I know what it’s like not having self-confidence. I’ve been there and know how tough climbing back up from that deep valley is.
Having someone that can help you in this situation is paramount. But to help someone, you first have to identify the problem.
So to recognize when a man lacks self-confidence, here are the signs and behaviors to look out for.
1) Avoiding eye contact
Let’s start with one of the most apparent behaviors. People who lack self-confidence often struggle to maintain eye contact.
It’s because they feel uncomfortable or anxious in social interactions. They worry that others will judge them or find faults with them.
2) Frequent self-doubt
Constantly questioning your abilities and decisions is an indication of self-doubt. This behavior arises from a lack of trust in oneself and a fear of making mistakes.
People in that headspace can’t grasp that everyone makes mistakes and that making them shouldn’t make them feel bad or ashamed.
It also doesn’t help that they keep dwelling on past errors and things that went wrong.
3) Difficulty accepting compliments
When someone lacks self-confidence, they also might not believe in positive feedback about themselves.
They have a negative self-perception or a feeling that they don’t deserve praise. Of course, that couldn’t be further away from the truth.
Most of us do things on a daily or weekly basis that others are thankful for and deserve praise.
But in their book, simply accepting a compliment is uncomfortable.
4) Constant apologizing
I’ve seen people over-apologize. It easily becomes a bad habit that probably started out of an attempt to avoid conflict or disapproval.
Men lacking self-confidence feel responsible for any negative outcome, even if it’s not their fault.
It’s an increasingly bad behavior that’s difficult to shake off unless you’re aware of the issue and its harmful effects on your psyche.
5) Comparing themselves to others
Social media has basically ruined generations of kids that hang out on social media all the time and see others that are more beautiful, successful, and with much more money than them.
A lack of self-confidence leads to constant comparison with others as a way to measure one’s worth.
After seeing images or videos of rich men flaunting their cars, mansions, and trophy wives, they naturally feel inadequate and seek validation (on social media).
6) Relying on others for validation
Speaking of validation and approval, men who constantly look for it in others also lack self-assurance.
They simply don’t trust their own judgment and need reassurance from others to feel validated.
That’s one of the reasons for all these exaggerated social media posts where men of little confidence flaunt their muscles, cars, and girls.
7) Avoiding social interactions
On the other spectrum are men without self-confidence who avoid social situations to protect themselves from potential judgment or criticism.
They also fear rejection or embarrassment in social settings.
I remember the days when I first started going out.
It was an incredibly stressful period filled with alcohol to cope. It’s the same for most young men. The problem is too many stay in this mindset and never evolve.
Conversely, there are also many that never even started going out and stay too timid and socially excluded.
8) Fear of failure
When a person has low self-confidence, they typically avoid new challenges or opportunities because they fear they won’t succeed. The possibility of failure is deeply unsettling for them.
They also avoid new experiences due to a fear of embarrassment. It’s a huge deterrent for many as they don’t want to be mocked and always feel like everyone is watching them and every step they make.
That, of course, isn’t true, but it’s a strong feeling that just won’t go away.
9) Negative self-talk
Negative self-talk is a continuous stream of self-criticism and self-blame. This behavior reflects a lack of self-compassion and self-acceptance.
When your mind is always blaming you for every little mistake you make, it’s not easy to live like that.
One of the best solutions is to counter the negative thoughts with positive ones and ones that reaffirm your behavior.
They need to think of all the things they do well and of successful things they’ve accomplished in the past.
That’s easier said than done, yet it helps to get over it.
10) Excessive self-deprecating humor
While humor is a good coping mechanism, consistently putting yourself down through jokes suggests underlying self-esteem issues.
Everyone loves talking to someone with a great sense of humor, as they’re typically fun to be around. They’re witty and make for a playful atmosphere.
But if a man is too self-deprecating, and it’s part of a pattern, he probably has self-confidence issues.
11) Inability to speak up
On the other side are men that are hesitant to express their opinions or ideas, fearing they’ll be judged or dismissed. This harmful behavior stems from a fear of not being taken seriously.
Maybe they previously experienced something similar when they were ridiculed when speaking up, or they just have a mental block that paralyzes them for whatever reason.
Some men are also simply shy and don’t like being in the spotlight.
The irony is that only doing the opposite, i.e., speaking up and voicing their opinions, will help them overcome this issue.
They have to face their fears, just like the rest of us.
12) Difficulty making decisions
Many men who lack self-confidence also find it difficult to make decisions due to the fear of making the wrong choice.
They will second-guess themselves and look for external validation before deciding. Even for minor things with no significant consequences.
On the flip side, looking at things from different perspectives is important, especially if they’re critical to financials, health, family, etc.
I don’t know if you have ever watched the TV show “The Good Place,” but one of the characters ended up in hell because he was incredibly indecisive in everyday situations.
Punishment fitting the crime?
13) Having no initiative
Speaking of indecisiveness, taking on leadership roles or responsibilities requires confidence in your abilities. A lack of self-confidence often leads to a reluctance to step up and take charge.
That means a lower salary and social status.
When a man is too passive and lets others make decisions for him, it results in a lack of belief in his own judgment. And vice versa.
It’s a way to avoid responsibility and the potential for making mistakes.
Some people just don’t like making tough decisions. They’d rather live a minimalist life filled with no frills and excitement.
I’m not judging if that’s right or wrong. Everyone is on their own journey, but we do have only one life on this planet.
14) Defensive behavior
And we’ve come to the last sign of a lack of self-confidence. It’s one of the behaviors I also struggled with for some time.
No one likes negative feedback and criticism, and reacting defensively to criticism is a way to protect yourself from negative judgments.
Although it’s good for us as we can learn and grow from it, it can also be terrible for our self-esteem.
It’s even worse when the criticism isn’t sincere and comes from someone that just wants to hurt our feelings, and we aren’t aware of it.
These are some of the behaviors men that lack self-confidence display. No one will be doing all of these, but even a couple of them are enough to decide whether the man lacks self-confidence or not.
Now, if you want to help them (or yourself), get some pointers on 12 powerful habits that make you a confident person. It’s a great read.