Validation is a funny thing.
When we seek validation, it means we desperately want the external world to acknowledge what’s happening on the inside.
But if you’re in pain, do you really need someone to tell you you’re hurting? If you think you look nice, does it only ever come true once someone compliments you?
No, and no.
Nonetheless, many of us keep on longing for other people’s validation to boost our confidence in the short term. And if someone asks you these 8 questions, it means that they, too, are just seeking validation.
1) “You’re so [trait]. Do you think I’m [trait], too?”
Let’s start with the most obvious one – a straightforward question.
If someone compliments you and then immediately asks you whether the compliment applies to them too, it most likely means the compliment wasn’t genuine in the first place.
The point of a compliment is to make someone else feel good about themselves. It’s not to boost your own confidence.
What’s more, it’s quite difficult to be honest if you’ve just been complimented, which increases the chance that the other person will be complimented back.
Just imagine how absurd the following scenario is:
“You’re so beautiful. You could be a model. Do you think I’m beautiful, too?”
Well, that’s just straight-up mean.
The power of using compliments to receive validation is that conversations like this very rarely happen – more often than not, the person seeking validation does end up getting what they want.
2) “You’re so [trait]. I wish I was as [trait] as you. Is that bad?”
While this question sounds very similar, it works differently.
Instead of asking you for validation, the person in question puts themselves down and waits to see whether you lift them back up.
And oftentimes, you do.
When someone displays an insecurity or a weakness so openly, our immediate instinct is to make them feel better. It doesn’t really matter if you mean what you say – what matters is that you feel the need to help the other person increase their confidence.
“You’re so smart. I wish I was as smart as you. Is that bad?”
“But Jessica, you are smart! You’re so smart. I’m good at maths, and you’re good at the more practical stuff. That’s smart, too, just in a different way.”
“Really? I suppose you’re right.”
Jessica got what she wanted – validation – and you’re happy you were able to improve her mood.
3) “Are you proud of me?”
This one hurts a little. But it’s important to mention it.
The truth is, validation-seeking behavior is founded on insecurities and fears. People who want validation usually spend a big part of their childhood feeling unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unloved.
When they ask you if you think they’re smart, what they really mean is, “Do you think highly of me? Do you respect and love me? Do you acknowledge my significance?”
“Are you proud of me” takes it a notch higher.
It’s a strange thing to ask friends, but partners… not so much. In the past, I’ve found myself asking this a couple of times when I felt like my partner wasn’t giving me the reassurance I needed.
This is because when you’re around a romantic partner, your inner child feels safe enough to come out. Unfortunately, this might lead to placing each other in semi-parenting roles.
If your partner asks you if you’re proud of them, it’s likely because their parents didn’t give them the validation they wanted.
The best way to respond is to give them reassurance in the moment, but then have a discussion about their feelings and insecurities in more depth.
4) “I value your opinion more than anyone else’s, so…?”
This one’s pretty obvious, but it bears mentioning – if someone stresses just how much they value your opinion above anyone else’s, it means they’re likely seeking validation from you specifically.
Maybe you’re their partner, so they feel attached to you the most. Maybe you’re an expert in the field they work in. Maybe you’re an artist they look up to. Maybe you’re a friend who’s achieved things they aspire to do, too.
Whatever it is, highlighting just how important your opinion is to someone is a good way to set the stage before asking you validation-seeking questions.
5) “I think you’d agree with me, right?”
As arrogant as this question might sound – the person simply assumes you’ll agree with them from the get-go without giving you a chance to state your own opinion – it’s actually grounded in the desire for acknowledgment and validation.
It means the person values your input so much that they *want* you to agree with them.
If you don’t, they’ll have to think long and hard before possibly changing their mind completely.
6) “Am I making sense?”
At first glance, “Am I making sense” is all about checking if the person’s intentions come across in the right way. Did they use the right language to convey the meaning? Is it all logical and cohesive? Do you get the point?
When you dig deeper, though, “Am I making sense” is also about the emotional side of things.
Let’s say someone confides in you about their struggles, for example. “He did X, and it made me feel like Y, but also Z, but also K. Am I making sense?”
In that case, it’s not just about linguistics – the person in question is seeking understanding and empathy. In other words, they want their emotions to be validated by you.
7) “How do I look?”
When someone asks you, “How do I look?” and does a little twirl, they don’t want you to say, “You look nice but maybe a different color would suit you better.”
I mean, they’ve just spent a significant amount of time getting all dressed up. They are in it for the compliments. They want only one thing from you, and that is to acknowledge how great they look so that they feel even better.
So, if your partner or friend ever dresses up for an event and asks you, “How do I look?” go straight to the compliment zone.
“I love the color on you!”
“Oh wow, it suits your body shape so well!”
“The eyeliner is such a nice touch.”
I’m not saying you should lie, of course. What I’m saying is that there’s a time and place for honesty, and if someone simply asks you how they look, it might not be the right time.
If they add, “I want you to be completely honest because I’m unsure about X or Y”, feel free to gently state your true opinion.
8) “Would you still love me if I was a snail?”
Let’s end on a fun note and talk about all the ridiculous questions couples in love ask each other.
If you’re ever looking for an absurd example of validation-seeking behavior, this has got to be it.
“Would you still love me if I was a snail?”
“Would you still love me if I was just a floating head?”
“Would you still love me if I was a droplet of water?”
Of course, what the person really wants to hear is how much you love them. That’s all there is to it.
My advice is to reply, “If you were a snail, I’d turn into a snail too, so we can be snails together. That’s how much I love you.”