8 signs you’re giving off a confident vibe, according to psychology

Ever wonder if other people find you confident?

As we all know from experience, the way we feel on the inside doesn’t always match the impression we make on others. 

So whether you feel like the most confident person on the planet, or you’re second-guessing every decision you make, there are certain behaviors — and reactions from other people — that signal that you come off as confident.

You can use them to make sure you convey the self-assuredness you feel, or even to help boost your self-esteem to begin with. (Fake it till you make it, right?)

So without further ado, let’s dive into the 8 research-backed signs!

1) You maintain long eye contact

Let’s start off with one of the most basics aspects of human interaction: our gaze.

Research shows that longer eye contact makes a person come across as more confident, and also more likable. 

Of course, we must mention that this can be highly dependent on culture. This study was done in America, but in another country, eye contact might be considered uncomfortable, rude, or even threatening. 

So do take that into consideration. But as far as your culture allows it, don’t be shy to lock eyes with the people you’re talking to.

If you feel uncomfortable with this at first, try being curious about what their eyes look like: notice the colors and the shapes. 

Having something specific to focus on can take some of the awkwardness away. 

2) You stand tall

How do you picture a confident person?

It’s probably someone in a confident pose — perhaps they’re spreading their arms above them, or they’ve got their hands crossed behind their head, or even the so-called “wonder woman pose”. 

What do all these poses have in common?

The person is standing tall, with their back upright and their shoulders back.

This is a great physical representation of confidence because it shows you’re not afraid to take up space. You’re not hiding from the world — on the contrary, you’re ready to show it what you’ve got.

Psychology also found that literally “looking down on others” or having people “look up to you” because you stand tall can make you feel more confident. 

And at the same time, it makes others see you as more leader-like and authoritative. 

3) A strong handshake

Now let’s move on to signs you can show while you’re meeting someone. One of the first orders of business: the handshake.

How do you go about this? Do you let your hand hang loosely in theirs, like a piece of spaghetti? Or do you give them a nice firm grip?

Although it is such a small gesture, it means a lot. A study found that the more firm a person’s handshake is, the more socially confident they come across as. 

In fact, a good handshake is so powerful, its effects even extend throughout the rest of the interaction.

A study found that a good handshake diminishes the impact of a negative impression if there is a misunderstanding or something goes wrong later during the interaction. 

That’s certainly a safety net you want to take advantage of!

4) You have confident speaking patterns

There’s a reason why many public speakers spend so much time and energy training their voice: our voice says a lot about us — far beyond the meaning of the words that it communicates. 

Psychology found that people who give off confidence tend to speak in a certain way:

  • They speak louder
  • They have falling intonation at the end of sentences (rather than upwards which sounds like a question)
  • They speak a bit faster
  • They speak at a lower pitch

Obviously, all of the above should be used with moderation. If you speak too fast, you’ll be difficult to understand, and nobody will be able to follow you.

Here’s some great advice: try recording yourself while you’re in a meeting, giving a speech, or if you have the chance, even during a regular interaction with someone. 

Play it back for yourself, and you’ll probably notice a few things you’re not aware of while you’re speaking!

5) You wear well-fitted, nice clothes

We can’t talk about giving confident impressions without mentioning clothing. There’s a saying that goes “dress to impress,” but what does that mean exactly?

There are experiments which show that business attire makes a better impression than casual clothing, but the reality is much more nuanced than that.

Just picture someone wearing a slightly old business suit 2 sizes too large for them, and someone wearing a crisp, clean, perfectly fitted T-shirt and jeans. 

The truth is, clothing must look good on you in order to support your confident vibe. In other words: it should be suited to your body, complement your colors, and in good condition. 

In one experiment, a made-to-measure suit made a much better impression than an off-the-rack suit. 

So to look confident, you don’t necessarily have to look like you came from the office all the time — but whatever it is you wear, make sure it is something that fits you well and most importantly, that you feel good in. 

6) You’re an active listener

Do you think a confident person would be someone talking a lot and telling stories, or someone who’s quiet?

Actually, it’s something in between.

This is an intersection we call active listening. It’s not just being quiet when other people talk — it’s being actively engaged by asking questions, responding thoughtfully to what people say, and using non-verbal communication to show your interest.

Research found that managers who are good listeners are seen as more trustworthy and leader-like.

Of course, there are many more fantastic benefits to active listening, from creating deeper relationships with people to broadening your own perspective. 

So not only does active listening make you seem more confident, it improves practically all areas of your life at the same time. Talk about the jackpot of self-development!

7) You’re willing to admit you’re wrong

This sign might sound a little contradictory — confident people should know what they’re talking about and be experts at what they do, therefore they shouldn’t be wrong, right?

This is exactly the kind of thinking that leads many people to try to hide their knowledge gaps, uncertainties, and mistakes. 

“If I admit I don’t know something, or (god forbid!) that I’m wrong about something, I’ll look incompetent and untrustworthy in other people’s eyes”, the fear goes.

I used to be worried about this myself, particularly when I was fresh out of university and worked with clients who were much older than I was. 

But actually, the opposite is true. 

Psychology shows us that being able to admit you’re wrong makes you more agreeable, humble, and open. 

Think back to anytime someone you admired comfortably admitted to a mistake, and chances are it just made them more endearing to you. 

And when you think about it, it makes sense: even the most skilled and confident person on the planet is still just a human who’s prone to mistakes. Accepting that doesn’t make you any less credible.  

8) People value your opinions

We’ve covered several signs that you can notice about your own behavior that signal you give off a confident vibe.

But this one turns the spotlight onto the other people you interact with. 

You can’t see inside their minds to know what they really think of you — but here’s a good hint that they do think of you as confident.  

Research found that people value the opinions of confident people more highly. 

So if you find that people take your opinions seriously, there’s a good chance it’s because you come across as confident — or at least, it’s a factor that helps. 

More specifically, consider these questions: 

  • How often do people ask for your advice? 
  • How closely do they pay attention when you speak? 
  • How often do they take your words into consideration?

Now, just be sure to use your confidence — and the influence that comes with it — wisely!

Embodying your most confident self

Above we saw 8 signs that you give off a confident vibe, backed by psychology and research.

They are great points of reflection to consider what kind of impression you might be making on others. But they are also a good guideline if you want to start building your confidence and improve the impression you make.

As you keep practicing them, always remember one thing: a truly confident impression comes from within, and should be fully embodied.

It’s not just about outward appearances, but about really believing in yourself and letting that shine through in a way that feels natural to you. 

And when you do, you’re sure to be unstoppable in everything you want to accomplish. 

Silvia Adamyova

Born in Slovakia, raised in Canada, with a translation degree from University of Ottawa and an editing certificate from Simon Fraser University. Now based back in Slovakia (if you’re wondering why - have you seen Canadian winters?). Full-time freelance English teacher, translator, editor, and copywriter. Part-time avid reader, self-development junkie, and cake addict. I hope my writing inspires you in some way — if it does, find me on LinkedIn or Instagram and let me know!

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