“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”
— Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind
I love this iconic line. I guess it’s the classic equivalent of the more modern:
Zero f*cks given.
It can be so freeing when we unburden ourselves from the weight of everybody else’s opinion.
I confess it’s something that I’m still working on.
In today’s world, where social acceptance and validation seem to be the driving force behind so much of what we do, finding someone who genuinely doesn’t care about what others think of them can be rare.
But those who have cracked it possess a unique mindset and exhibit telltale signs that set them apart from the crowd.
Let’s explore the signs you’re dealing with someone who marches to the beat of their own drum.
1) They’d rather speak their truth than try to save face
Sometimes we worry that laying our cards on the table will lead to embarrassment.
We’re afraid to tell our crush that we like them in case they don’t feel the same way.
We don’t want to admit that our feelings were hurt so we put on a brave face and pretend it’s all fine.
But consistently swallowing your truth is an act of self-betrayal.
We are denying something in ourselves because we’re worried about what others may say.
People who don’t get caught up in that have found the courage to be vulnerable.
They know there is a risk that their pride will get hurt, but they take that risk.
Because the other opinion of stifling or denying how they truly feel isn’t something they’re prepared to do.
2) They wear whatever the hell they like
“What on earth is she wearing?!”
“OMG, what does he look like?!”
In a superficial and sometimes cruel world, people love to pass comments.
I’ve certainly raised a few eyebrows in the past when I’ve seen someone walk by with an outrageous outfit.
But we know it’s wrong to do so.
These days when I feel sneaky judgment creep in, I intentionally replace it with “good for them”.
Because what we choose to wear is just another form of expression. Which is exactly why it should only ever be governed by how you feel.
People who can block out the pointless opinions of others wear what they like. They base their clothing on what feels and looks good to them — nobody else.
It’s a quiet yet powerful act of rebellion.
Speaking of which, this leads me nicely to our next sign.
3) They’re happy to break rules that need to be broken
Social norms govern a lot of people’s lives.
Sure, some are good. They’re in place to help make things fairer or to ensure we all get along better.
But let’s face it, plenty aren’t so great.
Some are simply outdated expectations or traditions that are in need of a serious makeover.
People who don’t care what others think are guided by their own strong sense of moral code.
They don’t care what Karen thinks on the matter, they do what they believe in their heart and soul is right.
That may mean breaking the mold and standing up for what they feel is right — even if others don’t agree.
Some rules are made to be broken for the sake of progression, growth, and advancement.
4) They dance like nobody is watching
This can be in a literal sense, or merely metaphorical.
The point is that what feels good and works for them is more important than all eyes on them.
Their life is centered around the things that bring them joy and pleasure. If someone else turns their nose up at it, then so be it.
They don’t want to live a life of regret. And the number one regret of people on their deathbed is not living a life true to themselves.
That’s a trap they’re determined not to fall into.
5) They don’t apologize for their emotions and express themselves fearlessly
I’m so guilty of doing this, as I think so many of us are.
You burst into tears because you can no longer hold it inside. But the first thing to instantly come out of your mouth is:
Can you relate?
Let’s stop and really think about that for a second. Why do we feel a need to apologize for displaying our emotions?
People who don’t care about others’ opinions are not afraid to express themselves freely.
They embrace their emotions, passions, interests, and quirks without worrying about being judged or ridiculed.
Their fearlessness in self-expression often inspires and encourages those around them to do the same.
6) They don’t take things lying down
Being carefree doesn’t mean totally ignoring what everyone else around you thinks.
It doesn’t mean we let people get away with things because we don’t give a damn.
In short: it doesn’t make you a sucker who is oblivious to wrongdoing.
It actually requires some very clear boundaries.
These are what help to protect us against the hurtful judgments and actions of others.
They get incredibly clear in their own minds about the do’s and don’t they expect if people want to stay in their lives.
If someone doesn’t stick to those rules, they swiftly remove them.
Not overly focusing on what someone thinks of them is what allows them to have the strength to stand up to people.
7) They’re resilient in the face of criticism
I’m overly sensitive when it comes to feedback. I know this and it’s something I’m working on.
Because deep down I realize it’s a fragile ego that cannot handle constructive criticism. It’s too painful to acknowledge certain flaws or failings.
Dealing with criticism can be challenging for anyone, but people who don’t care what others think have an exceptional ability to bounce back.
They don’t let negative opinions or judgments affect their self-worth or deter them from pursuing their goals.
Instead, they can reframe it as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.
This thicker skin is ultimately built on self-belief, and it allows them the freedom to:
- They take constructive feedback positively and use it to their advantage
- Remain steadfast in their convictions, even when faced with opposition
8) They care about sincerity, not about street cred
Acting cool isn’t something that’s at the forefront of their mind
Who they present to people is who they truly are — for good and for bad.
They prioritize staying true to their values and beliefs, refusing to conform to passing trends.
Their genuine nature seems to shine through in both their words and actions, leaving little room for pretense or superficiality.
Authenticity is often discussed as a vital part of creating healthy and strong connections.
But if we’re completely honest, it’s not always as easy to do as we may think.
When we want to make a good impression, it’s tempting to people please or to put on a bit of an act.
But good intentions can quickly go awry so that we inadvertently end up faking it.
This is why it takes quiet confidence to care less about what people think.
9) They have stacks of confidence
I think in a nutshell this is what it really comes down to:
Those who don’t care what people think have unwavering confidence.
They exude self-assurance and it shows up in even the most subtle ways.
- They stand tall and maintain eye contact during conversations
- They give their opinions without hesitation
They like themselves, and that’s all that counts at the end of the day.
It means they are comfortable embracing their uniqueness and being in their own skin.
It also means that they don’t go seeking approval or validation from others.
10) They don’t need praise and compliments to feel good
Well, actually they sort of do. We all need a source of positivity in our lives to stay motivated.
But there’s an important difference.
They aren’t desperately seeking it from outside of themselves as they already have a steady stream of it on the inside.
They’ve learned how to pat themselves on the back.
They acknowledge their own efforts.
They give themselves credit where it’s due.
That means they don’t crumble if someone else fails to make a note of how awesome they are.
They don’t always need a cookie to feel good about themselves. They’re busy focusing on their own path.
It’s all about caring about the right things and the right people
Here’s the thing:
There’s a big difference between not caring too much about what others think and simply being selfish or apathetic.
Because the truth is that we all care to a certain extent, and so we should.
But we should only give our f*cks out to the people and things that are worth it.
That means if someone you respect and care deeply about thinks you’re being a total ass, it’s worth some self-reflection.
If it’s a stranger on Instagram who is throwing shade your way, that’s a totally different matter.
My point is that being mindful of how we are seen can be useful to us. But it becomes a problem when we let other people’s judgments control our happiness and destiny.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.