If a man displays these 10 traits, he probably lacks self-esteem

So there’s this guy you know—possibly a friend, possibly a partner—who has you thinking that maybe he has trouble with his sense of self-worth.

Well, maybe you’re on to something.

In this article, I will talk about 10 traits that are most likely a sign that a man has low self-esteem.

1) He’s obsessed with “manliness”

He doesn’t want to be seen as an emotional person, so he tries to project the general vibe of a composed, stoic man.

And when he does show emotion, like sadness or embarrassment, he tries to cover it up by acting all loud and angry. Never mind that anger itself is an emotion—he doesn’t see it as one.

He might even go as far as to say things like “Why would I use sunblock and lip balm? That’s girly—I’m a man!”

It’s ridiculous, but a man with poor self-esteem will be very sensitive about being perceived as “less manly” than he should be.

2) He’s never satisfied

A self-assured man will have their work validated and hold on to that validation for a very long time—years, even.

And then there are the rare ones who don’t even need validation at all.

On the other hand, a man who’s got poor self-esteem will never be satisfied with just an occasional praise or two.

He’ll be working himself to the bone trying to impress people around him. He thinks that maybe by then, he’d be successful and get compliment after compliment thrown his way.

Of course, even if that happens, it’s still never enough. 

He has a thirst that can’t be quenched.

The reason for that is because he simply doesn’t believe in himself. And because of this, any praise he gets will just enter one ear and fly out of the other.

3) He’s overly possessive

He’s incredibly defensive and possessive over anything and everything he can ever call his own— from relationship partners to his friends, to even his cat.

Deep down inside, he believes he isn’t actually worth anything, and that people surely don’t actually love him for who he is.

Because of this, he can’t fathom that his friends genuinely like him, much less his romantic partner. 

He doesn’t believe that they will stay by his side because he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of any kind of loyalty and genuine love.

4) He likes to show off

One might think that someone who likes showing off is that way because they’re proud of what they’re capable of and are confident in their ability to impress.

But the truth is that, people who are genuinely confident don’t actually bother, and might actually find it exhausting to have to “perform” for others.

A man who has poor self-esteem, on the other hand, is motivated to prove himself to others and, to that end, will brag and show off whenever possible.

If he knows he’s good at cooking, for example, then he’ll bring some of his “signature” dishes to his office to impress his colleagues.

It’s not even enough that he forces them to try what he made, he’d even jokingly say to the girls, “Well, it’s always nice to be with a man who’s not afraid of the kitchen.”

5) He doesn’t take criticism well

Tell a man with poor self-esteem that his salad could use some improvement, or that his painting lacks structure, and he’ll take it as a personal insult.

He’ll sulk, act passive-aggressive, and maybe even straight up say “Screw this, I quit!” or “You never know how to appreciate people’s efforts” if you dare criticize him.

It doesn’t matter how gently you try to give that criticism, how noble your intentions are, or even whether he asked for it or not. Simply being criticized by itself is enough to set him off.

He already hates himself plenty, so he takes any criticism he gets as validation for all that self-hate.

6) He doesn’t take good care of himself

Is he well-kept and clean, or does he smell and look like he has been swimming in a swamp? 

Is his apartment neat, or is it a literal unsalvageable dumpsite?

Poor self-esteem generally causes people to neglect their own health, as well as how neat they keep their surroundings.

It’s easy enough to understand why. After all, if you don’t think you’re worth anything at all, then why waste time and energy trying to take care of yourself?

7) He always keeps comparing himself to others

Pay close attention to how often he talks about others.

If a man simply can’t stop comparing himself with other people, he’s most likely a bit short on self-esteem.

He might get a raise and then complain that one of his colleagues got a bigger raise.

Or perhaps he might grumble about how he’s still driving around a rusty old Lada while his neighbors are driving brand new Porsches and Aston Martins.

This mindset is harmful, of course, and he might even be aware of it and had promised to stop.

But so long as he’s suffering from poor self-esteem, he simply can’t resist it. He keeps comparing himself to others because he simply doesn’t value himself for who he is.

A man with poor self-esteem can’t be proud of himself unless he’s the best.

8) He keeps talking down on others

The same compulsion that drives a man with horrible self-esteem to compare himself with others also drives him to be unkind to those who he sees as “lesser.”

He might randomly talk about how his ex-girlfriend settled for a “lazy loser” simply because he heard that the guy’s struggling financially. 

Or he might say that his neighbor looks like they’ve got plastic surgery done on them, and that they play the guitar so badly that they should just give up.

A guy who’s struggling from poor self-esteem will take every opportunity to make himself feel better. 

So when he finds himself in a situation where he’s “better” than someone else, he goes to town dragging that person down.

He won’t be aware that he’s doing this because he’s focused on how good it feels.

9) He sees other men as competition

A man who’s a tad short on confidence will see himself as being stuck in an unspoken competition with every other man on the planet.

It doesn’t matter if it’s about love, promotions, scores in the local golf club, or being the funniest person in the party.

But what’s ironic is that, it’s not like he sees himself as a winner either. 

His poor self-confidence has him telling himself he’s stuck in a competition where he’s never going to win.

This is reinforced by the idea that he ends up “losing” quite often anyways and, ironically, his own poor self-esteem is responsible for it.

Women prefer dating confident men, and people who are confident in their work end up delivering better results.

10) He’s incredibly uptight

A man who has poor self-esteem will project his inner hate and dissatisfaction to the world around him.

If he’s insecure about the way he speaks English, for example, then he’ll be the first person to correct someone who’s speaking “improperly” or using “bad grammar” unprompted.

He criticizes himself plenty for not being “good enough,” so he simply can’t conceive the idea that people around him can have these “flaws” that he hates in himself… and yet still be happy with themselves.

Last words

How a man with poor self-esteem treats the world around him is a look into the turmoil going on inside of him. 

His insecurities and self-hate will be evident in the resentment and jealousy he has for others.

Kindness and validation might help keep a man with poor self-esteem from spiraling even faster, but don’t think that it’s enough to save him. If he’s your partner, don’t think that you alone can get him out either.

He has to step up and try to save himself, probably by talking to a therapist and doing some self-reflection to convince himself that he’s indeed enough.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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