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Q&A: Why are people turned off by lack of confidence?

IBM 26 on/off switch

Question: Why are people turned off by lack of confidence?
Like… if you show any lack of confidence.. it makes people suddenly not want to talk to you anymore..

When I saw this question it felt like the guy asking it had seen this happen too often. It felt like he was having a tough time. It felt like he was wondering what was wrong with him.

Nothing.

There’s nothing wrong with him.

It’s just that sometimes, people are selfish idiots.

Evidence suggests that people are more attracted to confident people, so it doesn’t seem much of a stretch to see how people could be turned off by a lack of confidence. We also know that we’re steered in all kinds of way by our unconscious biases, this being just one of them. But picking apart those biases feels like a distraction from the heart of the question—this one man’s experience.

The chain of events in the question goes something like this: (1) you have a lack of confidence, (2) you show this lack of confidence to someone else, (3) someone else doesn’t like what they see, (4) someone else decides not to talk to you.

You have no control over 3 and 4. You can’t control what people will think or decide is best for them.

It’s in how you approach 1 and 2 that you can make some huge shifts.

Everyone lacks confidence somewhere in their lives

You can be confident socially but not so confident with intimacy. You can be confident in your work but not confident in your friendships. Experiencing a lack of confidence somewhere doesn’t mean that you don’t “have confidence”. It just means that you have the opportunity to practice growing and stretching in a particular direction (if indeed that direction is something that matters to you).

Don’t think that a lack of confidence is a problem

It isn’t. It’s just a thing that happens from time to time. You are not a lack of confidence. That’s not who you are. You have strengths, talents, experiences, values and hopes that make you way more than the sum of your parts.

Showing a lack of confidence is a brave thing to do

The difference between allowing yourself to be vulnerable and undermining yourself in pursuit of self-protection is huge. The first is brave, the second is life-limiting. You can open to someone or share something that makes you feel vulnerable, but that is categorically not a lack of confidence. In fact, confidence is the quality that makes it easier to be vulnerable, because you know you’ll be good enough, no matter what happens.

Other peoples judgements aren’t truth

Some people will judge you harshly. Too quiet. Too timid. Too weird. Some people will judge you positively. Great energy. Very capable. Good looking. Others won’t judge you at all, because they’re wrapped up in their own stuff and you’re somewhere on their periphery. However you feature in their judgements is all down to their perception, which is down to the stories they tell themselves, which are focused on making sure they’re safe in the world. You’re under no obligation to taking those judgements as truth.

Showing up and demonstrating who you are through your actions is everything

Holding back because you’re afraid that someone will judge you or decide that they don’t want to talk with you will fuel feelings of not being good enough. Show up in the ways that are meaningful for you and spend time with the people who allow you to do that.

And my last words to go you, if you’re the type of person who walks away when you see someone who seems to lack confidence.

Have a little compassion. Think about how you can leave the room better than when you entered. Don’t be such a selfish prick.

Comments

  1. Victor Benjamin says:

    Great article Steve

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