11 Behaviors That Scream “Low Confidence” In Women

11 Behaviors That Scream “Low Confidence” In Women

Confidence seems to come naturally to some, while others find themselves in an ongoing struggle to find it. When a woman lacks confidence, it might not always be obvious. It’s not necessarily about how loudly she speaks or how she walks into a room. Sometimes, it’s the subtle signs, the small things that she does (or doesn’t do) that give a glimpse into her self-esteem. Here are some behaviors that make it pretty obvious that she’s insecure.

1. She Downplays Her Achievements.

When a woman has a hard time accepting credit for her achievements, it might be more than modesty at play—it could be a sign of lacking confidence. Whether she’s aced a presentation or organized a successful event, if she’s quick to brush it aside or give luck all the credit, she’s not acknowledging her own role in her success. This constant deflection can hint that she doesn’t see her efforts or talent as being integral to the outcome. It’s as if she’s uncomfortable being in the spotlight, even for a moment, and that discomfort often comes from not believing in her own worth. When others notice and praise her accomplishments, instead of soaking in the moment and feeling proud, she shrinks away, possibly because she doesn’t feel she truly belongs there.

2. She Constantly Apologizes.

It’s one thing to apologize for a mistake, but it’s another to say sorry for things that don’t warrant an apology, like speaking up in a meeting or asking a question. If a woman is always apologizing, it can be a telltale sign that she’s not feeling confident in her right to speak and be heard. This behavior may suggest that she feels she’s inconveniencing others with her thoughts and presence, which is often not the case. What’s more, this constant apologizing can make others perceive her as less confident, which may unfortunately reinforce her behavior. Over time, this can become a pattern that’s hard to break, trapping her in a cycle of unwarranted apologies and further eroding her self-assurance.

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4. She Avoids Eye Contact.

Eye contact can be incredibly telling. A woman who avoids it may be struggling with feelings of inadequacy. If she rarely looks people in the eye, especially when speaking, it’s often because she’s not confident in what she’s saying or she’s worried about others’ judgments. This behavior can create a barrier between her and others, making meaningful connections more difficult to establish. Moreover, she may not only be avoiding the gaze of others but also the potential to see reflected in their eyes her own value and worth. This lack of eye contact can inadvertently reinforce a cycle where she doesn’t feel seen and, therefore, doesn’t see herself clearly either.

5. She Struggles to Accept Compliments.

There’s a certain grace in accepting compliments that can be difficult to muster when a woman lacks confidence. If she’s quick to dismiss kind words or seems genuinely uncomfortable when praised, it likely reflects her own doubts about her value. She might be thinking that if people really knew her, they wouldn’t be so quick to compliment her. This struggle often leads to a paradox where she may crave recognition but finds it incredibly uncomfortable when it arrives because it conflicts with her own self-perception. As a result, she may inadvertently push people away, depriving herself of positive reinforcement that could help build her self-esteem.

6. She Overthinks Minor Interactions.

Ruminating over minor interactions and dissecting every word said long after the conversation has ended can be a sign of a lack of confidence. A woman who lacks confidence might lie awake at night, wondering if she said something wrong or if her comments were taken the wrong way. She likely fears being misjudged or leaving a negative impression. This constant over-analysis can be exhausting and reinforces her self-doubt because she’s reinforcing the narrative that her natural responses aren’t good enough. It also prevents her from being in the moment and can lead to a hesitance to engage in future interactions.

7. She Uses Self-Deprecating Humor Excessively.

Self-deprecating humor, in moderation, can be an effective way to connect with others, showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously. However, when a woman consistently makes herself the punchline, it might be a protective mechanism against potential criticism from others. By putting herself down first, she’s trying to take control of what she sees as inevitable: someone else pointing out her flaws. It’s a defensive move that, while it might get some laughs, can also perpetuate her feelings of inadequacy. Over time, this constant self-criticism, even in jest, can further erode her confidence as it solidifies a negative self-image.

8. She’s Reluctant to Share Her Ideas.

In meetings or group discussions, a woman who often hesitates to share her thoughts might be battling with self-confidence. She might believe her ideas aren’t as valuable or insightful as others’, so she keeps them to herself. This reluctance to speak up means her contributions are often missing from the conversation, and when she does speak, it might be with unnecessary qualifiers like “I’m no expert, but…” or “This might be a silly idea, but…” Such hedging is a protective shield, safeguarding her from the vulnerability of being open to critique. This behavior not only silences her voice but also robs her of opportunities to showcase her capabilities and knowledge.

9. She Is Overly Agreeable.

There’s a difference between being easy-going and being overly agreeable. A woman who always goes along with others’ opinions, decisions, or preferences—even when they counter her own—may be displaying a lack of confidence. It’s as if she’s saying her own preferences aren’t important or that going against the grain might lead to rejection or conflict, which she feels ill-equipped to handle. This constant acquiescing can eventually lead her to lose a sense of herself, as she prioritizes harmony over her own needs and wants.

10. She Withdraws from Challenges.

When faced with a potential challenge or opportunity for growth, a woman lacking in confidence might step back rather than lean in. She might avoid taking on tasks that stretch her abilities or resist pursuing advancements, like promotions or new jobs. It’s not laziness or a lack of ambition; it’s fear that she might not measure up to the challenge. Her withdrawal is a safety mechanism—by not trying, she avoids the risk of failure, but also the possibility of success. Unfortunately, this behavior can keep her stuck in a comfort zone that neither challenges nor fulfills her.

11. She Engages in Negative Self-Talk.

Listen to the way a woman talks about herself. If her conversation is peppered with comments like “I can’t do anything right” or “I always mess things up,” she’s likely struggling with self-confidence. This negative self-talk is a clear indicator that she harbors a critical inner voice that constantly tells her she’s not good enough. Such talk not only affects her mood and self-worth but also how others perceive and interact with her. Continual negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy; she might start to act in ways that align with her harsh self-assessments.

12. She Overcompensates in Relationships.

A woman who lacks confidence might often go above and beyond to please others, sometimes at her own expense. She might say yes to things she doesn’t want to do, or she might shower friends and partners with attention, gifts, or favors that aren’t reciprocated. This overcompensation can stem from a fear that she’s not enough as she is, believing that she needs to give more to be valued or loved. It’s a form of over-investment in relationships that comes from a place of insecurity, a fear of not being worthy. This behavior can be draining for her and might actually push people away, as relationships can become unbalanced. When one person is always the giver, it can create an unhealthy dynamic. It’s important for her to realize that she is valuable and deserving of love and respect without needing to prove her worth constantly.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill