10 Actions We Take Out of Our Fear of Not Being Liked

The New Age, I'm-such-a-fabulous-listener gaze.

Do you yearn to be liked, but often try too hard out of fear of NOT being liked?

WHY IS IT when we want to appear strong and important in the eyes of another person, we engage in self-compromising behaviors that actually diminish our authenticity?

A familiar scenario. Two women friends find themselves together at a social gathering: the younger woman dressed in blue, the older in red. Blue Dress is eager to impress. After exchanging hellos, Blue Dress compliments the red dress worn by the older woman, even while thinking it hideously fancy for this event. Trying to appear concerned, Blue Dress then asks Red Dress how her daughter is doing after her surgery, although she doesn’t know the daughter or genuinely care. Red Dress describes the surgical procedure in gorey detail, as Blue Dress gazes at her with that tilted-head New Age I’m-such-a-great-listener-look, while scrutinizing the older woman’s complexion, wondering if she’d had botox recently. Red Dress finally takes a breath and begins to gossip about their mutual friend who’s having an affair with the neighbor’s husband. Before the two women part to mingle with others, Blue Dress explains at length why she’s not called Red Dress lately and promises to soon, even while dreading the thought.

Undoubtedly, both women have much to offer the other in the way of affection and positive regard if only each would let go of her approval-seeking persona. Guy Finley states, “The general rule of thumb is that the more you demand or crave the respect of others, the less likely you are to receive it.”

This list of behaviors comes from a book entitled The Essential Laws of Fearless Living, written by popular author and teacher, Guy Finley.

Ten Self-Compromising Actions We Take Out of Our Need to Seek Approval From Others

1. Fawning before people to win their favor.

2. Expressing contrived concern for someone’s well-being.

3. Making small talk to cover up nervousness.

4. Hanging onto someone’s every word.

5. Looking for someone’s approval.

6. Asking if someone is angry with you.

7. Fishing for a kind word.

8. Trying to impress someone.

9. Gossiping.

10. Explaining yourself to someone.

Print this list for yourself and keep it close. It’s a natural human behavior to want to be approved by others, but it’s all too easy to try to do so in artificial ways that prevent us from connecting on an authentic level. As Guy Finley says, stop trying to be seen as strong. Instead, catch yourself about to act from weakness.

Let me know what you think of the list! Maybe you’ve thought of additional actions we take in our attempt to be liked and appear strong and in charge to others.


  1. Heather- A good list; I will keep it in mind. Just to let you know that we are traveling to CC tomorrow thru Sunday. I’ll let you know the results when I get back.

  2. I do not like this post. I suppose others will not like this post. This post makes me feel very squirmy. And I think it will make others feel squirmy. I do not like the list. I will print a list. I will post it but I will be removing 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10. 😉 This is tough…good and tough. Thank you. I needed this waaaaay more that I realized….hence the squirminess.

  3. Toni Lee says:

    Number 10 fits me perfectly. I don’t know why I have to explain myself to everyone. I even explain myself to people I have just met, basically complete strangers. Then their first impression is that I’m insecure.

    • Heather says:

      Toni! Thank you for your comment–it made me smile. At least you’re familiar with your habit pattern and it’s an easy one to change. Good luck with that. 🙂

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