative opinions about others to themselves.
Think about it: how does it make you feel when someone puts another person down behind their back?
It probably affects your opinion of the person speaking much more than the person being criticized, right?
Truly confident people are aware that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and they are willing to forgive. They understand that we all make mistakes and therefore cannot judge others for theirs.
5) They don’t speak too quickly
Did you know speed also affects how confident you come across?
Yes – confident people tend to speak more slowly.
This is because they are not trying to catch other people’s attention. They already know that what they have to share is valuable, and that others will listen to what they have to say.
And even if others don’t listen, they don’t get upset. Some people are not able to recognize when something is valuable, or it’s simply not the right moment for them to hear it.
Or maybe it’s just not a topic of interest for them. And that’s all okay!
Confident people know that this can happen, and that it doesn’t diminish the value of their thoughts. Trying to get things out faster won’t make people listen any more.
6) They don’t use a ton of filler words
We all use fillers occasionally — words like “um,” “ah,” “er,” and so on.
But the key word here is occasionally.
If you use them in every sentence, what you’re saying becomes very hard to listen to. (Think back to those awkward presentations in high school, and I’m sure you can think of an example or two!)
But more than that, it also comes across as terribly insecure.
The problem isn’t that you’re searching for what to say. The problem is that you’re too nervous to allow yourself to pause for even half a second.
The next time you listen to a speech, notice how many silences there are. They don’t sound unnatural, do they? In fact, I’ll bet you didn’t even notice just how many there were.
Try to embody this yourself, and become comfortable with having a half-second silence rather than making any sort of noise.
Chances are, it will make people listen up even more!
7) They don’t fidget
Fidgeting is like the silent version of filler words.
Let’s revisit the speech example. Imagine if a person had a great, confident speech, delivered with a confident tone of voice, a steady pace, and no filler words.
But the whole time, they kept playing with their hair, shifting their weight, or pulling on their clothes.
Not the best impression, right?
Whenever I’m talking with a person who does this, I often find myself distracted by what they’re doing to the point that I have to focus really hard to pay attention to what they’re saying.
Fidgeting gives away your inner insecurity and anxiety. If you struggle with this, I suggest trying to focus on taking slow, deep breaths instead.
It takes enough of your attention that you’re not able to keep fidgeting most of the time, and it can also help calm you down.
8) They don’t have closed-off body language
We all already know that words are just a small percentage of communication. The rest is made up of tone and body language.
Confident people are fully aware of this in social situations, and make sure they’re sending the right message with their gestures and posture.
For example, standing with your arms wrapped around you or hands in your pockets makes you look closed off.
Slouching also gives the message of insecurity. Not to mention nervous habits like foot tapping or other ways of fidgeting, as mentioned above.
To look socially confident, have a relaxed stance with arms by your side or lightly in your pockets and shoulders down.
Also, stand with your feet at least shoulder length apart and fully face the person you’re talking to to show them you’re giving them your full attention.
9) They are not overly sensitive to teasing or criticism
Imagine you’re working with someone, and you find a small typo in their work.
You point it out to them, and they get very defensive, explaining how it’s such a small mistake and they’ve had so much work to do that they overlooked it.
Now imagine that instead, they laugh and make a light joke about it, promptly fix it, then move on.
Which person would you trust more?
Definitely the second one — because they automatically come across as much more confident.
If you are too sensitive to teasing or anything that resembles criticism, it shows that you’re insecure about yourself, and don’t trust your own abilities.
Confident people know that mistakes are human, no matter how expert you are — and they’re not afraid to own it.
10) They aren’t afraid to make eye contact
Eye contact says a lot about someone’s confidence.
The shy kids at school are easily identified as the ones who are always staring at their shoes, or look away after one or two seconds.
Confident people, on the other hand, are not scared to look people straight in the eye.
I know this can be uncomfortable for some, but if you want to learn to be more socially confident, it would be a good idea to get more used to it.
This wasn’t always easy for me either, so I developed a trick of noticing details in someone’s eye. What color is it? What shapes are there? What reflections can I see?
This takes the psychological pressure off while helping me be much more confident in social situations.
Now you know 10 things to avoid doing in social situations. If you follow them, you’re sure to instantly seem much more confident — and with time, truly become more confident as well.