5 Revealing Characteristics of Low Self-Confidence

Myriad reasons exist behind the development of healthy self-confidence…and lack thereof. People with low self-confidence have histories that are often difficult, troubling or just transient: anything from childhood abuse to simply moving around a lot as a kid can severely impede the development of healthy self-confidence. Helping a person who has low self-confidence can be tough, though, if you can’t recognize the signs.

Here are five ways to spot a person with low self-confidence:


It’s one thing to make an offhand self-deprecating comment once in awhile to show you have a sense of humor. It’s another thing entirely to make self-deprecating comments regularly. If a person is constantly cutting themselves down, even if it seems like they’re trying to be funny, they probably suffer from low self-confidence. You can find out more about the science behind self-deprecating humor here.


People with low self-confidence apologize all the time, for everything, without any real reason. Unnecessarily apologizing is a sign that a person fears criticism, so they apologize to offset their perception that their actions are going to be criticized. Here is a good example of how apologizing unnecessarily demonstrates low self-confidence.


People who suffer from low self-confidence often have trouble making decisions. Their indecisiveness demonstrates their lack of trust in themselves and their deep-seated self-doubt. People with low self-confidence don’t feel they are capable of making the “right” decision, so they remain indecisive. Multiple studies have shown the link between indecisiveness and low self-confidence.


If your friend can’t look you in the eye, they may have issues with their self-confidence. Avoiding eye contact comes naturally for someone with low self-confidence because of their insecurities about themselves. They don’t want you to see their insecurities, and they believe that if you can’t make eye contact with them, you won’t be able to. The importance of eye contact to self-confidence is outlined well here.


Just as a person with healthy self-confidence will accept a compliment simply and easily, a person with low self-confidence will reject the compliment internally and sometimes, externally as well. Compliments make people with low self-confidence extremely uncomfortable and that discomfort often shows through body language. They may even laugh off the compliment or make a self-deprecating comment in response.

While low self-confidence can be difficult to overcome, there are some things you can do to help those you know who suffer from this problem…or even yourself, if these qualities apply to you. Here are some resources for learning to accept compliments, making eye contact, getting comfortable with making decisions, stop apologizing and learning how to use self-deprecating humor effectively. Building self-confidence is a lifelong process: the good news, though, is that you can build self-confidence if you feel you suffer from low self-confidence, or help a loved one do the same.

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