9 traits of people who need constant validation to feel secure about themselves

Ever wonder why some people seem to live for likes, compliments, and constant reassurance from others?

This need for constant validation is more than just a quest for social approval — it’s a deep-rooted search for self-worth.

In this article, we’re going to uncover the 9 traits that often characterize people who rely heavily on external validation to feel secure.

It’s an exploration into why some of us feel an intense need for external affirmation and how this need can shape our behaviors and relationships.

1) They always seek approval

People who constantly seek approval often find themselves in a never-ending loop of needing others to affirm their choices, actions, and thoughts.

Take, for instance, someone who can’t decide on even the simplest things without asking for opinions from multiple friends.

Whether it’s choosing a meal at a restaurant or picking out an outfit for the day, they rely heavily on others’ approvals to validate their decisions.

This constant search for validation goes beyond normal levels of seeking advice or second opinions.

It’s about a deeper need for reassurance that they’re making the ‘right’ choices.

And you know what?

Such individuals might find themselves regularly fishing for compliments or seeking reassurance in various aspects of their lives, from their professional achievements to their personal choices.

This trait, while often subtle, reveals an underlying insecurity and a reliance on external validation to feel confident and secure in their decisions.

2) They overthink compliments

I remember a time when a close friend of mine received a compliment on her presentation at work.

Instead of accepting the praise, she immediately questioned it.

“Did you really think it was good? Or are you just saying that?”

For me, this incident was a clear example of one thing:

People who need constant validation often overthink compliments.

While many of us might appreciate a kind word, those who rely on validation may question the sincerity behind it.

I’m not saying that they’re ungrateful, though.

Instead, they just find it hard to believe in the positivity directed toward them.

Whether they’re dissecting a well-meaning comment, doubting the genuineness of a compliment, or discounting their achievements, these individuals often struggle to accept praise without question.

They’re simply trying to understand their worth in the best way they know how – through the lens of others’ approval.

3) They crave recognition

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to thrive on being in the spotlight?

This craving for recognition is a common trait among those who rely on external validation.

The thing is that their purpose has nothing to do with just accomplishing tasks or reaching goals. Instead, life for them is all about getting noticed and applauded for their efforts.

Usually, this need for recognition often manifests in various aspects of their life.

  • At work, they may be the ones who eagerly lead projects, not solely for their passion for the work but for the accolades that come with success.
  • In social settings, they might be the storytellers who embellish tales to capture the audience’s admiration.

In either case, they often feel a sense of unease when their achievements go unrecognized or when someone else takes center stage.

Do you know that kind of person?

Then, you can observe how this constant need for recognition stems from their desire to be validated by others, to feel seen and appreciated.

While it’s natural to enjoy acknowledgment, relying heavily on it for self-worth can lead to a fragile sense of self-esteem that’s dependent on others’ perceptions and approval.

4) They’re afraid of rejection

overthinking and perfectionism is holding you back in life 9 traits of people who need constant validation to feel secure about themselves

Did you know that the fear of rejection can be so powerful that it often drives people to adapt their behavior just to fit in?

People who need constant validation frequently have an intense fear of rejection.

While most of us might face rejection with resilience, the very thing that makes validation-seekers stand out is that they often do everything they can to avoid it.

  • How far might they go to avoid rejection?
  • Will they change their opinions to match the group consensus?
  • Do they stay silent on their true feelings to prevent disagreement?

These are the kinds of questions that highlight the struggle of someone who fears rejection.

They may often agree with popular opinion, even if it contradicts their beliefs, or they might refrain from expressing any controversial thoughts.


Because for validation-seekers, the idea of being rejected or not fitting in is unbearable.

It’s not just the loss of approval they fear, but the deeper feeling of not being ‘good enough’ in the eyes of others.

5) They struggle with self-worth

At the core of someone who seeks constant validation often lies a raw and honest struggle with self-worth.

Isn’t it true that we all, at some point, question our value?

For those who seek external validation, this questioning goes deeper, becoming a persistent doubt about their worthiness.

Think about it:

When validation is the main source of self-esteem, self-worth becomes something external, not something that comes from within.

This reliance can create a rollercoaster of emotions, where one’s sense of value fluctuates based on others’ reactions and feedback.

