Your behavior can make you look insecure to others, but you don’t need to look insecure. Without knowing it, you may act in a way that shows others you struggle with confidence. However, we’ve all done it and instead of beating yourself up, learn how to change these behaviors so that you can appear confident and not look insecure.
If you struggle with low self-esteem, it’s likely you look insecure to others and don’t even realize it. Believe it or not, when you purposely practice adjusting these insecure behaviors you actually feel more confident, too. I used to get really anxious in particular social situations. Negative self-talk took over and my confidence plummeted as a result. When I learned some simple tools for faking confidence, I actually became more confident.
Behaviors that Make You Look Insecure
…and What to Do to Change Them
1. Overapologizing: Do you find yourself saying sorry for everything even when it’s not your fault? When you’re feeling insecure or struggling with low self-esteem, it’s not uncommon to feel like you have to please others. Instead of acknowledging accidents and mistakes occur, you blame yourself so that they don’t have to feel uncomfortable. This makes you look weak and often attracts people who reinforce this, which will keep you from developing true confidence.
What to do to be confident: When you hear yourself apologizing, pause and check the facts. Did you do anything wrong or accidentally inconvenience someone? No, then simply acknowledge that something uncomfortable occurred and remind yourself that you did not do anything wrong.
2. Dismissing compliments: When someone pays you a compliment and you immediately shut it down, it makes them uncomfortable and you look insecure. Dismissing a compliment is a sign you don’t appreciate yourself.
What to do to be confident: Say “thank you.” It may feel weird accepting praise or a compliment but try. You are showing that you appreciate them and yourself.
3. Self-deprecating humor or sarcasm: Making fun of yourself is a huge sign that you don’t respect yourself. Many comedians can get away with this because it’s part of their craft. They have enough confidence to get on stage and don’t look insecure due to the art of comedy. In everyday situations when people hear you judging yourself, it makes them uncomfortable and it sounds like you don’t value yourself.
What to do to be confident: Don’t do it. Even if you’re just trying to be funny, it’s more likely to make the people you are with feel awkward. If you notice that you are doing it, reframe the statement into something more positive.
4. Oversharing or sharing too much, too early: This applies to relationships online and real life. When you’re getting to know people it’s healthy to share life experiences; however, sharing too much about yourself, too early, is a sign of insecurity. I’ve talked to clients who’ve said: “But it shows them that I’m comfortable with myself if I share my raw, true self. Others know that I’ve accepted it.”
This is false. People who are confident are self-aware. They know that others may not understand or feel comfortable with some of these things, and you don’t want to be too vulnerable with someone you don’t fully trust yet.
What to do to be confident: When you start to feel like your talking too much about yourself or notice that you’ve just shared something a bit too personal, ask them a question. You appear confident and more likable when you ask questions and appear interested.
5. Using your phone as a distraction: If you’re on the phone, (texting, talking, scrolling or emailing) others think you are busy, making you harder to approach. If you’re talking with one person or with a group of people and there is a lull in the conversation, do you jump right to your phone instead of chatting or mingling? Maybe you’re bored or feel like no one will listen to what you have to say?
What to do to be confident: If you’re in a social situation with a group, scan the room for other people that look friendly and see if there’s someone you’re comfortable talking to. If you are anxious or nervous and pick up your device, put it down and make a comment about, “Gosh I am really trying to stop the habit of using my phone as a distraction.”
This can start a dialogue and connect you with the other person. We all are trying to avoid the urge to use our phones.
6. Gossiping or judging others: People who talk about others in a negative way show others that you are insecure. A confident person doesn’t talk about others because they know it makes them feel, and look, bad.
What to do to be confident: When you have the urge to talk about someone in a negative manner, pause and ask yourself, “What’s the goal?” Is it for you to connect with the person in front of you, to feel better about yourself temporarily, or to simply fill up empty space in a conversation?
Remember, when you look insecure you will feel it, too. So practice purposely putting some of these new habits in place today.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.