To be confident requires you to have a certain mindset. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities through and through.
Anything less than that, and people will see through you. They’ll see you aren’t as assured as you want others to believe.
There are also some behaviors that immediately reveal your lack of confidence, and that’s the topic of this article.
So let’s find out what they are so you can avoid doing them.
1) Using excessive fillers
No, I’m not talking about the cosmetic procedure. I’m talking about frequently using filler words like “um,” “uh,” or “like” in your speech.
This, honestly, makes you appear unsure or hesitant and even uneducated in some circles.
Undoubtedly, I notice fillers coming out of my mouth when I’m not that comfortable with the topic at hand, I’m in an unfamiliar setting, or I’m speaking in front of a group of people.
The thing is, I get self-aware in these types of situations and can’t focus on what I’m saying or supposed to be saying.
This, in turn, makes me appear unconfident or worse.
It’s an uphill battle, this is – to speak with clarity and without unnecessary pauses or distractions.
2) Overly apologizing
It can also indicate a fear of inconveniencing or upsetting others.
I did this, too, to some degree, but have since developed more confidence and don’t feel like I need to apologize to everyone for everything.
I’ve also noticed many people prefacing their opinions with apologies, such as “I could be wrong, but…”
When you share your opinion right out of the gate like that, who will take you seriously?
To confidently express your ideas, you must share your thoughts without constant disclaimers and apologies. Trust that your perspective has value, too.
Which brings us to:
3) Being too indecisive
Struggling to make even minor decisions is another red flag that suggests a lack of self-trust.
It can also make your life much harder and more complicated than it should be. For example, you struggle to select a major or courses each semester, frequently changing your mind and causing scheduling difficulties.
Or you can’t choose a fitness routine and a dietary plan to commit to, which means you aren’t taking care of your health at all.
When you’re confident, you believe in your judgment and make choices without unreasonable doubt or hesitation.
In turn, your life is easier, and others see you as this confident person who commands respect.
Poor posture, like slouching, can make you appear smaller and less assertive or confident. It’s a common mistake people make and don’t really think of.
I feel like people and schools put more emphasis on this in the past, and now, even though it’s still important, it’s kind of overlooked.
Standing or sitting up straight simply reflects self-assuredness and presence. You’re noticeably taller and look better than most people who don’t care about their posture.
5) Excessive fidgeting
You remember the fidget spinner? It put a spotlight on how many of us have nervous energy, impatience, boredom, and even anxiety.
There are many attributes we can give to people who fidget, but confidence isn’t one of them.
Continuous fidgeting, such as tapping fingers or bouncing legs, is often a nervous habit. But it can suggest anxiety and a lack of inner calm, both of which are associated with a lack of confidence.
While it can help you focus or relieve tension, it’s also very distracting to others and makes you look like you’re less composed and less confident because you’re nervous.
6) Not expressing opinions
Always agreeing with others and not sharing your own thoughts suggests you fear disagreement or rejection.
For example, in a team meeting, a lively debate is happening, but you remain silent even though you have a unique perspective to offer. Or you even have a solution for a problem the group is debating.
You think the solution is too stupid, and you stay hush. But guess what? A colleague suggests the very same solution you kept inside yourself, and they get praised by others, and even the boss commends them.
They crowd surf on your colleagues’ hands, and everyone starts singing, Hip, hip, hooray!
Okay, I got carried away here, but you see, confident people who believe in them and their abilities typically don’t have such fears. They take the initiative and engage with others proactively.
If that means they don’t have a good idea every time, that’s okay, but from time to time, they’ll be praised for having a banger of an idea.
7) Looking for constant reassurance
You know what’s annoying? When someone is constantly asking you to affirm their decisions or actions.
It clearly shows insecurity and a lack of self-trust. When you’re confident, you easily make choices independently.
But I know where insecure people are coming from. They have a fear of making mistakes or being wrong. They’re too concerned about the consequences of their actions and are desperate to avoid any missteps.
However, that’s not how you should live life. Love him or hate him, but the truth about Jeff Bezos is that he isn’t afraid of making mistakes.
He and his company had an incredible amount of failed ventures, losing billions of dollars in the process, but he takes them in stride and continues adapting and trying new things.
8) Speaking softly
Let’s stay with Jeff for a little longer. If you’ve ever seen his interviews from around 25 years ago, you’ve noticed that he doesn’t look or act as he does now.
Obviously, he’s much older now, but the younger Jeff doesn’t exude any confidence. He speaks softly and is all around timid.
Speaking in a soft or faint tone makes it difficult for others to hear or take you seriously.
Take a page from the present Jeff Bezos book and see how he now speaks confidently and clearly to share his thoughts, motivation, and advice with others more effectively.
9) Difficulty handling criticism
Let me ask you this: Do you react defensively or emotionally to criticism instead of viewing it as constructive feedback?
Are you aware that this can show low confidence in your abilities or ideas?
For example, you receive negative comments on a social media post or forum. You respond with anger or defensiveness instead of having a constructive discussion or simply ignoring the comments.
Or your partner offers suggestions for improving your relationship, and you take it personally. You become upset or even hurt instead of considering the feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
Confident people can be arrogant, but they’re also open to feedback and use it to improve.
10) Inability to handle rejection
If you can’t handle criticism, then you definitely can’t handle being rejected, too. Taking rejection personally and equating it with your self-worth is also a sign of fragile self-esteem.
Confident people recognize that rejection is a part of life and doesn’t define your overall value.
For instance, starting a new project or business means investors, banks, and other companies could reject you. If you give up at this point, your dreams will never be fulfilled.
Here’s another example I love mentioning:
J.K. Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter series, faced her fair share of rejection before achieving massive success.
Before she became a household name, J.K. faced a series of setbacks in the late 1990s. She was a single mother living on welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was struggling with depression.
When she completed her script, Rowling sent it to many agents and publishers. The initial response was discouraging, and everyone rejected her.
Despite the rejections, Rowling continued to submit her script to countless agents and publishers. She believed in her story and was determined to share it with the world.
11) Excessive self-deprecation
While self-deprecating humor can be endearing and funny, constantly making jokes or comments that put you down erode your self-esteem with time and signals that you lack confidence.
It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’ve met many people who do this, and even I’ve done it on many occasions when I wasn’t sure what I was doing.
So if you think what you’re doing is cute and funny, it’s true. But you’re also spreading an image of yourself that you shouldn’t be sharing.
As you can see, there are many behaviors and habits that show you in an unconfident and unsure light.
That’s obviously problematic for you if you want to come across as a go-getter and an overall confident person.
If there’s something I’d like you to take away from this article, it’s to be self-aware of how others see your behavior.