The Mating Grounds

Overcoming Approval-Seeking Behavior: How to Build Self-Confidence and Healthy Relationships

Understanding Approval-Seeking Behavior

Have you ever found yourself seeking the approval of others in order to feel good about yourself? You are not alone.

Approval-seeking behavior is when individuals go out of their way to seek validation from others in order to feel good about themselves. It can be a result of anxiety, fear, stress, or a need for validation.

In this article, we will explore the causes of approval-seeking behavior, and how it manifests in relationships.

Causes of Approval-Seeking Behavior

Approval-seeking behavior is not just a quirk or personality trait, but it is usually rooted in deeper psychological and emotional issues. Some of the most common reasons why individuals seek approval include anxiety, fear, stress, validation, rejection, loneliness, self-esteem, childhood, and identity.

Anxiety, fear, and stress are the most common causes of approval-seeking behavior. People who suffer from irrational fears or social anxiety seek approval to feel calmer and more secure.

They believe that gaining approval from others around them will help them to reduce these feelings of anxiousness and go about their day-to-day lives with less worry. Validation and rejection are two sides of the same coin and can have a profound impact on the psyche of individuals.

Many people feel the need to seek validation from others in order to feel good about themselves. They believe that if others approve of them, it means they are worthy of love and respect.

On the other hand, individuals who fear rejection may seek approval as a way to avoid being rejected or failing at something they feel strongly about. Loneliness can also be a cause of approval-seeking behavior.

Many people who feel unheard or unseen by the people in their lives, may seek approval in order to feel a sense of belonging and connection. This need to belong and feel important is not unique to a particular generation or culture.

Low self-esteem can often be linked to approval-seeking behaviour. Individuals who struggle with low self-esteem may feel inadequate or unworthy of love and respect.

They seek approval from others to feel a sense of self-worth and confidence in themselves. Childhood experiences can also have a significant impact on an individual’s need for approval.

Individuals who were often criticized or blamed in their childhood may grow up feeling like they are not good enough. They may seek approval to avoid being criticized or blamed for anything they do.

Sense of identity is the last reason why individuals seek approval. The rise of social media has made it increasingly easy for people to seek validation and approval from the world around them.

People rely upon their followers’ approval to gain a sense of self-worth and self-validation.

Approval-Seeking Behavior in Relationships

Approval-seeking behavior often rears its ugly head in intimate relationships. People may seek approval from their partner for various reasons, including validation, permission, self-worth, esteem, and opinions.

Many individuals seek validation from their partner in order to feel safe and comfortable in the relationship. They want to know that their partner is happy with them and that they are doing everything right.

This can stem from insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. Permission-seeking is another form of approval-seeking behavior common to relationships.

Individuals may feel the need to seek permission from their partner before making decisions, in order to be sure that they are not making a mistake. This can grow out of a fear of making decisions that may create conflict, or simply an innate sense of obligation towards their partner.

Self-worth is another common reason why individuals seek approval from their partner. They want to know that they are valued and appreciated while being with their partner.

This need for reassurance can come from an individual’s past experiences, both in relationships and life in general. Finally, individuals may seek opinions from their partner as a way to gauge how they should act or what they should do.

They often lack confidence in their own judgment and rely on their partner to help them make decisions. This can be harmful to a relationship as it diminishes autonomy and equality.



In conclusion, approval-seeking behavior is a complicated subject that is often rooted in deeper emotional and psychological issues. Understanding the cause of approval-seeking behavior can help individuals recognize when they are engaging in this behavior and how to work through it.

Additionally, awareness of this behavior can help individuals build healthier relationships, with greater autonomy and equality, while also cultivating their self-confident in who they are as individuals. Remember to stay true to yourself, rather than seeking external validation from others.

Identifying Attention-Seeking Behavior

Attention-seeking behavior can manifest in many different ways and can have a significant impact on our relationships and self-esteem. It is important to recognize the signs of attention-seeking behavior in ourselves and others in order to work towards healthier relationships and a stronger sense of self-worth.

In this article, we will explore the signs of attention-seeking behavior, and how it can be identified within different contexts and scenarios.

Fear of Saying No

One common sign of attention-seeking behavior is the fear of saying no. Seeking validation and approval from others can often lead to discomfort or fear in saying no when someone asks for a favor or help.

