Home Personal development Do You Suffer From Approval Addiction? 10 Signs To Look For

Do You Suffer From Approval Addiction? 10 Signs To Look For

by Vidya Sury April 2, 2023 4 comments
Do you suffer from approval addiction?

As humans, we are wired to seek validation from others and when we get it, we feel good. But for some people, it feels so good that they develop approval addiction. Instead of finding motivation from within, they constantly look for others’ approval.

If you can’t find motivation without someone else’s approval, you probably suffer from approval addiction.

In her book, “Like Me or Not: How to Overcome Approval Addiction” author Dawn M. Owens lists some characteristic traits of approval addicts:

  • Are you overly concerned about what others think of you?
  • Do you have trouble recognizing your own needs?
  • Do you say “yes” when you really want to say “no”?
  • Do you have difficulty expressing opinions contrary to those you are close to?
  • Does your happiness hinge on the approval of others?

Approval addiction leads to a lack of self-esteem. The person stops being responsible for their lives and defines their worth solely on what others think of them.

It is quite likely that growing up, someone with approval addiction may have had an overly critical parent or someone who gave them conditional love, someone who rewarded them based on specific behaviors. They only received love when they did something—and not for just being.

People with approval addiction tend to become over-achievers because they are never satisfied by what they accomplish, simply because they don’t feel validated as individuals—but only for something they did or someone they tried to become.

When suffering from approval addiction, there is never any satisfaction. There is always another mountain to climb, another goal to achieve, or someone else to compete with. Sadly, they seek validation from accolades rather than recognize their own worth.

do you suffer from approval addiction

Here are 10 ways to recognize approval addiction

1. You Are Obsessed with Getting People to Express Interest in You

You like being on social media, dating sites, or in any situation where you can attract people and get their attention by having them express interest in you. You may even find it hard to settle down with a partner because you prefer the dating world more than the partnered-up world.

2. You Need Constant Reassurance

When you are in a relationship, you keep asking your significant other whether they’re “mad” or “upset” with you. This may happen with lovers and friends, and even family members daily. If you often ask for reassurance about how someone feels about you, this may be due to a validation or approval addiction.

3. You Keeps Talking About How Awesome You Are

This may be weird, especially if you lack confidence. But sometimes people who aren’t confident will talk about all the impressive things they’ve done to appear more worthy than they think they are. They hope that the people hearing the tale will agree and validate their thoughts about their awesomeness even though they don’t generally believe it themselves.

4. You Tend To Be Money Focused

If you tend to think more about money than the value you provide the world, you may have a problem with approval-seeking that is bordering on an addiction. Of course, money is important globally, but it’s not the only thing important about you or anyone else.

5. You Enjoy Name Dropping

A sure sign of insecurity is when you find yourself dropping names of people you’ve worked with or met that other people find important. You shouldn’t need to make yourself look better by the company you keep. You are special just as you are without anyone else.

6. You Make Friends with Folks Based on Their Wealth or Reputation

When you look at your closest friend group, are they really your friends, or did you pick them based on what you think they can offer you? Friends should be chosen based on shared values—not shared finances.

7. You Have People-Pleasing Tendencies

If you’re not consistent about your ideas and opinions across all friend and professional groups that you are part of, and you may be trying to please people too much. It’s okay to have your own fact-based ideas, thoughts, and opinions, and it’s okay for everyone else too. It’s also okay not to have any views or opinions about a topic you’re not educated enough about.

Also read: That BS called people-pleasing

8. You Want To Be in Control of Every Social Situation

When it comes to networking and making friends or building relationships, if you need to be the one in control of the event before you feel comfortable, you may have an issue with approval addiction.

Letting other people oversee social situations and relationship building may seem scary because your self-esteem is low but letting people lead is a clear sign that you are confident about your thoughts and ideas.

9. You Easily Feed into Your Own Victimhood

If something starts going wrong, do you have a hard time seeing answers within yourself? Do you blame others? Do you feel safer being a victim instead of admitting where you have control and where you can make the change?

10. You Feel Out Of Control With Rejection

If you’ve ever been rejected professionally or personally, you know that it hurts. However, if you have an approval addition, it might make you flip out if someone rejects you because in your mind, you are doing everything to give them what they want, but they don’t want it anyway.

If you often find that you’re doing something that you don’t want to do only to gain acceptance of a person or group, you may be a people pleaser and even have an approval addiction. To overcome this, you need to figure out who you are, and what your personal values are and design a path to reach your goals based on your values.

Can You Overcome Approval Addiction?

In this research paper about overcoming approval addiction, the author suggests the following:

  • Reflect on the futility of pleasing others and how it breeds uncertainty.
  • Remind yourself that we all have inherent worth and dignity, regardless of what others think.
  • Write down your values and refer to them every day. Endeavor to live by them to the best of your ability.
  • Reinstitute meaning in your vocation and recognize the real “why” we do what we do.
  • If you recognize in yourself a strong need for approval, consider enlisting the help of a therapist. Watch your energy rebound!
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Shilpa Gupte April 2, 2023 at 8:22 pm

I have needed the approval of others for quite some time, thanks to my low self-esteem and self-doubt. I think I still do, sometimes. But working on myself, on self-love and self-acceptance is changing that and hopefully I will be in a better space.
Thank you for this post, Vidya! It feels nice to visit your blog after so long! I am trying to make my way back in the blogging world, like earlier. 🙂
Shilpa Gupte recently posted…#AtoZChallenge – A – Are you married? Do you have kids?

Vidya Sury April 3, 2023 at 1:59 pm

Thank you for your comment, Shilpa! Getting out of the people-pleasing habit is not easy!
Good to know you are getting back to blogging again!

Shilpa Garg April 4, 2023 at 12:32 am

Yes, the younger me needed the approval of others but not the older me. I am glad that I have learnt to be comfortable in my own skin. It has taken time to reach this stage, but better late than never 🙂

Fabio April 7, 2023 at 2:37 am

For a long time, I thought that my self-acceptance depended on the approval of others. But I realized that this search for external acceptance was preventing me from knowing myself better. From the moment I started to accept myself and get to know myself more deeply, the need for approval from others decreased and my happiness increased. I learned that true acceptance comes from within and that when we know and love each other, we don’t need to seek anyone’s approval.
Fabio recently posted…Oração da Noite: Como Fazer do Jeito Certo? 3 Orações para Fazer Antes de Dormir


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