Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

If you found a person to be insecure, would you not want to have much to do with them?

Asked by wundayatta (58599points) February 7th, 2010

I get the impression that people think that something is wrong with insecure people. Maybe they are too needy or take too much maintenance. l wonder if this kind of trumps everything else, so that if a person is insecure, then no matter what other talents they had, you wouldn’t have anything to do with them?

Do you steer clear of insecure people? Do you limit the time you spend with them? Why? Do you think that, in general, insecure people are not as smart or interesting as other people?

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29 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am not attracted to insecurity in people – that being said, I am not going to judge them for it because I understand how difficult life can be. I do not steer clear of insecure people unless they’re compensating for their insecurities by being complete bat droppings. I do not limit my time with them unless I figure them to be people who are not actively working on getting rid of their insecurities (I like development in people, not stagnation). I do not, whatsoever, think that insecure people are any less intelligent or smart. That’s ridiculous. Oh and I do think we’re all insecure about something or other but for some people, their insecurity doesn’t rule their life – their confidence does.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Actually, I would prefer to spend MORE time with them, but that’s mostly because I love helping people overcome things. : )

TheBlackRanger's avatar

I think we are all insecure in our own way. If you care for the person or truly love the person then they are worth dealing with a little clingy behavior, or giving them the extra attention they want.

ETpro's avatar

I don;t steer clear of them, but do realize they may be high maintenence, so if I’m considering a relationship that’s very close, I’ll need to weigh whether it’s worth it before plunging ahead.

Some of our greatest artists, actors and performers have been terribly insecure people who gave a great deal to the world around them.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t limit my interactions with casual friends who are insecure, and I have no reason to think they are less intelligent or interesting than anyone else.

That said, I would not enter into a serious relationship with one who is terribly insecure. I’ve been there, done that, and it ain’t fun. I never want to be someone’s ‘everything’ again, which is essentially how it is… their self-esteem rises or falls based entirely on me, generally. Being with someone who requires constant stroking is entirely too much work, especially when nothing I say or do will ever be enough for such a person.

Jeruba's avatar

That depends. I worked with a man once who was so needy that his conversation was nearly a constant stream of self-deprecating wisecracks, clever but oh-so-tiresome because what they said over and over was “look at me-me-me.” He managed to make everything about him, even software project team meetings, for heaven’s sake. It was just a drain on everyone’s resources because it took so much energy to withstand his incessant demands for attention and keep refocusing. His entertaining wit was not enough of a payoff for the ceaseless drag on our momentum. All of us had concerns in the project and stresses on our performance, as well as the personal things that everybody had, and he just required more of all the others than they should have had to constantly give.

Outside of meetings where I was required to interact with him, such as at company social events and casual hallway encounters, I did avoid him. And in meetings I kept a straight face at his wisecracks even when they were funny. I felt as if I were being held hostage to his insatiable need. No amount of attention I could have given would have made any difference.

Not so with friends. We freely expose our needs, bare our fears, and display our insecurities in exchange for one another’s kind support and indulgence, trusting in the reciprocity of our fellowship and long association, which is how the love of friends expresses itself, irrespective of the specific list of faults we might have. Reciprocity is the key, that and knowing enough about who you’re with to understand the other person’s limits and not ask for too much. A reasonable degree of sensitivity to one another is essential, and a self-absorbed person, whether insecure or overconfident, lacks that sensitivity.

life_after_2012's avatar

probably not. i say that because there are people in this world that let their insecurities take control of their lives.

kheredia's avatar

Frankly, I feel bad for people like that. I have a 16 year old cousin who is very insecure and very needy but when you look at her past you understand why she is this way. Her lack of a father figure and maternal affection has made her feel unimportant. I feel obligated to spend time with her and try to give her at least a minimal amount of attention. I imagine that most people who are overly insecure have had similar issues while growing up.

HTDC's avatar

“Maybe they are too needy or take too much maintenance.”

I completely disagree with that. I’m a very insecure person but I’m in no way needy or in need of maintenance. I don’t ask people to do things for me or take care of me just because I’m not as “secure” as other people.

“Do you think that, in general, insecure people are not as smart or interesting as other people?”

Whaaaat? I can’t believe anyone would assume such a thing.

Why would anyone steer clear or not have anything to do with insecure people? That would be the height of discrimination and alienation, that’s the last thing these people need.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Insecure people I’ve encountered usually demonstrate a need for constant reassurance. It gets to be quite draining reassuring someone over the same issue(s) around the 4th or 5th time.

If their issue is work related, the insecurity reveals itself by the need to repeatedly explain or show someone a task they already know. They just want to check with you to make sure they have it right. When this “checking” process pulls my attention away from what I need to do, my annoyance begins to show. Then the person feels bad about annoying me and I find myself caught once again in the “insecurity vortex”. It’s extremely frustrating having someone repeatedly exclaim, “I don’t know” while you’re friggin’ explaining it to them to them for the 25th time.

I don’t know how many times I try to convince an insecure person to have confidence in him/herself, it always seems like my words fall upon deaf ears.

It’s almost like they’re comfortable in their insecurity.

HTDC's avatar


“I don’t know how many times I try to convince an insecure person to have confidence in him/herself, it always seems like my words fall upon deaf ears.”

