Women who are confident and successful on the surface but lonely underneath often display these 8 behaviors

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Now, I’m all for women defying societal expectations and redefining success.

However, it’s become increasingly known that confidence and success don’t necessarily go hand in hand with fulfillment and happiness.

Recently, I’ve encountered many women who appear super confident and widely successful, yet underneath, there is a sense of inner emptiness.

So, I started to look into this to determine whether success and loneliness are linked. 

And according to the research, they are. 

For example, in one recent study, 60% of women in leadership roles reported feeling more lonely as their careers progressed.

The research also reveals common behaviors that successful and confident women possess when they’re secretly lonely. 

So, if a friend of yours appears to be thriving, look out for the following eight behaviors that may suggest the reality is not so!

1) Overworking

The most apparent behavior in a woman who appears successful but is deeply lonely is this – overworking.

When a woman is lonely and struggling with insecurities, she will seek something to distract her from the empty void. And with successful ladies, this is often their career. 

They fill their schedules with work commitments to avoid dealing with their feelings, leaving little time for solitude or introspection. 

A lonely woman who lives alone will also try to spend as little time there as possible, as an empty house triggers an empty feeling inside.

So, they usually become the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave. They work the most overtime out of their whole team and often take on colleagues’ workloads, too.

While this makes them appear productive and accomplished, this constant busyness only serves as a distraction from their underlying loneliness. 

And sometimes, staying occupied with work is not enough to avoid confronting their emotions. When this happens, they might turn to the following behavior…

2) Addictive habits

Addictive behaviors like shopping, drinking, and gambling are prevalent among lonely people as they serve as distractions and coping mechanisms. 

So, it’s no surprise that this research study found that 92% of senior-level women who feel lonely have engaged in addictive behavior at some point in their careers. 

These coping mechanisms include:

  • Taking illegal drugs
  • Over-exercising
  • Overspending
  • Gambling

However, while this is a typical behavior among lonely women, it is not easy to spot. Lonely people tend to hide their addictions well due to the following behavior…

3) Keeping to themselves

If a successful and confident woman is often seen alone and rarely goes to social events, she may be lonely.

Although confidence is typically linked to extraversion, for lonely women, their confidence is just a facade and self-preservation method.

Despite their outward charm and charisma, confident yet lonely women struggle to cultivate deep and meaningful connections with others. 

On the surface, they don’t appear lonely as they have numerous acquaintances and social contacts.

But if you examine their relationships more closely, you’ll notice a lack of intimacy and emotional depth.

This may be because they fear rejection or betrayal, perhaps from being hurt in the past.

So, they prefer to maintain superficial connections rather than risk vulnerability to form deeper bonds. 

These women are skilled small-talkers, but if you try to get to know them better, you’ll see the following behavior…

4) Being hostile & defensive

It’s not just in movies where the female bosses and CEOs are ruthless and hostile. It often plays out in real life, too.

And now we know the reason – loneliness.

Psychology shows that lonely people don’t want to be alone; they are just scared to open up to others.


At the core of loneliness lies a deep-seated fear of rejection and abandonment. 

Despite their outward confidence, these women harbor insecurities about their worthiness of love and acceptance. 

This fear may stem from past experiences of rejection or betrayal, whether in romantic relationships or in their childhood.

This leads them to build emotional barriers to protect themselves from further hurt. 

Of course, you don’t know why they are doing this, so they appear hostile and often downright mean to you.

Along with a fear of abandonment, they also fear being vulnerable, which is why they behave in the following way…

5) Internalizing their feelings

Confidence yet lonely women excel at projecting strength and self-assurance but struggle to open up emotionally to others.

They mask their emotions behind a facade of strength and composure, fearing that revealing their genuine feelings will make them appear weak or incapable. 

They might internalize all their feelings, choosing to deal with them in their minds rather than seek support from other people.

This is a common trait of introversion, and some studies have found that introverts are more likely to feel lonely because they are reluctant to open up to others.

While some people can effectively deal with their emotions within themselves, if you don’t have the tools to do so, you are likely to suppress them instead.

This is the worst thing you could do, as emotional suppression only serves to deepen isolation and further increases the reliance on harmful coping mechanisms. 

This fear of vulnerability is why successful yet lonely women are often hyper-independent, which we’ll discuss next…

6) Never asking for help

One way to spot a successful or confident woman who is secretly lonely is through her ability to ask for help.

These women pride themselves on their independence and self-reliance, preferring to handle challenges and difficulties independently. 

They never ask for help, even when they genuinely need it, because they don’t want to look weak.

They will often reject offers of help, too, as they believe accepting assistance means they are not in control.

While autonomy is a valuable trait, relying solely on yourself is an unhealthy behavioral trait that can:

  • Cause burnout and exhaustion
  • Further exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation

As mentioned, their reluctance to ask for help stems from a fear of appearing weak or needy, which is why successful and independent women are often perfectionists…

7) Holding themselves to high standards

Successful women have often got to where they are in their careers due to their flawless work and high standards.

While this may benefit the business world, setting unrealistic standards can harm your love life, leading to loneliness and unhappiness. 

Here’s why…

Successful yet lonely women constantly strive for flawlessness in all areas of their lives. 

So, when it comes to relationships, they have an endless list of requirements that no man can meet.

The same goes for friendships, as they expect their friends to meet unrealistic expectations. 

Because they accept nothing less than perfection, these women’s success never extends to romance or friendships. Because, as we know, perfection does not exist. 

A study from Selcuk University in Turkey backs this up. Researchers found that people who have excessively high standards for themselves struggle with social anxiety, which prevents them from developing close relationships.

So, while their need for perfectionism shields them against feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, it is one of the key reasons they feel so lonely.

8) Seeking external validation

Lonely women have a lot of insecurities about their worth.

They tend to measure their self-worth based on external markers of success rather than intrinsic qualities or personal fulfillment (which is how they have become so successful).

They tend to:

Whenever someone likes their post, congratulates them on their success, or compliments them on their designer handbag, they feel a rush of gratification.

But when gratification comes from external forces, it is only ever temporary.

After that rush of feeling good, their underlying sense of emptiness and inadequacy returns, causing them to seek validation in increasingly desperate ways. 

Final thoughts

Despite external success and a confident persona, many women grapple with loneliness and isolation. 

So remember, just because someone seems to be doing well for themselves doesn’t mean they are happy or that their life is perfect.

When you understand that success does NOT equal happiness, you can better manage your own insecurities and foster a culture of empathy and support for others. 

Gemma Clarke

I am a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and an experienced content writer in the spirituality and personal growth space.
I’m passionate about sharing my expertise through the power of
words to inspire and guide others along the path of personal and spiritual development.

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