What defines a confident and assertive man?
Is it the way he commands a room, his attire, or how he takes control of a situation?
A confident and assertive man is one who exercises a healthy balance of control, recognizes his worth, and is respectful of others. But when life happens, or one’s experiences change who they are, a lack of self-esteem and an inability to stand up for oneself become evident.
Men who struggle with confidence and assertiveness find it difficult to communicate their opinions or make decisions. They may have a slew of unsuccessful or complicated relationships and are either extremely passive or incredibly arrogant.
To help you better understand your own behavior or that of someone you care about, I explore 9 warning signs that a man lacks confidence and assertiveness in his life.
1) He gets jealous
If one thing is true about a man who lacks confidence and assertiveness, it’s that he frequently turns into a green-eyed monster. What I mean is that he gets jealous or “green with envy,” whether that be in a relationship or in his own social circles.
We all get a little bit jealous from time to time, especially when we desire what someone else has. Usually, these feelings subside or motivate us to work hard so we can achieve what we wish for.
When you feel confident about yourself, you’re not easily intimidated by the skills, clothing, personality, or wealth of someone else.
In a relationship, telltale signs of low self-esteem include insecurity and jealousy.
When you hang out with friends, does your man get upset? Maybe he gets annoyed when you spend too much time with family and friends or doesn’t want you talking to other guys, whether socially or at work.
Insecure men experience continuous relationship conflicts because of negative feelings.
Unfortunately, jealousy is not something that can be worked through overnight. It requires acknowledging and addressing the underlying triggers and recognizing one’s self-worth to move forward.
2) He struggles with decision-making
Let’s say that you’re planning a date night out with your man, and you ask him what he would prefer to do. At first, he avoids giving an answer, and you get frustrated asking for a second time. Then he sheepishly says, “I don’t know; what do you want to do?”
He rarely makes decisions unless forced to, and in a relationship, an insecure man often leaves the decisions to his partner.
Men who struggle with confidence fear being rejected or criticized for their choices, so they usually refrain from making a decision or taking responsibility.
3) He can’t handle criticism
Many of us struggle to deal with criticism, especially if it isn’t constructive, but as men, an inability to receive any type of feedback could be a sign that your confidence has taken a knock.
Regardless of whether it is positive or negative, low self-esteem makes it difficult to accept criticism or judgment because it’s seen as a personal attack. Men who are not assertive or confident in themselves become angry and defensive when criticized.
They might reject someone who is critical of them by arguing that the person doesn’t like them or blame the situation on someone else.
If a man cannot handle criticism, it is a sign that they aren’t confident in who they are.
4) He can’t admit to his mistakes
Nobody wants to make a mistake, whether at work or at home, but it’s a part of life that you learn from and move on. For men who don’t feel confident and assertive, it’s almost impossible to accept mistakes.
That’s because people with questionable self-esteem don’t want their perceived flaws and shortcomings exposed.
He might come across as arrogant because of his unwillingness to acknowledge his faults. Perhaps he sees mistakes as weaknesses rather than an opportunity to learn how to improve and grow from them.
Some men point the finger at other people. In a relationship, if you notice that they constantly shift the blame onto you, there could be more than a confidence issue at stake.
Look for signs of manipulation.
Skilled and emotional manipulators tend to blame others for their mistakes rather than look within.
5) He becomes resentful
When a man lacks assertiveness in a relationship, he struggles to express how he feels. Unfortunately, keeping your emotions and thoughts bottled up means that your partner never truly knows how you feel.
Men who hide their feelings in relationships become frustrated and unhappy when their partner can’t understand or satisfy their needs.
It leads to resentment.
These are usually prominent in a partnership where one person cannot assert their feelings while the other, who freely expresses themselves, rarely compromises.
Resentment can appear as poor conflict resolution or anger by saying hurtful things in an argument, which creates distance and a disconnect from one another.
6) He struggles to communicate clearly
Low self-esteem creates miscommunication.
What does this mean?
Miscommunication is not about misunderstanding what you’re saying but about an inability to express one’s opinions or perceptions.
What about relationships?
Socially, men don’t tend to share their feelings or their vulnerabilities, but when you aren’t assertive or you don’t recognize your value, it becomes incredibly challenging to be open and honest about what you want and need from your partner.
Men who don’t feel good about themselves cannot communicate what they think and feel to their significant other for fear of how it will be received. Will they be rejected for feeling the way they do?
It leads to a disconnect in the relationship.
When you aren’t assertive, you find it hard to stand up for what you believe in, and you’d rather not say anything than come into conflict with someone else.
7) He’s influenced by others
A man who is confident knows his values, his worth, and who he is. He listens to the opinions of others but recognizes when and where to draw the line, maintaining his beliefs and character no matter what.
A sign that a man lacks confidence and assertiveness is that he is easily influenced by others. If someone tells him something, rather than questioning its validity, he believes it.
Even if the opinion or statement of another person seems irrational or silly to you, some men don’t question it.
If you lack values or struggle to stand by your beliefs, you lack confidence and assertiveness.
Men who are agreeable and take on the persona or character of a friend or relative, even if they are only in their company for a short time, have a problem with confidence.
They feel inadequate and aren’t comfortable being themselves.
8) He allows people to take advantage of him
“Why can’t you stand up for yourself?”
“You need to be more assertive!”
“Be a man.”
These are common phrases that family or spouses might tell a man who isn’t standing his ground.
For men, sometimes assertiveness is associated with aggression, and rather than stand up for themselves, they keep their opinions to themselves.
In both men and women, a lack of assertiveness stems from insecurity and poor self-esteem. Despite the pressure of society encouraging us to “freely express ourselves,” the thought of failing or feeling shameful if the situation doesn’t go in our favor leads to avoidance.
In relationships, men who tend to shy away from expressing how they feel or telling their partners what they want and expect often feel uncomfortable putting themselves first or don’t want to experience rejection.
Rather than set healthy boundaries or firmly say “no,” they remain in a vicious cycle of people pleasing and sacrificing having their needs met.
They get taken advantage of.
This creates frustration, sudden mood changes, and anger outbursts because they always give in to the needs and interests of someone else.
9) He’s always negative
If we don’t feel good about ourselves, how can we possibly have a positive outlook on life?
Men with low self-esteem are generally pessimistic. They might be highly critical of world events, movies, or others’ lives. Nothing that comes out of their mouths is remotely positive or supportive.
Many women struggle with pessimistic partners who fail to put any real effort into the relationship.
A critical partner isn’t romantic, supportive, or encouraging because they are influenced by a negative mindset.
It isn’t healthy to remain in the company of someone who is so negative. This type of self-limiting attitude can influence your outlook on life, preventing you from pursuing rewarding opportunities.
Your relationships with friends, family, and even colleagues may suffer because people don’t want to be around someone who complains all the time.
For many men, struggles with self-confidence and assertiveness could result from a fear of being seen as too aggressive or a fear of being rejected and criticized for their views and emotions.
It’s difficult for a man to be vulnerable, and for some, expressing how they feel or taking responsibility doesn’t come naturally. Furthermore, many men find it emasculating to admit that they have low self-esteem or struggle to be assertive.
By recognizing the signs of low confidence and assertiveness in men, it becomes easier to understand their behaviors and attitudes. That includes finding ways of reaching out and offering support by remaining patient and empathic.
But if you are in a relationship with a man who constantly criticizes you, shifts the blame, or cannot control his jealousy, it’s time to rethink your future with them.