Let’s face it—we all want approval to some degree. But then there are those who’d do anything and everything just to get it.
As a result, they’re not able to live an authentic life because they desperately want people to like them.
Curious if someone you know is desperate for approval?
Pay attention to these behaviors.
1) They give praise excessively
They don’t just say “Oh wow, lurv dress!”, they’d gush and say “OMG, you look like a model in this dress. Did you ever consider having a modeling career?!”
They desperately want to win the hearts of people.
And because they know that giving praise always works, they’d shower everyone with praise… except they’re clearly overdoing it and it gives off major creepy vibes.
2) They transform into a different person when people are around
We all act differently when we’re alone VS when we’re with others.
For authentic people, the difference would be negligible.
But for people who are desperate for approval, the difference is night and day. If they love being laid-back and quiet when they’re alone, they transform into a classy, chatty person when they’re with others.
It’s as if they are shapeshifters, just so others could like them.
3) They take every opportunity to show off their talents
They act shy and awkward, but just a little push and they act like they are in a singing competition showing off without giving others a turn, even when it’s just karaoke.
And if they’re the type who’s full of confidence, they’d make sure that when they’re talking with people they want to impress, they insert the things they’re good at.
Person they want to impress: “How are you?”
Person desperate for approval: “Oh, tired. I just came from my violin class.”
Person they want to impress: “Oh you play violin?”
Person desperate for approval: “Hmm, yes. Here’s a video of me playing a Paganini. What do you think?”
A person who’s desperate for approval is quite easy to spot—they’re trying waaay hard to sell themself to other people.
4) They adjust their point-of-view to match that of the person they want approval from
If they’re desperate for the approval of their friend or boss, they won’t say anything to contradict their views.
For example, they really believe that everyone should be vaccinated.
But if the person they want to impress is a hardcore anti-vaxxer, not only will they stay quiet, they might also nod and say “Yeah, actually…”
5) They are over-the-top with their gifts
If they desperately need approval from their mother-in-law, they’d not only bring wine during their visit. They’d bring flowers, a casserole, and even a personalized card with a sentimental message.
They’re so excessively sweet that the gifts they give leave a bad taste to the recipient.
It screams “Here’s an offering. Will you please, please, please like me?”
6) They start hobbies just so people would think they’re interesting
People who are desperate for approval will take up hobbies they aren’t even interested in to get the approval of people they like, rather than to actually have fun.
If they think their girlfriend is into sports, they’d think “What sport should I try so my GF would think I’m awesome?”
And if they’re single, they’ll do as many hobbies as they can so they can improve their Bumble profile and impress their dates.
They desperately want people to think they’re cool, to the point that the hobbies they do aren’t based on what they love, but on what others in their circle are doing.
7) They try hard to be fun
They think that in order for people to really like them, they have to be fun to be around.
That way, they’ll become an instant favorite.
So they’d think of gimmicks to perform during parties, they’d prepare jokes, they’d accept the 10th glass of beer even if they’re too wasted just to prove how fun they can be.
People who are desperate for approval just can’t relax. They’re always “On” and it’s quite exhausting to be around them 24/7.
8) They try hard to be “useful”
People who are desperate for approval want to feel accepted, and that’s because most of them actually have low self-worth.
You see, people with low self-worth think they are an inconvenience to others and that they have to do something significant to compensate for their very existence.
So if they’re visiting a home, not only will they offer to clear the table, they might also wash the dishes and mop the floor.
They feel so small that they just want to hear others say “Hey, it’s okay. We’re happy you’re here.”
9) They say yes…to everything!
Can you help me finish my report? Yes.
Can I stay at your apartment for one month? Yes.
Is it okay if I borrow $1,000? Yes.
You rarely ever hear them say “No” or set clear boundaries because they actually like the feeling of giving favors.
It makes them think that by doing these things, they’ll win other people’s approval and friendship. And ultimately, they’ll become indispensable.
10) They struggle to form their own opinions
When discussing important topics with friends and colleagues they want to impress, they stutter and “play safe” when it’s their time to share their opinions.
People who are desperate for approval don’t want to turn off anyone. And more importantly, they don’t want to offend anyone.
They want to stay neutral as much as possible because they’re so desperate for people to say “I really like you. You’re so nice—unlike annoying Marga who’s always opinionated about everything!”
11) They wear flashy outfits so people will notice
So, as I’ve said, they usually don’t engage in hobbies to have fun, they just do it to impress others.
Same goes with what they wear.
Even if they just want to wear pants and a casual shirt, they’d wear a mini skirt and high heels so people will notice them.
While there’s nothing wrong with dressing up to impress, if one is miserable in what they’re wearing and they’re just doing it for approval, it’s just not right.
12) They laugh at jokes just to please the person who’s telling it
Even if they find the joke really corny or offensive, they’d just laugh. They might even laugh so hard it starts to sound fake.
They might not even understand the joke at all but they’ll laugh anyway.
Well, first, it’s because they desperately want people to think they’re smart and fun, too. Second, they want to get the approval of the one who’s telling a joke.
They’re hoping that by “supporting” them, they’d build a connection…and that they’ll eventually like them.
13) They apologize fast
A person who’s desperate for approval would do anything to not get any kind of disapproval. The last thing they want are enemies, after all.
So they apologize fast if they notice they might have annoyed someone…even if the other person is actually the one who’s being an assh*le.
They just want to keep the peace so they won’t be disliked. Because who knows, that person could spread gossip about them and no one will like them anymore!
14) They force connections
When someone says “Oh, I hate olives’ ‘, they’d say “OMG, same. I hate them with all my heart!” even though it’s a lie—they only hate olives a bit.
People who are desperate for approval want to have the same likes and dislikes as the people they’re trying to impress.
You can bet that if the person who said he hates olives would say “I was kidding. I LOVE olives.”, they’d laugh nervously and say “Yeah, I was kidding. I hate it but not that much.”
15) They get high when they hear praise
All they really want is to feel accepted…and so when they hear praise, it’s like music to their ears. It’s as if they won the lottery!
It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple and indirect as “I love your bag,” they’d take the praise to heart.
And if they hear a more genuine praise, you can be sure they’d keep it forever.
So when someone says “I noticed that you really have good taste in bags. I consider you classy.”, they’ll feel like all their efforts to impress finally have meaning…and they’d be in cloud number 9 for days on end.
They might even share the praise they heard to others to get more approval.
If someone you know exhibits almost all of these behaviors, then it’s clear as day—they’re desperate for approval.
But while it’s easy to look down on them, remember that this trait comes from deep-seated insecurities from childhood. Deep down, their desperate need for approval is a form of self-hate.
So instead of rolling your eyes and thinking they’re pathetic for being desperate, have a little empathy and give them genuine affirmations, especially when you notice glimmers of their authentic self.
With some gentle encouragement, who knows? They might realize they don’t really need to impress others, after all.