16 things insecure people do without even realizing it

All of us are a little insecure.

But what’s interesting is that the highly insecure ones are in denial. They’d go “Me? Insecure? No way!”

They even think they’re more self-assured than most people.

That’s why, if you want to have a better relationship with others, it’s a good idea to know how to recognize if someone is insecure (especially if that someone is you).

To help you along, here are things insecure people do without even realizing it.

1) They work themselves to the bone

Insecure people have a very poor view of their own performance that is often quite out of touch with reality.

They feel like they’re never working hard enough, or that they’re never good enough. It doesn’t matter that they’re actually good and that they’re working twice as hard as their colleagues.

Unfortunately, this often results in them growing disillusioned and burning out.

2) They care too much about others

They’ve convinced themselves that they don’t deserve much, so they always put themselves last.

For example, they might have been saving up for a brand new iPhone, but then settle for a cheaper phone so that they can buy their partner expensive jewelry or give their parents some shopping money.

And it doesn’t happen just once or twice. No—it’s a consistent habit.

They feel guilty over the idea of indulging in luxury when they could have helped the people around them instead.

3) They think people are out to get them

One way or another, they’ll find a way to make the things people say and do about them.

They’ll get upset if someone tells them they should cook their chicken for longer, and then get upset when people comment about the bad weather during an outing they planned.

Their insecurities make them feel like people are out to get them and tear them down, even if people actually have the best of intentions.

4) They are way too competitive

If they know they can draw, they’ll try to flaunt their artistic skills over others.

They’re afraid of rejection and failure, but if they feel like they might have a good chance to succeed, they’ll take it and lord it over everyone else if they can.

And even if there’s a random contest or a simple puzzle game, they’d try to show others just how great they are…even if they look a little desperate.

Insecure people are naturally very competitive because they want to prove their worth to others—but especially to themselves.

5) They self-sabotage

While insecure people do get incredibly competitive, they also swing the other way. They self-sabotage if they think it’s hopeless or there’s a high chance they’ll be rejected.

And sometimes, they can swing from being very confident to extremely unsure about their abilities several times in a minute.

So they might apply for a job, only to not show up during the interview. Or they might start drawing but hate their creations so much they simply throw them in the trash instead of submitting them to an online contest.

They are firmly convinced that they suck—that they’re hopeless, and that they should act accordingly.

6) They crave belonging

Even the most dedicated loners among us want to belong, one way or another.

But the thing with insecure people is that they are convinced they don’t belong. Whether or not they actually are, they see themselves as outsiders.

And to that end, they try harder to “belong”— stressing themselves out over becoming a person everyone else likes.

7) They always stick to what works

As I’ve said many times before, insecure people are very wary of failure and rejection.

That’s why they’re very worried and uneasy about changes to the status quo.

They will stick to what they know works, doing what they know they can do. They’ll stick to their comfort zone instead of trying new things and pushing their boundaries.

Sure, this might keep them stuck in mediocrity, but they’d rather stay safe than get rejections.

8) They cling to failing relationships

They might know that they’re in a miserable, toxic relationship that’s simply way too far gone. Other people might have told them the same. And yet, they stay.

They know deep down inside that there’s no hope they’ll ever fix the problems they have — from cheating and drug abuse, to them being too incompatible with their partner… but they won’t stop trying, anyways.


They’re terrified of the prospect of being alone again. And that’s because they’re firmly convinced they’ll never find anyone else who’d love them.

9) They take jobs they’re overqualified for

Insecure people undersell themselves.

Perhaps they’re good enough to be the chief editor of their department but settle for being a regular editor instead.

Even if their superiors are the ones encouraging them to take on a position that better suits their skills, they are still going to try to avoid change as much as possible.

And when people praise them for their work and tell them that they deserve more, they’d never believe it.

Or if they do, they’d stay precisely because they know they’re already good at it.

10) They focus on other people’s weaknesses

Insecure people are very aware of their “flaws”, and because of that, they’re quick to notice it in others.

If they are insecure about their ability to speak English properly, for example, they’ll immediately notice when other people speak English “badly.”

They often can’t help but laugh about it. It’s a kind of relief for them, really.

They’re so fascinated by the fact that they’re not the only ones with flaws, and they’ll think about it a lot. They’d even gossip and mock people over these trivial things, which is simply unfortunate.

11) They have an obsession to improve themselves

It’s very common for insecure people to have unrealistically high standards.

They have a long list of things to change in themselves — from the way they walk to their “thin” lips.

Unfortunately, this obsession will never be quenched.

They might be the best version of themselves that they can be, but they will still keep trying to reinvent themselves because they’re not satisfied with who they truly are.

12) They’re control freaks

Highly insecure people want things to make sense within the small slice of their life that is well within their control.

Having control over others—whether by fame, authority, wealth, or simply self-appointment—makes them feel powerful and strong.

At its subtlest, you can see them being especially meticulous and uptight over “propriety.” At its bluntest, you can see them calling their partner every hour to check if they’re not cheating.

13) They do things to get attention and praise

Insecure people feel like no one’s paying attention to them.

That’s why they’re willing to do anything just so that they could shine.

They would donate to their nearest charity simply so that they can be seen as “generous”, and then treat their friends to lunch simply so that they would hear a “thank you”.

They could care less what they’re actually doing, so long as it’s earning them praise.

14) They get uncomfortable around successful people

They would stop talking to their friends the moment they “make it” and start oozing money. And they’d stay away from their best friend the moment they’re engaged.

They might even grumble on and on about how those friends were actually awful and are unfair in how they left everyone else behind.

In truth, they’re simply afraid that being around these successful people will highlight just how “unsuccessful” they actually are.

15) They get jealous very easily

It goes without saying that the people who go ballistic and jealous in a relationship are those who are insecure.

They would get upset when they see their partner talking to someone of the opposite sex, and get frustrated when they see someone who’s more successful and loveable than they are.

To that end, they would even do ridiculous things like wanting to always know their partner’s location, social media friends, and even passwords.

16) They flaunt their achievements

An insecure person will highlight their achievements and make sure everyone knows them no matter how small these “wins” are.

It’s because they need validation like a drug. Hearing “Congrats!” and “Oh, I envy you!” makes them feel seen.

In a way, this motivates them to run themselves ragged trying to achieve grand things just to get what they need.

Last words

Learning how to be less insecure is something that takes time, sometimes even decades.

So if while reading this article, you realize that you’re indeed a little insecure, try doing something about it now.

And if you know someone insecure, try to offer them what understanding you can instead of distancing yourself and saying “I won’t deal with insecure people.”

It’s no one’s fault. It’s not pleasant, living a life as someone who’s neck-deep in insecurity.

So instead of judging them, hold their hand and reassure them that in this life, we don’t have to be the greatest. Being “good enough” is good enough—and they are.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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