It’s perfectly normal for people to have some level of concern regarding what others think of them. We’ve all heard of “peer pressure,” right? That’s when an individual feels a lot of social pressure to act a certain way or engage in a certain behavior, and the main reason they feel that pressure is because they don’t want others to think less of them. Peer pressure can lead people to do some pretty terrible things but most of the time, people end up feeling peer pressure as a result of something harmless, like claiming that they like a certain kind of music that they don’t really care for or going to a social gathering they really don’t want to attend.
A certain measure of concern about what others think of you can be beneficial, especially in cases where you are trying to make a good impression as part of your obligations, like performing well on the job to please your boss. There are other times, however, when people place far too much importance on what other people think. We’re all individuals and we all have our own unique quirks, habits, and styles, and we’re not being fair to ourselves when we worry too much or berate ourselves over something we do just because we think others will not approve of. Have you noticed any of the following things that may be telling you that you care too much about what others think of you?
1. You Hesitate to Be Spontaneous
Some of us are spontaneous and some of us are not, but just about everyone has a few spontaneous moments in their life when an idea hits them or when something pops into their mind that they want to say. If you find yourself over-analyzing too many things you want to do because you are afraid you will experience disapproval from others, you are probably concerning yourself too much with what people think of you. Letting those worries stop you from doing things you want will tend to wear you down after a while, and you may find yourself afraid to speak up even when you and those around you could really benefit from hearing what you have to say.
2. You Adapt to Fit in With Those Around You
Almost everyone has groups of friends that may differ a bit with regard to favorite activities or things they like to talk about, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with hanging out with different circles of friends and doing the things they like to do. That can become a problem when the things they like to do are not things you like to do. If you are always “going along to get along” when it comes to doing things with friends, you may be placing too much importance on fitting in where you may not belong just to please others. Spending time with others does not mean you should have to stop being yourself.
3. Somebody is Always Talking About You
Or at least you think they are. We all must accept the fact that people do talk about us once in a while. We hope it’s mostly good things that are being said about us, but at the same time, we all have to realize that’s not always the case. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? That might be a good attitude to have in this circumstance, but there are people that take things too far in the other direction. It’s a bad sign when you find yourself devoting too much thought to what you think others may be saying about you. That kind of thing can develop into an all-consuming obsession that can easily result in lost friendships and social isolation.
4. You Do Things You Don’t Want to Do
Have you been coming home from a night out with friends wishing you had not gone out at all? Those things are bound to happen from time to time, but if you find yourself in that situation on a regular basis, it may be because you are putting yourself out too much to please other people. One danger of this type of behavior is creating false expectations. If you agree to go to the opera with a friend just to please that person even if you hate the opera, that person will probably end up thinking you enjoy it as much as they do and expect that you will become a dependable companion for those kinds of events. Then there’s the fact that you are just miserable doing things you really don’t enjoy or even really hate, and that can make you pretty miserable.
5. You’re Afraid to Say What You Really Think
We all know people who are outspoken and are never afraid to blurt out what’s on their mind. On the other hand, we have people who tend to keep their thoughts to themselves and are more concerned about offending others or becoming involved in an argument. While there’s nothing wrong with being concerned for the feelings of others and wishing to avoid offending someone, some people can become over-sensitized to the idea that the things they say will upset or anger another person. At times it serves us very well to speak our mind, and much of the time the consequences are not as bad as you might expect. Keeping too much to yourself can lead others to make false assumptions about you and you could develop a reputation as someone who is easy to push around.
6. You Obsess About Things People Say To You
Everyone experience what might be described as a “slip of the tongue” every once in a while. People say things out of anger or carelessness that they really do not mean and others can easily take offense. Sure, it’s normal to feel a little hurt or angry when someone says something about you that you don’t like. However, if you find yourself obsessing or ruminating all the time about it even when that person sincerely apologizes and you are sure they did not mean what they said, that’s a sure sign that you care too much about what others think. Learn to let things like that go. You’ll be happier in the long run and will probably have better relationships with your friends.