Insecurity is one of the worst aspects of the human condition, and it's also one of the most common. Whether it's due to other people telling us we're not enough, or due to some innate issue that just always seems to be there, most of us have struggled with insecurity.
The funny thing about insecurity is that it's really easy to think that you're the only one in the world who feels that way. It's an illusion, of course, but a powerful one that can make you feel alone, angry, and isolated.
When I first started my foray into the workforce, I was terrified. I was working in a New York City office filled with glamorous-looking people and was literally the only one there without a college degree. I tried, perhaps too hard, to make friends.
The people at the office noticed my insecurities, and rather than boost me up, did everything possible to hurt me even more. It was then that a new hire who was also on the office clique's bad side pointed something out to me: They wouldn't be excluding me if they felt confident in themselves.
Ever since then, I've started to work on noticing the why behind what people do—and realized that many awful actions are done by people who are not happy with themselves, or are otherwise insecure.
Are you wondering where a person stands in terms of their mental health, what causes someone to act a certain way, or whether they feel confident around you? Have you been lately feeling like writing an open letter to the insecure ones, composed in block ink for all the world to see? Watch for things confident people never do, and you'll quickly figure out what's up.
Flaunting Friends and "In-Crowd" Behavior
One of the biggest things I've noticed is that the people who are loneliest are often the very same people who have a need to brag about their friends. If the people around you need to boast about all the parties you're not invited to, they are probably very insecure.
Though it's not one of the things confident people never do, it is way more common in insecure people than it is with people who are satisfied with their social lives. After all, if you really had a good social life, you wouldn't have to talk about it all the time. It'd just be there.
While most of the things confident people never do involve lashing out or other similar behaviors, one of the most common signs of an insecure person is their inability to say no. This is also known as "doormatting," because they allow people to walk all over them.
The idea behind this is that people who are doormats are "nice," and they're hoping that people will like them more if they're more agreeable.
Tearing Down Others' Accomplishments
Did you ever see someone who literally couldn't stand hearing a person celebrate their accomplishments? The reason why that person behaves that way is obvious; they feel insecure about their own accomplishments and need to feel better about themselves by putting others down.
I remember when I was at a gym and talking to an acquaintance. At the time, I was telling them about a major milestone in my career—actually getting a full-time job.
My first full-time job in New York was a major stepping stone for me, and I was very proud of it. The person I told this to snidely remarked, "Well, that's great, but anyone can do that, right?"
The person who told me this, mind you, was a housewife who hadn't worked since college. I never spoke to her again, simply because I didn't want that negativity in my life.
Attention-seeking behavior is one of the most telling signs of insecurity, and while most people would say that this isn't a serious sign, I honestly think it is. Conveying confidence is one thing, but if a person is acting out in an attention-seeking way, they are really not doing well emotionally.
In most cases I've seen, attention-seeking behavior is a serious cry for help that often comes before someone completely loses their ability to function in life. I'll go so far as to say that the person who acts the loudest in any room tends to be the one that is the most insecure.
Being a Bully
Hurt people hurt people.
When a person goes out of their way to bully others or get others to turn against someone, that's usually a sign of a deep-seated insecurity on the bully's behalf. A bully is someone who is often really not happy with themselves, and therefore has to act out by tearing others down to feel better about their lives.
Confident people never do this because they don't see a need to tear others down; they're happy with themselves. From what I've seen, bullies have a deep void in themselves that they often don't even know they have.
All this does not, and never will, excuse the pain bullying and mean girl-ing causes. While I wouldn't tell others to pity a bully, I would tell others that the bully in question probably should seek help.
"Cloystering" is what I call withdrawal from social activities and refusing to go out and meet people. I shouldn't really need to explain why this is one of those things confident people never do.
This is an act that's driven out of fear. Insecure people fear rejection and would often rather just avoid interaction altogether than risk it. People who are confident with themselves don't mind rejection—or, if they're seriously confident, won't care if people reject them at all.
Keep a Deathgrip on Control
Let's talk about bullying for a minute, shall we? Bullying is a phenomenon that happens when people need to tear down others in order to make themselves feel better about themselves. But, there's more to it than just that alone.
Bullying is a form of establishing control.
Insecure people feel a need to control others because of how out of control they feel. Confident people don't need to exert control on others because they can roll with the punches—or because they honestly don't care enough about controlling others to bother.
Anyone who has taken a quick trip into the dating scene can tell you about this sign of insecurity. There's a reason you see all the older, fatter, balding men out there flashing money as a way to try to attract women to them.
A person who relies on throwing around money to attract people around them is a person who feels they have nothing else to offer in a friendship. It's sad, but it's true.
That's why you will often see wealthy guys trying to pick up girls by showing off a fancy watch, talking about their yacht, or dropping $400 on a meal for two. They simply don't feel like they're adequate.
Have you ever met a person who has a tendency of dating people who are way below the standard that other people think they could get? Do they do this repeatedly? Chances are that they are showing signs that they feel insecure around their partner, and are legitimately an insecure person who really doesn't feel like they can get any better.
There's a reason why people joke about picking up "hotties with self-esteem issues." Confident people never do this because they know their value and would rather wait for the right one than settle for anyone.
Encouraging Others to Fail
One of the reasons I prefer confident people is the fact that confident people never do this—and this is truly one of the most toxic behaviors you can engage in as a human being.
Insecure people don't like to see others doing as well as they are, and absolutely detest anyone who does better than they do in life. As a result, they will do anything and everything to make sure that others fail at life.
This could include things like refusing to stop offering a dieter food, encouraging people to quit their pursuit of jobs, or, more dangerously, encouraging others to stay in toxic relationships.