6 Signs You Care Too Much About What Others Think

This being true to your whole self — this individuation — isn’t easy. It takes courage and perseverance, but in the long run it feels better. And for many people, bringing their unique offerings to the world is what gives their life meaning.

It’s very human to want to be liked. Isolation is dangerous for our mental health. But if you betray yourself to get people to like you, that causes problems that are at least as bad if not worse. Let’s look at some signs that you worry too much what others think about you.

1. You do things you don’t want to do and you resent it.
2. You no longer (or never did) really know what you want.
3. You’re afraid to say what you really believe.
4. You spend time with people you don’t like or you avoid people out of fear.
5. You struggle to make your own decisions.
6. You imagine that people are upset with you when they really aren’t.

Here’s why it’s a problem:

Deep inside of us, along with our need to be liked, we also have a need to be authentic, to think and live in our own unique way. Nature made us this way so that we could think critically and develop creative solutions rather than rushing headlong over a cliff with the rest of the herd. If we all thought alike the human race would have died out long ago.

As Bertrand Russell wrote,

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

We thrive when we get along with others, and think and act independently at the same time. If you aren’t doing both, you’re out of balance, and your psyche will complain about it with either depression (“No one likes me.”) or anxiety (“I have to get them to like me”). These are often warning signs, and if not heeded, things can get really bad. That’s why it’s dangerous to worry too much what others think about you.