If someone constantly uses these 12 phrases, they’re likely insecure

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Have you ever met someone who struggled to share their opinion?

Or perhaps they constantly apologized for no reason?

People reveal a lot through the phrases they use; words are a window into what’s going on under the surface. 

And that’s what I’ll be revealing today – 12 phrases insecure people use. 

By knowing what to look out for, you can effectively put them at ease and respond kindly…so let’s jump in: 

1) “I’m sorry” (when it’s not necessary)

I had a friend who would constantly apologize for no reason…even when we’d say, “Sarah, stop apologizing”….She’d apologize for apologizing! 

Looking back now, I can see she was incredibly insecure – apologizing was her way of avoiding any form of conflict, even during “normal” conversations where it wasn’t needed.

This phrase also shows an eagerness to please – by saying “sorry” so often, it preempts any tension or bad feelings that may (or may not) arise. 

2) “Do you think I did okay?”

Most of us have probably used this phrase in our lifetime – after a big performance, giving a speech, or anything else that gets our nerves going.

But if someone constantly asks this, it’s a sign that they’re seeking external validation and reassurance. 

Due to their own self-doubt, insecure people may feel they need to ask this regularly, as they’re unsure if they’re meeting the standards of those around them. 

3) “I don’t know”

Ever asked someone something super simple, like what their favorite chocolate is or which football team they prefer, only to be met with an, “I dunno”? 

Usually, insecure people will avoid giving their opinions openly and boldly. They fear backlash or judgment, even on seemingly small, insignificant things. 

Saying, “I don’t know” is an easy way out of having to feel worried about backlash against their opinion – it’s the safe zone. 

4) “It’s probably stupid, but…”

Before they’ve even got out their question or statement, an insecure person will likely prefix it with something like this phrase. 

This shows that they devalue their opinion even before sharing it – ironically, most of the time it won’t be something stupid, but something everyone else was thinking too! 

When someone displays this level of self-doubt and fear of judgment, it never hurts to reassure them…I often say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”

Not to mention, if you have someone part of your friendship group who seems insecure, take this opportunity to make them feel included. Ask their opinions, and reassure them that their feelings are valid! 

5) “I’m not sure, but…”

Even if they are sure, even if it’s their own career field, an insecure person might start giving an opinion by stating they’re unsure….

This is similar to the point above, it shows a fear of being assertive and receiving some form of judgment or criticism as a result. 

Ultimately, it’s quite sad to think that someone who may be an expert in their field or have a ton of knowledge is hesitant to share their wisdom, purely out of fear and lack of self-esteem. 

6) “I can’t”

If someone uses the phrase, “I can’t” often, it could be a sign they’re insecure. 

The truth is, these two little words hold a lot of power – when someone drives it into themselves that they aren’t capable, it can turn into a vicious cycle of self-doubt

One thing I like to remind people who say this frequently is, “You can’t….yet.” This is just a little reminder that with baby steps, we can all achieve what we want! 

But however you handle the situation, please don’t berate or knock their confidence even further. I remember hearing a child say they couldn’t do something, and their father’s reaction was to mock them and say, “Well, with that attitude it’s no wonder you can’t.”

It was pretty heartbreaking to watch. 

7) “It’s all my fault”

When a secure, confident person faces a troubling issue, they’re able to look objectively and see who is to blame and who isn’t. 

But an insecure person will likely blame themselves, every time. Even if they aren’t at fault for the argument, missed deadline, or whatever else the issue is. 

They take on more responsibility than is needed, often due to their poor self-image

Sometimes, it helps to ground them by running through the facts and reassuring them that they’re not always responsible when things go wrong. 

8) “I guess…”

When you don’t want to commit to something, you might say, “I guess…”. 

And the same goes for people who are insecure, except they’ll likely say this quite often. Again, this goes back to having a lack of confidence in their opinions and decisions. 

But it’s also a way of avoiding making a firm commitment to any one idea – this way no one can criticize or judge them, just as when they say phrases like, “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure.” 

9) “You’re probably too busy for this…”

When someone is insecure, they may feel like they’re a burden on others. 

So asking for a favor can seem like a bigger deal than it actually is. If someone approaches you and says, “You’re probably too busy for this, but could you give me a lift to work tomorrow?”, know that they may be insecure. 

Whether it’s because they don’t want to be seen as needy, or because they don’t want to put others out, it helps to reassure them that asking for a favor is welcome and not an issue (if you’re happy to help, that is). 

10) “You probably won’t like this, but…”

Usually, when someone starts a sentence like this, I imagine it’s because they’re trying to pre-warn me or preempt that I’ll disagree with their opinion. 

And usually, it’s those who are more insecure that will use this phrase often. 

As I’ve mentioned before, this could stem from not having confidence in their opinions

11) “I wish I was more like you/ them”

When someone repeatedly makes comparisons between themselves and others, it’s a clear indication of low self-esteem and insecurity. 

This comes from having a negative self-view and perception, but also from feeling inadequate when faced with people who seem to be successful or happy. 

In fact, a family friend recently said this to me, and I was quite taken aback. I made a point to mention that no one has it perfect, even if life looks good on the outside, we’re all battling our own demons on the inside! 

I hope it reassured her and reminded her that making comparisons isn’t healthy.  

12) “Maybe it’s just me”

And finally, if someone feels like they are alone in their thoughts or decisions, it’s another sign they might be insecure. 

This could also indicate that they feel out of sync with others…I know I’ve used this line when in a group of people who have wildly different attitudes or views from me. 

But the key is if someone uses this regularly.

Ultimately, knowing about these phrases and what they really signify can help you treat people who are insecure with kindness and compassion

Remember – no one chooses to be insecure, and with just a little reassurance from time to time, you could help them slowly build their self-esteem. 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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