10 things you don’t realize you’re doing because you fear being judged

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Ever catch yourself acting a certain way and think, “Why did I just do that?”

Well, sometimes it’s because deep down, we’re afraid of what others might think.

It’s natural, but it can sneakily shape our choices without us even noticing.

Let’s shine a light on 10 things we might do just because we don’t want to be judged.

Ready to see if any sound familiar?

Let’s dive in.

1. Over-apologizing for…well, everything

“Sorry” is just a five-letter word, but oh boy, does it pack a punch.

Ever find yourself saying sorry when someone else bumps into you?

Or when you share an opinion in a meeting?

Or even when you laugh a little too loudly at a joke?

Over-apologizing is often a defense mechanism. It’s like a preemptive strike to avoid any potential disapproval.

By saying sorry, you’re trying to smooth things over before anything even goes awry.

It’s as if you’re trying to say, “Please don’t be mad or judge me!”

But here’s the twist: constantly apologizing can actually draw more attention to you and make you seem less confident.

Remember, it’s okay to occupy space, share thoughts, and be unapologetically you.

Not everything needs a “sorry” in front of it.

2. Avoiding Personal Stories or Topics in Conversations

Have you ever been in the middle of a chat and thought of a hilarious story or personal insight but bit your tongue instead of sharing it?

Maybe it’s that embarrassing memory from high school or your passionate love for a not-so-popular hobby.

Many of us dodge personal topics, thinking they might be “too much” or “too weird” for the conversation.

I once kept my deep appreciation for cheesy 90’s music a secret for years, only to find out my closest friend was a closeted fan too!

We missed out on years of jamming out together, all because I was too afraid of being labeled ‘outdated’ or ‘uncool’.

By holding back, you might be missing out on genuine connections or shared laughs.

After all, our quirks and unique stories are what make us interesting and relatable!

So go on, share that funny story next time. You never know who might relate or find it endearing.

3. Dressing Up…Even When You Don’t Want To

Here’s a curveball for you: ever think dressing up could actually be a sign of fear?

We’ve all had those days when we’d prefer to lounge in our favorite worn-out tee and sweatpants.

But instead, we reach for that business-casual outfit or the snappy pair of shoes, not because it’s our style, but because we’re afraid of looking ‘sloppy’ or ‘unprofessional’ in front of others.

Sometimes dressing down can actually earn you more respect.

Think about Mark Zuckerberg with his iconic grey T-shirt or Steve Jobs with his black turtleneck.

They didn’t dress to impress, but rather to express their authenticity and focus on what mattered to them.

Dressing up when you don’t want to might gain you nods of approval, but dressing as your true self can gain you admiration for your confidence and authenticity.

So next time you’re torn between dressing for others and dressing for yourself, remember: clothes don’t make the person, character does. Choose to be authentic!

4. Keeping Quiet About Your Real Opinions

We’ve all bitten our tongue more times than we can count.

Whether it’s about a trending movie everyone seems to love (but you secretly think is overrated), or a popular opinion circulating your friend group that you disagree with, sometimes it feels easier to nod along than voice your true thoughts.

But constantly silencing your opinions out of fear can be draining.

I’ve personally held back many times, thinking I’d be the odd one out or not wanting to rock the boat.

But what I’ve realized is that by doing this, not only was I denying my true self, but I was also missing out on meaningful discussions and deeper connections.

Genuine conversations often stem from differing views, and there’s a real beauty in seeing and appreciating multiple perspectives.

By speaking up, you might just open the door for others to share their authentic thoughts too.

So the next time you’re tempted to just blend in with the crowd, remember: your opinion has value, and there’s strength in honesty.

5. Limiting Your Social Media Posts to ‘Highlight Reels’

Scrolling through social media, it’s easy to think everyone’s life is a non-stop parade of perfect moments.

Picturesque vacations, flawless selfies, gourmet meals… you know the drill. But are those snapshots the full story? Not likely.

Many of us, in the quest to put our “best foot forward,” only share the highlights, omitting the messy, imperfect, and beautifully human moments in between.

I’ve found myself snapping 20 photos to get that one ‘perfect’ shot or hesitating to share a personal struggle out of fear it might tarnish my online image.

But real life isn’t a highlight reel. It’s filled with ups, downs, and a lot of in-betweens.

By only showcasing our “best” moments, we inadvertently create a world where everyone feels pressured to be perfect.

Sharing genuine experiences, both good and not-so-good, can help foster authentic connections and remind everyone that it’s okay to be human.

So next time you hesitate before posting that less-than-perfect pic or sharing a genuine emotion, remember: authenticity is refreshing, and real life is beautiful, blemishes and all.

