People who overcompensate for their insecurities usually display these 10 behaviors

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Insecurities are part of what it means to be human. They don’t define us!

What does is how we handle our insecurities—do we accept them, pretend they don’t exist, or overcompensate?

And sometimes, it’s not easy to tell whether someone’s legitimately just a stellar human being or if they’re trying to compensate for their insecurities.

But there are ways to tell if you look a little closer.

Want to know if someone is overcompensating for their insecurities?

You can start by keeping an eye out for these 10 behaviors.

1) They brag about their personal successes

They feel like they’re “lacking” somewhere—perhaps they think they’re ugly or that they’re friendless—so they try to make a big deal about how successful they are instead.

For example, they might spend all day posting about how they have two sports cars and are looking forward to buying more.

Or perhaps they’d brag about how they crawled their way into greatness from nothing, and how “hard” the rich life is.

They don’t care if no one else seems interested in what they have to say. They’ll talk about it anyway!

Insecure people almost always end up doing this. 

They’ll latch on to that one thing that they’re “good” at and make it their whole personality.

It might not exactly earn them friends, but at the very least they’ll have some people looking up to them and, in their minds, that’s good enough.

2) They’re proud of being a player

They’re the kind of person who brags about their body count.

Talk to them and they’d talk about how many girls fell heads-over-feet in love with them, or how many guys they had to reject just last week.

Let’s be real now. Nobody wants to hear this information, right?

And yet somehow, it’s like they NEED to say these things…as if they’d die if people don’t know how much of a “catch” they really are.

The truth is that they’re probably bragging like this because they’re trying to bury their own insecurities.

Perhaps they feel like they’re not actually that attractive or loveable.

That’s why they try to keep validating themselves—and begging for the same from everyone else—by playing against their insecurities.

They want someone to tell them that they’re indeed a high value person.

3) They steal the limelight

They always find a way to make the conversation about them.

Someone would be talking about their latest trip to Bali and it won’t be long before they’d pop up and say “Bali is nice, yeah. But OMG I’m so excited for my trip to Iceland next month…!”

Hell, they might not always have the courtesy to stick to the same general topic. 

They might interrupt someone who’s trying to talk about a book they’ve just read with “Sorry to change the topic, but can you guys give my new film a review on Letterboxd?”

Something to keep in mind with people who are trying to overcompensate for their insecurities is that they’re putting up a performance.

And given the effort they’re putting into it, the last thing they want is to have their efforts ignored—wasted.

There are many other reasons why they NEED to be the center of attention, but that’s perhaps one of the biggest ones.

4) They “don’t make a big deal” of other people’s success

The thing with insecure people is that they will try their darndest not to acknowledge other people’s successes.

At best, they’ll just ignore other people’s achievements or say something like “oh cool” and at worst they’ll throw in a nonpliment like “It’s about time you achieved something!” 

There’s a reason why people who are struggling with insecurities act like this.

Praise, to them, is a zero-sum game. 

By acknowledging someone else’s achievements, they’re acknowledging that they’re somehow lesser than that person.

Or, at the very least, that’s how it works in their heads.

5) They wear flashy branded outfits

This is related to the first thing I listed in this article.

They want to make themselves look like they have their lives together and project a feeling of “success” about them—and what better way to look good than to sport flashy, branded outfits?

This is something that is especially common with those whose insecurities revolve around wealth.

They want to be seen as wealthy and respectable. 

If they grew up poor, they’ll lean extra hard into looking like they’ve “got it” so that people won’t ever look down on them for their past.

The irony is that people who are filthy rich often don’t show it. They look and act like the average Joe until they absolutely need to throw their wealth around.

6) They compare themselves to others

But—and this is important—only with those who they consider “lesser” than them.

They could compare themselves to those who are better, but why would they? They want to feel superior.

And while it’s often quite obvious, they can sometimes be quite subtle about it, too.

If they’re a painter, they’d ask their friends, for example “Hey. Do you think Mario’s style is the same as mine?”

They know that their friend Mario is a newbie, and they’re not. What they want is to hear some variation of “Oh no! Yours is much better!”

7) They never talk about their insecurities

They get quiet and get defensive when you open up about your insecurities.

Partly because they’re wary that it will lead to you trying to get them to open up about theirs, and partly because they think it’s a waste of time.

And of course, if you do try prodding them about their insecurities, they’ll deny it straight away.

They might even get a little aggressive and ask “So, you think I’m the kind of person who has insecurities?!”

It’s almost like they’ve convinced themselves that they’re perfect.

8) They find joy in the misery of others

An insecure person laughs the hardest when they see someone fall. 

You know why?

It’s because they feel relief.

In their heads, they’re thinking that it could have been them… but it’s not! Thank God for that.

But more than that, people who overcompensate for their insecurities also tend to be outright malicious or vengeful.

In fact, if you ever manage to make them feel insecure in any way, chances are that they’ll look forward to your downfall.

9) They try to act like a rebel

This is something I can relate to.

I used to be painfully shy when I was a kid. I never had friends and it always made me feel like I’m never good enough.

Eventually, I got so tired of trying to fit in that I swung to the other extreme—I simply didn’t give a damn. Or at least, that was the vibe I was trying to project.

I became antisocial. But that’s not because I truly don’t like people, but because I was simply scared of rejection.

I got over it but I know some people who continue to act rebellious to this day simply because they wanted to hide their insecurities.

10) They make others beg and kiss the ground they walk on

People who overcompensate for their insecurities make a big deal of their strengths.

They want to feel superior, after all.

If they’re your boss, they might show you how much power they have over you by refusing to give you what you need, or by giving you tasks that you hate.

Or perhaps they’re someone you thought was a friend. But now that they’re ultra rich,  they get their kicks when you need help. 

Instead of just helping you outright, they instead make you feel like you have to earn every single penny they give in aid.

People who overcompensate for their insecurities are often hungry for power. 

It makes them feel good with themselves, making them forget their many perceived flaws…well, at least for a while.

Final thoughts

You might think that all these signs don’t sound good, especially when all of them are put together. And you’d be right—they’re pretty horrible.

It’s easy to say “oh, I want to help my friend with their insecurities!” but the reality is that nobody can help them except themselves.

“You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” so goes the saying.

Now if they’re still at a point where they’re still tolerable, you can make it easier for them to grow as a person by being there for them. By being extra patient and supportive.

But if their presence makes YOU miserable, remember that you can always just cut them off. Unless they’re your child, their personal growth is not your obligation to bear.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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