7 behaviors that give people the impression you’re not very confident (according to psychology)

Confidence can be a tricky thing. Sometimes, you might feel like you’re radiating self-assurance only to realize others perceive you quite differently.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but psychology tells us there are certain behaviors that might be giving people the impression you’re not quite as confident as you think.

These behaviors can subtly undermine your image, especially in the eyes of those around you.

But fret not, as identifying these behaviors can be your first step towards changing that perception.

In this article, we’re going to look at 7 behaviors that unintentionally broadcast a lack of confidence. 

1) Over-apologizing

We’ve all met people who tend to say “sorry” a lot. It’s as if they’re constantly on the backfoot, apologizing for their very existence.

But psychology tells us this can be a clear signal of low self-confidence.

Let me explain…

Apologizing when it’s due is a sign of emotional intelligence and empathy.

But when “sorry” becomes your default response, it can give people the impression that you lack confidence, that you’re overly concerned with pleasing others or avoiding conflict.

The simple act of over-apologizing can feed into a vicious cycle of reduced self-esteem and increased anxiety.

It’s a behavior that subtly signals to others that you view yourself as lesser, even when that’s far from the truth.

Recognizing this pattern is the first step towards breaking it.

So next time you find yourself about to apologize for something trivial, take a moment to consider whether it’s really necessary. You might be surprised at how often it isn’t.

2) Avoiding eye contact

I remember the first time I had to give a presentation at work.

My boss and colleagues were all sitting there, waiting for me to start. I was so nervous that I found myself staring at my slides, my notes, anywhere but at the people in front of me.

It wasn’t until later, when a trusted colleague gently pointed it out, that I realized what a big mistake I was making: avoiding eye contact.

Psychology tells us that reliable eye contact is a powerful way to project confidence. It shows that you’re engaged, present, and unafraid to connect with others.

Conversely, avoiding eye contact can send the opposite message.

By consistently looking away or down, you could unintentionally be giving off vibes of discomfort, insecurity or even dishonesty. And these are certainly not the impressions we want to leave!

So the next time you find yourself in a conversation or presentation, remember to look up and meet other people’s gaze.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, but with time and practice, it can do wonders for your perceived confidence.

3) Fidgeting

Did you know that the human attention span is drastically shrinking?

Considering our minds are constantly racing, it’s no surprise that we often resort to fidgeting. This could be anything from tapping your foot, playing with your hair, or even continuously clicking that pen in your hand.

While it might seem like an innocent habit, psychology tells us that excessive fidgeting can give others the impression of nervousness, social anxiety, or low self-esteem.

It can signal restlessness, impatience or a lack of focus – all of which don’t exactly scream ‘confidence’.

So next time you’re in a meeting or having a conversation, try to keep your fidgeting in check. Show that you’re present and composed, even when the situation might be making you feel otherwise.

4) Failing to assert your boundaries

Have you ever said yes to something you didn’t want to do, simply because you didn’t want to let someone down?

We’ve all been there.

It’s a common behavior in those of us who aim to please, but it can seriously undermine our perceived confidence.

When we fail to assert our boundaries, we give others the impression that our own needs and preferences are secondary. This can be interpreted as a lack of self-respect and can lead people to question our confidence.

Asserting your boundaries doesn’t mean being confrontational or selfish. It means acknowledging your own worth and ensuring that others respect it too.

So next time you’re asked to do something you’re uncomfortable with or simply don’t have time for, remember it’s okay to say no. Upholding your boundaries is a clear sign of self-confidence.

5) Speaking too quickly

When I first started my career, I had this overwhelming urge to prove myself. I wanted to show that I was knowledgeable and capable.

But in my eagerness, I found myself racing through conversations and presentations, barely taking a breath between sentences.

It wasn’t until a mentor of mine pointed it out that I realized how this behavior might be perceived.

Speaking too quickly can give the impression of nervousness, anxiety, or lack of confidence. It can make your listener feel rushed and make it hard for them to absorb what you’re saying.

Slowing down your speech and taking deliberate pauses shows that you are comfortable with the space you occupy in a conversation. It signifies confidence in your words and ideas.

So whether it’s during a meeting, a presentation, or even a casual conversation, remember to take your time. Your words are worth hearing, so give them the space they deserve.

6) Negative self-talk

We often think our internal dialogue is private, but the truth is, it has a way of seeping out into our interactions with others. This is especially true when it comes to negative self-talk.

If you’re constantly criticizing yourself, putting yourself down, or doubting your abilities, it won’t be long before other people start to notice.

It might come across in the way you respond to compliments, the way you react to criticism, or even just in your general demeanor.

Negative self-talk not only damages your own self-esteem but can also give others the impression that you lack confidence.

So try to be mindful of how you talk to yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you’d extend to a friend.

You’ll be surprised at how much this can change both your own self-perception and how others perceive you.

7) Avoiding challenges

The biggest indicator of low confidence, according to psychology, is avoiding challenges.

When we shy away from tasks that push us out of our comfort zone, we’re sending a clear message to others: we don’t believe in our own abilities.

Stepping up to face challenges head-on, even when they’re daunting, is a powerful display of confidence. It shows that you’re not afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them.

So remember, every challenge is an opportunity for growth.

Embrace them, face them, and let them shape you into a stronger and more confident version of yourself.

A final thought: Confidence is a journey

In the end, confidence isn’t a trait we’re simply born with – it’s a journey.

It’s about continually learning and growing, making mistakes and learning from them. It’s about embracing challenges, taking risks, and finding strength in vulnerability.

So as you navigate through your own journey towards self-confidence, be kind to yourself. Recognize these behaviors as stepping stones on your path to growth rather than barriers holding you back.

Most importantly, remember that confidence comes from accepting yourself just as you are. So embrace your flaws, celebrate your uniqueness and remind yourself every day that you are enough, just as you are.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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