6. Avoiding New Activities Because You’re Not “Good” Yet

Ever passed up on trying something new – be it a dance class, a sport, or even a fun hobby – just because you were afraid of looking like a newbie?

The thought of fumbling in front of others or not being “naturally talented” right off the bat can be daunting.

Many of us prefer to stick to what we know, where we’re comfortable and competent.

Did you know that it took Thomas Edison over 1,000 attempts to develop a functional light bulb prototype?

If he’d stopped after the third, tenth, or even the five hundredth attempt for fear of “looking bad” or being judged, our world might be a bit dimmer.

The truth is, every expert was once a beginner. Growth happens outside of our comfort zones.

Avoiding new experiences for fear of judgment means missing out on potential passions, skills, and memories.

So the next time you’re hesitating to join that new activity, remember Edison and give yourself permission to be a beginner.

After all, every attempt, whether it ends in success or a lesson, brings you one step closer to your own “light bulb” moment.

7. Changing Your Taste to Fit In

Remember that song or movie you secretly loved but pretended to dislike because it wasn’t “cool” or “in”?

Or maybe it’s the other way around: you feigned interest in something popular just to blend in with the crowd, even though it didn’t resonate with you at all.

Modifying our tastes based on what’s trending or what we perceive as acceptable is a common tactic to avoid standing out or being ridiculed.

It’s like being in school all over again. There was always that one band, TV show, or style everyone raved about.

And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being part of a trend, the problem arises when we start pretending or suppressing our genuine likes and dislikes.

Embracing what truly resonates with us – be it an “unpopular” music genre, a “nerdy” hobby, or an “outdated” fashion sense – is a testament to our individuality.

After all, it’s our unique combination of likes, dislikes, quirks, and passions that makes us, well, us.

So the next time you catch yourself adjusting your preferences to fit the mold, remember: genuine joy comes from honoring your authentic self, trends aside.

8. Crafting “Perfect” Responses in Real-Time Conversations

Ever been in the middle of a chat, and while someone is talking, you’re already ten steps ahead, rehearsing your reply?

Not because you’re eager, but because you want your response to be smart, witty, and flawless.

Welcome to the club of ‘overthinkers’ – where conversations become theatrical rehearsals.

While we often believe that these ‘perfect’ answers will make our conversations smoother, research suggests that spontaneity leads to more genuine and memorable interactions.

By crafting responses in real-time, we’re not fully present in the conversation.

We might miss out on the little nuances, the unsaid emotions, and the deeper connect.

In the realm of improv theater, there’s a principle called “Yes, and…” It encourages participants to accept whatever is presented and then build on it.

This promotes spontaneous and genuine reactions.

Bringing a bit of this “improv” mindset to our daily chats can lead to more authentic, memorable, and engaging conversations.

So the next time you find yourself scripting replies in your head, try to let go, embrace the present, and enjoy the unpredictable flow of genuine conversation.

Who knows? It might just lead to the most interesting chat you’ve had in a while.

9. Preferring Text Over Calls to Script Conversations

Ring, ring! Your phone’s ringing, and you see it’s a friend. Instead of picking up, you let it go to voicemail, thinking, “Why can’t they just text?”

This might be more than just a preference for texting.

Often, it’s a subtle way to control conversations and avoid unexpected questions or reactions.

Texting allows us time to think, edit, and curate our responses, ensuring we present ourselves in the best possible way.

While texting provides a safety net, voice calls bring a layer of rawness and immediacy.

The laughter, the pauses, the intonations – they capture emotions that emojis can’t quite replicate.

By dodging calls, we might be missing out on deeper connections, spontaneous moments, and the warmth of genuine interactions.

The next time your phone rings, and you’re tempted to defer to texting, challenge yourself.

Take a deep breath, answer the call, and dive into the unpredictability of a live conversation.

You might just end up having a heartwarming chat that’ll make your day.

10. Constantly Seeking Reassurance for Your Choices

From choosing a restaurant to making life decisions, if you’re constantly asking others, “Is this okay?” or “Did I do this right?”, you might be seeking external validation more than genuine feedback.

Deep down, it’s not always about the choice itself, but the fear of being judged if the choice isn’t universally accepted or approved.

Historically, seeking group consensus was vital for survival. Being part of a tribe meant safety.

Today, this evolutionary trait manifests as our desire to fit in and get validation.

But while it’s okay to seek advice, it’s essential to recognize when we’re letting others’ opinions overshadow our instincts and preferences.

A fun challenge: Next time you’re faced with a choice, big or small, trust yourself and make a decision without seeking external validation.

Celebrate the confidence in your decision-making. You might be surprised at how liberating it feels to trust your intuition and stand firm in your choices.

After all, every decision, even if it leads to a mistake, is a step forward in your unique journey. Embrace it!

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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