9 behaviors that give people the impression you’re really insecure

We all have moments where we doubt ourselves or feel a little out of our depth. It’s human!

But sometimes, our actions, born out of these insecurities, speak louder than we intend. 

Recognizing the little things you do that might unwittingly signal insecurity can help you change the impression people get when interacting with you. 

The best part?

Understanding these behaviors empowers you to make small changes that flip the switch. 

Ready to get into it?

People might get the impression you’re really insecure if you’re…

1) Always looking for approval.

One of the most obvious signs of insecurity is a constant need for approval from others. 

If you’re always asking for opinions about your decisions, no matter how minor they may be, people probably think you’re a little insecure.

Let’s say you’re out buying clothes and trying on different outfits. Instead of choosing what you like and trusting your own taste, you ask several friends what they think.

Don’t get me wrong. If this happens once in a while, it’s totally okay. 

But if you’re constantly unable to make a decision unless someone else approves, you might fear making mistakes or believe that your own judgment isn’t enough. 

Building self-trust takes time. But your opinion is valuable, and you’re capable of making good decisions.

Start recognizing your successes, no matter how small, and praise yourself when your decisions turn out well.

Taking credit if your idea or choice is recognized as great is also important. This is why many people might think you’re insecure if you’re…

2) Always being excessively modest or undervaluing yourself. 

No one likes people with big egos, but constantly downplaying your achievements or brushing off compliments isn’t good either.

It shows a lack of self-esteem and can even make people think you’re a bit fake-nice. 

You know that person who always says, “Oh, it’s nothing,” or, “Anyone could have done it” when they pulled off a project successfully? 

It’s a little off-putting. Like, don’t be so modest! You deserve the praise. 

And if someone habitually does this, they can seem insecure. My first thought is that they either don’t believe they’re capable of being so fantastic or that they’re scared people might think they’re arrogant.

If this is you, start accepting compliments. You don’t have to be cocky. Respond with a simple ‘thank you’ and resist the urge to deflect.

Allow yourself to be proud – there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging your strengths.

3) Over-apologizing. 

We all slip up and make mistakes—it’s a part of being human. But if you’re insecure, you’ll tend to apologize for every little thing, even when it’s not your fault. 

Over-apologizing reflects a fear of upsetting others or being perceived as inadequate.

Insecure people also say sorry for things that don’t warrant an apology, which is usually a dead giveaway that they’re insecure. 

Do you apologize for being a few minutes late to a casual meet-up?

Or say sorry when you have a different opinion in a conversation?

If you said yes, people on the receiving end likely think you’re insecure.  

Apologizing is important. But it’s equally important to know when it’s necessary. 

If it’s not, hold back. 

Having trouble with this? Practice asserting yourself in small, non-confrontational ways. 

This will help build confidence and reduce the impulse to apologize unnecessarily. 

4) Comparing yourself to others. 

Insecurity often leads to constant comparison with others, whether in terms of success, appearance, or lifestyle.

Like external validation, this behavior also shows people you lack confidence in your worth. 

It’s normal to scroll through social media and envy someone else’s life, feeling like you don’t measure up.

I think we can all admit that we’ve done it.

But if you’re constantly comparing or downplaying your progress because you’re not where other people are yet, you’ll come across as insecure and probably are. 

My advice is to focus on your own journey and goals

Remember that people often only let us see what they want us to see. You’ll never have the complete picture from an outsider’s perspective. 

Celebrate your wins!

5) Avoiding eye contact.

Avoiding eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean someone is insecure. Some people just feel uncomfortable in social settings.

But if paired with some other conversational behaviors, it can be a clear sign.

If you’re avoiding eye contact, people could think you lack confidence or generally feel uneasy with attention. 

And while it’s normal to break eye contact occasionally, you shouldn’t look away multiple times or focus on something else while someone is talking to you. 

They’ll either think you’re disinterested or insecure. 

I know it can feel awkward. I struggled with this a lot. 

So, if you do, too, practice maintaining eye contact for short periods during conversations. 

Gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. 

Remember, it’s all about balance – too little eye contact can seem evasive, but too much can be intimidating. 

Want to know what else makes you seem insecure in conversations? 

Well, people might get the impression that you’re really insecure if they notice you’re…

6) Keeping quiet when you have an opinion. 

Insecurity stretches beyond how you feel about your looks or accomplishments. 

Sometimes, it manifests as a reluctance to even share thoughts or ideas, especially in group settings.

This behavior usually stems from a fear of criticism, rejection, or belief that ideas aren’t good enough, interesting enough, or valuable. 

Has anyone in your family ever asked you to help plan a birthday? And then you just go with the flow instead of contributing ideas?

Or maybe you’re the silent team member at work, even though you have a bunch of ideas just waiting to be mentioned…

When people pick up on this, they might see your hesitance to share ideas as insecurity. 

So, challenge yourself to voice your thoughts. Start in one-on-one conversations before doing it in small group settings. 

The more practice you get, the more confidence you’ll gain. 

But find balance. 

Because people could also think you’re insecure when you’re…

7) Overcompensating in conversations. 

An attempt to control the narrative and avoid any focus on possible vulnerabilities can make you seem insecure. 

If you’re always dominating conversations or talking extensively about your successes or experiences, people could think you’re trying to shield insecurities. 

Pay attention to whether you do this the next time you’re in a social setting. It’s usually something that’s done unintentionally.

And if you realize you are, practice active listening

It’s important to keep a balance and focus on what others are saying. This shows you’re genuinely interested in their thoughts and stories.

Conversations that aren’t dominated by one person are more enjoyable for everyone involved, anyway. 

Besides conversations, people could also get the impression you’re insecure when you have…

8) An obsession with being in control of situations. 

Control is typically driven by the belief that things will only be done right if you handle them yourself. 

But this isn’t the only driving force…

When someone is insecure, the fear of unpredictability drives their excessive need for control. 

Unplanned circumstances can put you in a vulnerable position. And if you’re insecure, this is the last place you’d want to be. 

Vulnerability opens you up for criticism, I get that. 

But it can also be beautiful.

If you don’t want people to think you’re an insecure control freak, you need to learn to trust. 

Things won’t always go your way, but trusting that whatever happens is meant to happen can help you let go of the idea that looking stupid or weak is a bad thing. 

Similarly, people will probably also perceive you as insecure if you always have a…

9) Reluctance to try new things. 

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is…uncomfortable. But it’s also a really good thing!

You miss out on so many opportunities for growth when you don’t.

Not that people care…no. 

They probably just think you’re backing out because you’re afraid of being a little embarrassed if you make a fool of yourself.

That can happen, sure. 

And let’s say you do – look silly, that is. People who really like you will laugh with you and move on. 

The ones who don’t? Well, they’ll make themselves known, and then you’ll be better off without them. 

Trying new things has way more benefits than not. If you’re always reluctant, encourage yourself to change this. 

Start with small, private things, like eating something you haven’t before. Focus on the learning process when you’re in group settings that challenge you more. 

You should never do things you feel absolutely uncomfortable doing but being more open to new experiences can help you discover different things you enjoy.

And while there’s no guarantee that people will stop perceiving you as insecure when you try new things, reflecting on how your behaviors shape your image is important. 

You’ll never be everyone’s taste, but you have the power to change how most people see you. If you don’t want to give people the impression that you’re insecure, working on your confidence is critical.

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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