You can’t just tell someone to get confidence, it takes years to acquire. Of course it falls on deaf ears. If I told someone to stop being so egotistical do you think they would actually change? Insecurity isn’t a choice.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I’m not talking about people I’ve just met. I’m talking about people I’ve known for years who are just as insecure today as they were when I first met them.

As for insecurity not being a choice, you may be right; however, I used to be very insecure. I stopped being insecure when I became bored with my own sorry issues and stopped telling myself how insecure I was.

odali's avatar

noo way.. insecurity is something that is their own problem but it does not affect if they are a good person or not. I would certainly not ostracize an insecure person simply because they are insecure – and such actions would most likely add to their insecurities. Many people are insecure in different ways – for instance, a CFO would be insecure in an environment where his IT director was and vice versa.. it’s all a matter of comfort – being secure in certain situations is about just that – security, and in order to feel secure one would need to feel comfortable. Many people are socially insecure, but put them behind a computer and they will be one of the most confident people you will meet. Insecurity is such a vague and misunderstood term, at least in my book.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I think what really frustrates me about insecure people is it doesn’t have to be.

What one continually thinks about oneself is what a person is inclined to believe about himself. The ability to choose what one thinks is a blessing most of us take for granted.

So since we have this amazing ability to see ourselves however we want, why see ourselves as anything other than who we would like to be?

odali's avatar

@SABOTEUR i wish it was that easy.. an ex girlfriend of mine has serious self loathing issues.. i have tried to explain to her, herself is the best person to hate, because whatever you hate about yourself, you can change, because it is yourself and yourself is the only person you ever have control of.. it is frustrating to see someone like that, however it does happen and i would not spend less time with the person or disrespect them for it.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I said nothing about my perspective being easy.

I said, it doesn’t have to be.

When one realizes the insanity of thinking negatively about oneself when one can use the very same energy and direct it toward positive thoughts about oneself, one gets busy doing the work to “counter-program” the negative garbage/thought patterns we’ve become comfortable with.

You would perform a greater service to the insecure person by not feeding into anyone else’ negativity. The “truth”, as I see it, is you’re not insecure…or ugly or poor or any other negative label you choose to unwittingly assign to yourself. I will not address you in that manner and I will not allow you to negate yourself in my presence.

There are plenty of other people ready and willing to validate what a sorry excuse for a human being you are. I just don’t happen to be one of them.

odali's avatar

I believe you are taking what i said personally and it was not meant to be, more of a general statement, and in agreement with you.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Nahhh….just the way I speak.
(I was using “you” figuratively.)

odali's avatar

oh, okay good. haha, meant no offence by what i said.

SABOTEUR's avatar

No offense taken, my friend.

whatthefluther's avatar

I agree with @SABOTEUR . Having had insecurities and overcome them, I will go out of my way to assist someone who is insecure, once and perhaps a second time. But, I have little patience and if I feel there is no progress and they have no interest in making progress, they are a drain of my time and energy. If I can pull them up and they are pushing, great….but I will not let them drag me down and waste my time. See ya….Gary (aka wtf)

wundayatta's avatar

@SABOTEUR and @Jeruba Interesting points to me. I try very hard to have reciprocal relationships. Perhaps I even try to bank a bunch of good will before the need for attention becomes overwhelming. I think I used to do that a lot more, but in the last few years, I got switched around, so now I’m pretty sure the balance is the wrong way, and people are getting tired of it.

Of course the worst thing is that I know when I’m asking for someone to support me (such as now) and therefore I know that any support would be under duress, and that it wouldn’t count. I used to stop myself from doing it. Then I got into the self-deprecating thing, which seemed to work – all too well, in fact, which made me even more critical of myself and blah blah blah.

Oh well, it’s the only way I know how to be funny. It’s got that going for it. It’s a weird thing. Then again, everything about my thinking is upside down these days. Maybe I should be standing on my head all the time?

Sophief's avatar

I’m insecure and if people don’t want to speak to me then I don’t care. I’d rather keep to myself.

TheJoker's avatar

I cant say I find insecure people high maintenance…. if anything they tend to be overly eager to please & so make things easier. Obviously this does change a little the more involved you become.

Silhouette's avatar

Insecure people don’t bother me, whiners on the other hand annoy the shit out of me. I have a friend who is very insecure and very needy, we have been friends for 27 years, this is how we do it. When it’s just his insecurity and neediness we are dealing with it’s my pleasure to be there for him. When he is wallowing in self pity I give him the “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” “Then don’t do that!” speech and tell him to get a grip.

wundayatta's avatar

@Silhouette I like that. It seems like a very respectful way to deal with someone who is insecure.

Silhouette's avatar

@wundayatta & @SABOTEUR Thanks, it works for us.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am not a fan of people who are very insecure. We all have our insecurities but there does come a point when dealing with people who are overly insecure (ie: needy) is very hard work. That being said, I work with someone who is extremely insecure and I have worked out a way of bringing her out of her shell which makes her much easier to work with. When she is talking about her Indian upbringing and culture she is the most confident person and seeing as I find her conversations about India very interesting I am more than happy for her to talk about that for hours. She is in her comfort zone here and does not appear to be so insecure. I like the girl and so I would never not be her friend just because she is insecure, that would be cruel and judgemental I think. I find her to be very intelligent and wish she realised how interesting this makes her but she is so worried about losing friends and people not liking her that sometimes the side of her that I find very interesting doesn’t shine through.

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