Now, here’s the thing: this struggle is more common than we might think, and it’s often hidden beneath a veneer of confidence or sociability.

For those grappling with self-worth, the journey towards finding internal validation is crucial.

It involves learning to appreciate their intrinsic value, independent of external accolades or approval.

6) They’re sensitive to criticism

Imagine your colleague who gently points out a minor error in a report.

Instead of taking it as constructive feedback, the person feels deeply wounded, as if their entire worth has been called into question.

This scenario is typical for those who are overly sensitive to criticism, a common trait among those who crave constant validation.

For these individuals, criticism, no matter how well-intentioned or mild, can feel like a personal attack.

It’s not just about the specific feedback. They just want to know what that feedback implies about their worth and competence.

Consequently, this sensitivity often leads them to either defensively justify their actions or internalize the criticism as a reflection of their failure.

So, what’s happening here?

It’s a defense mechanism.

By being overly sensitive to criticism, they’re trying to protect their fragile sense of self-worth, which is heavily dependent on external validation.

That’s the thing that makes it challenging for them to grow and learn from their mistakes, as the fear of criticism keeps them from taking risks or trying new things.

7) They apologize all the time

Ever met someone who says “sorry” so often you’d think they’re apologizing for their very existence?

You know, it’s almost as if their default response to any situation is a quick and often unnecessary apology.

For individuals who need constant validation, frequent apologies can be a telltale sign, albeit a bit ironic.

Interestingly, they’re not necessarily sorry for something they’ve done. They’re often just trying to smooth over any possibility of disapproval or conflict.

Picture this:

Someone apologizes for voicing their opinion in a meeting, for calling at a slightly inconvenient time, or even for things completely out of their control, like bad weather during an outing.

Sounds familiar?

This overuse of “sorry” stems from a deep-seated need to be liked and a fear of causing any form of displeasure.

But the truth is that these apologies can undermine their self-confidence.

It’s as though they are constantly on guard, trying to preemptively diffuse any situation that might lead to criticism or rejection.

The irony is that in their bid to be agreeable and likable, they might end up appearing less confident and more anxious.

8) They’re obsessed with social media

youre probably a sapiosexual 1 9 traits of people who need constant validation to feel secure about themselves

In the digital age, the number of likes, comments, and shares can become a form of validation.

For those who seek constant validation, social media can become an all-consuming world.

An interesting fact to note is that high social media usage is directly linked to a need for external validation.

This means that these individuals often measure their self-worth based on the number of likes, shares, and comments they receive on their posts.

The truth is that their social media feeds are carefully curated to project an ideal image.

What’s more, they spend a considerable amount of time and effort in crafting the perfect post.

And guess what?

The instant gratification that comes from social media interactions feeds into their need for approval.

They might constantly check their phones for notifications or feel anxious when a post doesn’t perform as expected.

So, here’s the thing:

While social media can be a positive tool for connection, for validation-seekers, it can become a barometer for their self-esteem, with each post acting as a test of their likability and acceptance.

9) They find it hard to say “no”

I remember when I would agree to every request, every invitation, and every task, even when I was already overwhelmed.

In simple terms, saying “no” was a bigger challenge for me than you can imagine.

Now I know that this inability to refuse requests is a common trait among those who crave constant validation.

It stems from the fear of disappointing others or facing their disapproval.

Unfortunately, this constant ‘yes’ often leads to overcommitment, stress, and even resentment.

But why do we do it?

It’s because, for validation-seekers, the idea of turning someone down is intertwined with the fear of damaging the relationship or being perceived negatively.

The approval and positive regard of others hold so much weight that it overshadows their own needs and limits.

This is their way of keeping everyone else happy – even at the expense of their own peace and comfort.

Concluding thoughts

If you see these 9 signs in your own behavior, remember that seeking validation is a natural human need.

However, when it becomes excessive, it’s a signal to reevaluate your relationship with yourself and others.

Recognizing these traits in ourselves or others isn’t about casting judgment — it’s about understanding and empathy.

Your ultimate goal is to reach a place where your sense of security and self-worth come from within, making you more resilient, authentic, and fulfilling.

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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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