Individuals may feel compelled to say yes in order to avoid disappointing or upsetting the person who is asking, even if it means taking upon additional mental or physical stress or depression. However, this behavior can often lead to frustration and anger, which can be detrimental to both the individual and their relationships.

Taking Arguments Personally

Another sign of attention-seeking behavior is taking arguments personally, even when a disagreement does not directly criticize them. Individuals who take arguments personally might become emotionally reactive when certain things are said or feel insulted due to disagreement in values.

This behavior can be a sign of deeply rooted sensitivity and low self-esteem, causing individuals to view a different opinion from their own as a blatant insult to their sense of self-worth.

Constantly Changing Principles

Changing one’s principles is another sign of attention-seeking behavior, and this behavior is often rooted in the desire to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Individuals who constantly change their principles and values in order to showcase themselves as unique or to be the odd one out, often signal a lack of true values and reasoning, and prioritizing the need to be seen as different instead of being a true representation of themselves.

Changing Point of View when Disapproved

Similarly, another sign of attention-seeking behavior is changing one’s point of view when they know their opinions are disapproved of by someone else. Individuals who often change their minds to accommodate others’ opinions are showing a sign of seeking validation from others.

They need to hear others to validate themselves, which can lead to a lack of confidence and a weak sense of self. Making Friends with Someone Who Isn’t on the Same Page

Seeking relationships with the wrong people and making friendships with those who do not share similar views and values can be a sign of attention-seeking behavior.

Individuals who do this often do so to feel unique or different. While it is important to value individuality and uniqueness, being friends with those who disrespect your views and values can lead to a lack of self-worth and self-respect.

Pretending to Know Something in a Gathering

Individuals who pretend to know something when they do not can be a sign of attention-seeking behavior. They might pretend to know certain things to impress others and earn validation or approval from them.

However, this behavior can lead to feeling insecure and can damage one’s reputation in the long run as they may become infamous for faking their knowledge.

Trying to be Unique

Trying to be unique is another sign of attention-seeking behavior. Attempting to stand out might be consuming energy and causing one to lose their individuality.

True individuality lies in being authentic rather than trying to become unique.

Needing to Prove Yourself

Needing to prove yourself to others can be indicative of attention-seeking behavior. This behavior often stems from a lack of self-worth or a feeling of being inferior to others.

While it is normal to want to be valued by others, it is essential to remember that our sense of worth comes from us alone and not from anybody else.

Avoiding Conflicts with Everyone

Individuals who tend to avoid conflicts with everyone might be exhibiting attention-seeking behavior to avoid disagreeing with others. Avoiding conflicts often results from fear or insecurity, which prevents emotional growth and learning, resulting in frustration and depression in the individual.

Doing Things for Recognition

Doing things for recognition can also be a sign of attention-seeking behavior. Individuals who do things purely for recognition or validation from others are likely to feel a lack of self-worth and self-esteem.

However, true self-worth and self-esteem will result from doing things for oneself or the benefit of others, without needing validation.

Overcoming the Need for Approval-Seeking Behavior

Acknowledging and addressing attention-seeking behavior is essential in developing healthy relationships and improving one’s self-esteem. Here’s how to work towards overcoming the need for approval-seeking behavior:

Understanding that Seeking Approval Won’t Help

The best way to address the issue of attention-seeking behavior is to recognize that seeking validation from others will not be a long-term solution.

Understanding that external validation serves a temporary purpose and will not last might help reframe the issue.

Accepting that No One is Perfect

Everyone has flaws and making mistakes is an inevitable part of life, which should be accepted. Accepting flaws and embracing imperfections make individuals authentic and unique.

Getting to the Root of the Attention-Seeking Behavior

Getting to the root of the need for attention and approval can help individuals identify the root cause, which might be from past experiences, rejection or self-image that leads to behaviors like attention-seeking.

Believing in Yourself

Believing in oneself is an essential aspect of overcoming the need for approval-seeking behavior, which stems from self-worth, pride, principles, and self-esteem.

Confronting Issues

Confronting the issues that caused the need for approval-seeking behavior head-on can help individuals find healing rather than suppressing issues or ignoring tasks.

Learning to Accept Criticism and Rejection

Learning to accept criticism and rejection is an important part of growing emotionally and personally. Rejection and criticism can be growth experiences.

Criticism or rejection is not a reflection of the person they are or the individual they will become.

Examples of Attention-Seeking Behavior

Attention-seeking behavior can manifest in many different ways and can be difficult to recognize at times. Understanding the signs of attention-seeking behavior can help individuals identify it within themselves and others.

