15 warning signs a man has low self-esteem

Self-esteem is that magic ingredient in our lives that gives us the strength to appreciate ourselves and our abilities. 

When it’s abundant, life is a joy. But when it’s scarce, things can get tricky.

In men, low self-esteem can be especially deceptive, often hidden behind masks of confidence and bravado. 

But if you know what to look for, you’ll recognize the signs, which is what I’m going to share with you below…

The truth is, I have seen them time and time again in my personal and professional life, and I want to help you see them too.

So, let’s dive right in:

1) He’s constantly self-deprecating

You know that friend who always plays down his accomplishments, no matter how impressive?

That could be a sign of low self-esteem.

Sure, a bit of self-deprecating humor can be endearing. We all do it. 

But when it’s constant, it’s often more than just an attempt to be modest or funny.

The truth is, arrogance is as bad as being too self-deprecating, so pay attention to how a man talks about their achievements and you will get a feel of how his self-esteem levels are! 

2) He struggles with decision-making

Next up is decision-making. Or rather, the lack of it.

A man with low self-esteem often finds it tough to make decisions

As you might guess, more often than not – he’s afraid of making the wrong choice and what people might think of him.

Does this resonate with you?

If you find your man being unable to decide, he might be going through something…

Decision-making comes easy when you’re confident, but confidence doesn’t go hand in hand with low self-esteem. 

And this can often lead to the following point:

3) He’s a people pleaser

Are you familiar with the classic people pleaser? Always bending over backward to keep everyone happy?

Well, that can be another red flag.

A healthy amount of people-pleasing is okay. It shows empathy and kindness. 

But too much of it? That’s when you should start worrying.

I have a friend who ends up doing all kinds of errands for other people in order to please them and then complains that he doesn’t have time for himself.

My advice to him?

“You’re not pleasing the most important person – you!”

4) He’s hyper-sensitive to criticism

Trust me, hypersensitivity isn’t a good sign.

Especially when it comes to criticism. 

The truth is a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? No one likes it, but people who don’t struggle with low self-esteem can generally take it in their stride, even if their ego is slightly wounded.

For a man with low self-esteem, however, even constructive criticism can be a crushing blow. Instead of using it as a learning tool, he takes it as a personal attack.

5) He constantly compares himself to others

zodiacs that are most likely to demonstrate high level thinking 2 15 warning signs a man has low self-esteem

Comparison. It’s said to be the thief of joy. And for a good reason.

When a man is constantly measuring himself against others, it suggests he’s struggling with his self-worth

And that’s a major sign of low self-esteem.

If anything, it’s a terrible cycle – the more he compares, the worse he feels. I’ve fallen into this trap myself, so I know how ugly it can get. 

But that’s the thing with low self-esteem. Even if you know what you’re doing isn’t healthy, it’s incredibly hard to break the cycle. 

6) He lacks self-care

Self-care isn’t just about spa days and bubble baths. It’s about respecting yourself and your needs.

But a man with low self-esteem often neglects his self-care. 

He doesn’t believe he deserves it, and that’s heartbreaking, right?

If this sounds like your man, or any man in your life, don’t hesitate to let them know how worthy they are of self-love and care. 

It’ll take them one step closer to overcoming their low self-esteem. 

7) He settles for less in relationships

A big one here: Relationships.

A man with low self-esteem often settles for less.

He’s afraid he won’t find anyone better, so he sticks with what he’s got, even if to you it all sounds a bit toxic.

A good friend of mine comes to mind. 

We all encouraged him to hold out until he found someone who respected him. But he settled for a woman who took advantage of him and played with his emotions. 

Eventually, he realized and left her. But it took him a long time, and I don’t think this would have been the case if he didn’t suffer from such low self-esteem

8) He’s easily deflated by setbacks

Resilience. It’s the ability to bounce back from setbacks.

The truth is, a single setback can send a man with low self-esteem spiraling into self-doubt and anxiety. And that is what this type of man struggles with the most. 

The irony of it is that confidence and self-esteem are only achieved by going through failure and deception.

9) He frequently apologizes

While they’re vital for maintaining healthy relationships, apologies, if given plenty and for little reason, can decrease in meaning… 

But a man in this state of mind feels he’s always to blame. He often apologizes excessively, even when he hasn’t done anything wrong… 

If you have a friend or a partner who apologizes too much, don’t be afraid to let him know – you might save him some energy!  

10) He’s overly defensive

Here’s the thing, for a man with low self-esteem, even the slightest disagreement can feel like an attack on his character, leading him to become overly defensive.

It’s a classic response to feeling attacked.

A word of advice if you encounter a man like this – be kind, and don’t take it too personal. 

Think of it this way, his defensiveness could very well be a cry for help. 

11) He isolates himself

midlife crisis husband wants to be alone 15 warning signs a man has low self-esteem

Social isolation can also be a tell-tale sign.

A man with low self-esteem often isolates himself from others. 

He may feel like he doesn’t fit in or that he’s a burden to those around him.

And if it wasn’t enough, there are all types of screens for them to hide behind nowadays.

If you find your young cousin choosing to hide behind his computer or video games when the sun is shining and his friends are calling him to go to the beach… check on him! 

He might just need a little push. 

12) He has perfectionist tendencies

Perfectionism. It’s often seen as a virtue, but it can also be a sign of low self-esteem.

A man who’s always striving for perfection might be doing so because he feels inadequate. 

He thinks he needs to be perfect to be worthwhile.

But nothing further than the truth, “To be perfect” is impossible – I know it and so do you! But getting this message through to someone with low self-esteem isn’t easy. 

It requires patience and love. 

13) He avoids confrontation

Nobody likes it, but sometimes it’s necessary. Without confrontation, we’d be stagnant! 

But like the wounded animal, a man with low self-esteem often goes to great lengths to avoid it. 

He’s afraid of what others might think or he just doesn’t feel strong enough to endure the challenge. 

If the man in your life struggles to deal with issues at work or with his family, gentle encouragement and letting him know you’re there for him will help!

14) He struggles with guilt and shame

While we all experience these two emotions, they’re really not a ride in the park.

Guilt and shame can undermine anyone, let alone a man in this state! 

They feed on low self-esteem, and they can turn into constant companions. 

The truth is he’s done nothing wrong yet he feels guilty and ashamed… 

This could stem from childhood. If your partner or a man in your life struggles with these emotions, it’s worth encouraging them to consider therapy.

15) He has a negative outlook on life

Last but not least…

A man with low self-esteem often has a negative outlook on life. He struggles to see the good and dwells on the bad.

He will find himself more often than not viewing life through a lens of negativity. 

And just as with the other points in this article, that can turn into a vicious cycle. 

Final thoughts

So, now we’ve covered the warning signs a man has low esteem, you’re better equipped to spot this in the men in your life. 

My advice?

Be there for them. Create a safe space for them to talk about their fears and anxieties. And if you can’t help them, it’s time to turn to a professional. 

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Jose Martin

Jose Martin

José, a writer with a curious spirit, swapped city lights for the serenity of the countryside. His travels across the globe, coupled with his love for nature, deeply influence his writing. Although he dabbles in various genres, he regards himself as an eternal student, always eager to learn. Philosophy, especially Stoicism, plays a significant role in his work and life, offering a guiding principle amid life's ups and downs. José weaves personal development, relationships, and philosophy into his narratives. His humble words inspire self-discovery and growth, guiding readers on their own life journeys.

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