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Confidence is an attractive trait that many aspire to have, but not everyone who appears confident is truly secure within themselves. In fact, some individuals mask their deep-seated insecurities with a veneer of overconfidence.


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Here are ten tell-tale signs of a person who is deeply insecure but pretends to be confident:

Overly Competitive Attitude

An insecure person might constantly turn everything into a competition. They feel a need to come out on top in every situation to validate their self-worth.

The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown is a must-read for those who want to embrace their true selves and let go of the need for constant competition.

Dominating Conversations

They often dominate conversations, not allowing others to get a word in. This can be a defense mechanism to cover up their insecurities by controlling the narrative.

To better understand communication patterns, consider reading How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships” by Leil Lowndes.


An insecure person may strive for perfection in an attempt to avoid criticism. They believe that being perfect is the only way to be worthy of respect.

Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown provides insight into why vulnerability is more powerful than trying to appear perfect.

Constantly Seeking Validation

They may seem confident, but they’re always fishing for compliments or seeking validation from others to reassure themselves.

Sensitive to Criticism

Despite a confident exterior, an insecure person takes criticism very personally and may react defensively.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz offers wisdom on how to handle criticism without losing your sense of self.

Exaggerating Accomplishments

They may exaggerate their achievements or talents in order to impress others and hide feelings of inadequacy.

Aggressive or Bullying Behavior

Sometimes, insecure individuals may resort to aggressive behavior or bullying to make themselves feel more powerful or in control.

The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job” by Gary Namie and Ruth Namie is an excellent resource for understanding and dealing with such behavior.

Fluctuating Self-Esteem

Their self-esteem seems to fluctuate dramatically, often depending on their latest successes or failures.

Unwarranted Jealousy

An insecure person who pretends to be confident may exhibit intense jealousy, as they are constantly comparing themselves to others.

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David can help readers navigate through complex emotions like jealousy.

Overemphasis on Material Success

They may place excessive importance on material success and luxury as a way to gain respect and show their worth.

Recognizing these signs is the first step toward understanding the complex nature of human self-esteem and confidence. If you see these behaviors in someone you know, or even in yourself, it’s not too late to seek change.

The Self Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem” by Barbara Markway and Celia Ampel provides practical steps to build genuine confidence and self-esteem.