Here are some examples of attention-seeking behavior that are common among people:


One common form of attention-seeking behavior is seeking frequent compliments from others. Individuals who are constantly seeking compliments may do so in order to boost their self-esteem, which can lead to dependence on external validation to feel good about oneself.


Apologizing more frequently than one needs to be another way of drawing attention. People who apologize more than necessary, even for minor things, often seek validation from others by wanting reassurance and attention.


Going out of one’s way, being subservient, and always being overly cooperative are attention-seeking traits that can manifest as submission. Individuals who act submissive often do so to seek validation and avoid conflict.

While it can represent goodwill, attention-seeking behaviors show that a person puts others’ feelings first to gain their approval.


Another example of attention-seeking behavior is constantly sharing opinions on various topics, even when it is not necessary. Individuals who frequently enjoy sharing their opinions with others, whether they are informed or not, seek to stand out or gain validation.

The individual’s behavior is often motivated by a desire to be seen as knowledgeable or wise, more so than humble listening in a conversation.

Narcissistic Behavior vs Seeking Validation

It is essential to distinguish between attention-seeking behavior and narcissistic traits. Self-validation is healthy and necessary, while excessively seeking admiration from others is considered narcissistic behavior.

Narcissistic individuals often display traits of entitlement, grandiosity, lack of empathy, manipulative behavior, and are prone to taking credit for others’ achievements. Narcissistic behavior is a disorder that often causes problematic relationships and impacts individuals’ well-being.

On the other hand, seeking validation is a normal human behavior that requires realizing a balance between external and internal validation. People often validate their self-worth and esteem by relying on positive feedback from friends and family.

Accepting compliments and validation from others is an essential part of social interaction, while seeking it regularly is concerning.

Overcoming Attention-Seeking Behavior

Overcoming attention-seeking behavior requires significant internal work. Here are some ways to overcome attention-seeking behavior:

– Practice self-love and self-care.

Learning to appreciate and take care of oneself is important in finding self-worth and valuing oneself. – Build relationships with genuine intention and care.

Surround oneself with people who value one’s company, and cherish time spent with them. – Seek professional help.

If the issues behind the attention-seeking behavior are rooted in deep emotional pain or trauma, a professional therapist or counselor can provide guidance on how to work through that pain. – Be present and mindful.

Hygiene, personal grooming, and physical appearance may help one feel better about themselves and break the cycle of attention-seeking behaviors. – Take criticism constructively and Learn from mistakes.

Taking criticism aimlessly is unproductive; learning from failures and criticism is productive as it helps one grow stronger and more resilient.


Attention-seeking behavior is a common trait that can manifest in various ways. Still, when this behavior becomes unhealthy, it can negatively impact personal relationships and self-worth.

Recognizing the signs of attention-seeking behavior and distinguishing it from narcissistic behavior is essential in working towards a healthier and more satisfying life. Building up self-love, seeking professional help, and accepting feedback from genuine relationships are tips to overcome attention-seeking behavior and gain more self-respect and self-worth.

Takeaway: How to Overcome Approval-Seeking Behavior

Approval-seeking behavior can be a challenging pattern to break, but it is essential to living a full and happy life. Seeking external validation can cause anxiety, fear, and stress, leading to negative impacts on mental health and relationships.

Here are some practical ways to overcome approval-seeking behavior:

1. Identify Triggers

To overcome approval-seeking behavior, it is important to identify the situations that trigger the need for validation.

Once identified, individuals can try to avoid those situations or confront them. Understanding the triggers can also help individuals prepare for their interactions better.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness practice can help individuals learn to be present and grounded in the moment.

Meditation and mindfulness techniques can be helpful in developing self-awareness and self-compassion while reducing stress and anxiety. 3.

Focus on Your Interests

Engage in activities that interest and excite you. Focusing on personal hobbies and interests can help reduce the need for external validation.

Pursuing one’s interests and practicing one’s talents builds self-esteem, which assists in overcoming the need for validation from others. 4.

Address Underlying Issues

Seek counseling or therapy to address underlying issues that might cause the need for approval seeking behavior. Counseling can help individuals identify and address unresolved emotional pain from the past that contributes to current behavior patterns.

5. Practice Assertiveness

Learning to be assertive is key to overcoming the need for approval- seeking behavior.

This involves learning to express oneself honestly and

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