9 things you’re doing in public that make you look insecure (and what to do instead)

There’s a thin line between feeling insecure and appearing insecure – and in public, that line often blurs.

We all have our moments of self-doubt, but when these feelings start to seep into our public demeanor, it can send out signals of insecurity.

I’m not saying you should suppress your insecurities. Instead, it’s about understanding them and knowing how to handle them when you’re in the public eye.

Being aware of the things you’re doing that might make you look insecure is the first step. The next step? Knowing what to do instead.

Let’s dive right into it – these are the 9 things you’re doing in public that might be making you look insecure (and how to change them).

1) Avoiding eye contact

One of the most common signs people pick up on when it comes to insecurity is avoiding eye contact. It’s a universal sign of discomfort and uncertainty.

When you’re out in public, whether you’re meeting someone new or talking with a friend, maintaining steady eye contact can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived. Of course, this doesn’t mean staring intently into their eyes without blinking. That’s a whole different kind of uncomfortable!

But a healthy amount of eye contact shows confidence and engagement. It shows that you’re comfortable with the interaction and that you value what the other person is saying.

When you’re in a conversation, try to hold eye contact for a bit longer than you usually would. Not only will it make you appear more secure, it might even boost your actual confidence too.

2) Over-apologizing

Here’s something I used to do a lot – over-apologizing. It was almost like a reflex. If someone bumped into me, I’d say sorry. If I needed to ask a question, I’d start with “Sorry, but…”. Sound familiar?

The thing is, saying sorry too often can make you seem unsure of yourself. It gives the impression that you’re always in the wrong, or that you’re afraid of offending others.

Now, I’m not suggesting you stop apologizing altogether. It’s important to own up when we make mistakes. But if you’re saying sorry for things that don’t require an apology, it might be time to reassess.

Instead of starting your sentences with an apology, try saying “Excuse me”, or simply get straight to the point. You’ll come across as more confident and secure in your interactions. This small change made a big difference for me and it could do the same for you.

3) Fidgeting

Did you know, even small movements can give away your insecurity? It’s true. Fidgeting, such as tapping your foot, playing with your hair, or constantly adjusting your clothes, can project nervousness and uncertainty to those around you.

Fidgeting is often a subconscious act, meaning we do it without realizing. It’s our body’s way of dealing with stress or anxiety.

The good news? Once you’re aware of it, you can work on controlling it.

Next time you’re in a public setting, try to be mindful of your movements. Keep your hands relaxed by your side or on your lap. If you notice yourself starting to fidget, take a few deep breaths and try to calm yourself down.

Not only will this help you appear more secure, it can also help to reduce feelings of anxiety.

4) Speaking too quickly

Ever noticed how when you’re nervous, your speech tends to speed up? This is a common sign of insecurity. When we’re unsure of ourselves, we often feel the need to rush through our words as if we’re unworthy of the listener’s time.

Speaking too quickly can lead to miscommunication and it gives off an impression of nervousness. It’s as though you’re trying to get your words out as fast as possible, fearing that people might lose interest.

Instead, take a deep breath and slow down. Practice speaking at a moderate pace. Take pauses between sentences. This not only ensures your message is clear but also portrays confidence and control.

What you have to say is important and it deserves to be heard clearly.

5) Constantly checking your phone

We’ve all done it – pulling out our phones to avoid feeling awkward in public spaces. But did you know, this habit might be making you come across as insecure?

Constantly checking your phone while in the company of others can signal discomfort or lack of engagement. It’s as if you’re looking for an escape route from the present moment.

Instead, try keeping your phone in your pocket or bag, especially when you’re having a conversation with someone. Show them that you’re fully present and invested in the interaction.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, but over time, you’ll find yourself becoming more confident and comfortable in your surroundings, phone-free.

6) Downplaying your accomplishments

Many of us have a habit of playing down our achievements, often to avoid seeming boastful. But this tendency can be an indicator of insecurity to those around us.

When you’ve done something worth celebrating, it’s okay to share it with others. It’s not about bragging, but about acknowledging your efforts and the progress you’ve made.

Remember, each step you take towards your goals, no matter how small, is a victory in its own right. You have every right to feel proud and to share your joy with others.

Instead of downplaying your accomplishments, try expressing genuine joy and gratitude for them. You’ll find that people will appreciate your positivity and will likely be inspired by your achievements too.

7) Hiding behind layers

I was once told that the clothes we wear are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. For a long time, I would hide myself behind layers of clothing, thinking it would mask my insecurities.

Oversized sweaters, baggy pants – anything that would help me blend into the background. But over time, I realized that all I was doing was making myself invisible.

The way you dress can significantly impact how you’re perceived by others and how you perceive yourself. It’s not about following the latest trends, but about wearing what makes you feel good and confident.

When you’re getting ready to step out, choose an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself. You’ll be surprised at how such a simple change can boost your self-esteem and make you appear more secure in yourself.

8) Over-analyzing every interaction

Have you ever walked away from a conversation replaying every word in your head, wondering if you said the right thing? This is a common sign of insecurity.

It’s natural to reflect on our interactions, especially the significant ones. But over-analyzing every comment or gesture can lead to unnecessary stress and self-doubt.

Instead, try to be present in your interactions. Listen actively, respond genuinely, and then let it be. Not every conversation needs to be perfect, and that’s okay.

We’re all human and we all make mistakes. It’s how we learn and grow. So cut yourself some slack, and let go of the need for perfection in every interaction.

9) Not standing up for yourself

One of the most significant signs of insecurity is not standing up for yourself when you’re treated unfairly.

It’s important to know your worth and to defend it when necessary. You deserve respect and fair treatment, just like anyone else.

When you stand up for yourself, you send a clear message to others that you value yourself and will not tolerate being mistreated.

When you find yourself in a situation where you’re not being treated fairly, don’t be afraid to speak up. You’ll not only command respect from others but also feel more secure in yourself.

Final thoughts: It’s about self-awareness

The journey towards overcoming insecurity often begins with self-awareness.

Understanding our behaviors and the motivations behind them is a crucial step towards growth. You’ve probably noticed that many of these signs of insecurity are subtle, almost unconscious acts. That’s the tricky thing about insecurity – it can often hide beneath our everyday habits.

But once we shine a light on these habits, they lose their power over us. We can then begin to replace them with more confident behaviors, one small step at a time.

Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. But each effort you make towards understanding and improving yourself brings you one step closer to becoming the confident person you aspire to be.

So next time you notice one of these signs of insecurity peeking through, take it as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. After all, the only person you should strive to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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