3 signs you may be an approval addict

approval addict

No one wants to be alone or unloved or without friends or called a loser. Fear of rejection is a powerful motivator.  It hits all ages – children/youth/adults. We all give into peer pressure in some way to avoid being rejected.  We all want to fit in.

Like most people my fear of rejection grew out of the wanting to be loved and accepted.  Fear motivated me to do things I knew were wrong. I compromised standards.  I hurt people who loved me.  I avoided conflicts and dealing with tough issues.

approval addict

3 signs you may be an approval addict

1. You make compromises for acceptance.

If you find yourself compromising your values, morals, integrity, dreams, etc. for acceptance you may be an approval addict.  Compromise can control us – become a way of life – because we’re desperate for approval.  Like other addictions compromise can lead to self-hatred, bitterness, resentment or anger.

2. You are controlled by what others think.

When we’re afraid of what others will think of us we settle for less, we do what others want rather than what God wants or what we want and we give up the right thing. Our life is controlled by what others think of us.

The approval addicts desire for approval drives them to spend hours and money on their appearance, clothes, house, car, etc. They say to themselves:

  • If I buy the right house or car… wear the right clothes… look the right way… If I do what they want me to do – even if it means a compromise… will they like me – accept me – approve of me – love me?
  • If I join this club – help with this event – do these things… If I say this, do that, go there, act this way – if I’m funny or make fun of myself… will they like me – accept me – approve of me – love me?

When we’re starved for acceptance and approval we get needy and clingy. People don’t like being around needy and clingy people. The very thing we want we don’t get and as a result we get more clingy and needy and controlling.

3. You are extremely cautious in relationships.

This caution shows up in our relationships in a few ways:

  • We don’t deal with problems, hurt, anger, areas of concern or conflict.
  • We don’t confront others and we deny problems exist (the pink elephant lives!)
  • We don’t tell others how we really feel. Instead we give in and with each compromise we grow angry and resentful.

Approval addicts have a hard time confronting others and being honest.

In relationships, approval addicts keep others from getting too close.  They keep them at arms distance because they’ve been rejected before and they don’t want to be rejected again.

Fear always puts up walls to keep others out.  As a result the approval addict builds their own dungeon/prison.  In this prison anger and resentment thrives. Their heart gets hardened.  They can’t give or receive love.

Which of these 3 signs of being an approval addict are you most guilty of?

Categories: Personal growth


  • Wow Kevin What a great post! “Approval Addict?” At first I had to wonder what the heck you were even going to say but as I read I did find myself being one Wow again! #3 I do not deal with drama what so ever so I ignore it! I do not like confrontation so I ignore it! This article really hit home with me I am going to have to reevaluate a few things HUH? Thanks for sharing Chery 🙂

    • We are all approval addicts to some degree because no one hates to be rejected but we can learn that our acceptance does depend on what others think of us.

      Thanks for sharing Chery!

  • Hum … I don’t think anyone who knows me would ever accuse me of being an approval addict – probably quite the opposite. But when I was coaching I certainly worked with many people who had this problem, and your advice is excellent.

  • Yorinda says:

    Hi Kevin,

    what a great description of an approval addict.
    Looking back at my relationships in the past I did realise that I was a people pleaser and avoided conflict at all cost.
    It is so good to be aware of all this now and realize where it is coming from. Having learned to re-parent myself and give the inner child the love and approval she didn’t get as a child now has made a big difference for me.

    Thank you for your insightful post.
    Love and Light

  • Hey, Kevin; You gave me an aha…I was actually thinking of this a week ago…the fact that I spent so much of my life seeking approval in the work place…some of it was necessary for survival but it sometimes made me bend my own rules to fit in or please the boss. I did stand up a couple of times and got bloodied a little…it is so wonderful to be working for myself…no one to blame for my actions now…I do like a confrontation though…and would rather agree to disagree…that is what gives us color and depth, right…Anyway, thanks for bringing up this topic…it is a good one! Teresa

  • Kevin,

    You have brought me back several decades! I used to be an approval addict a very long time ago. Can you believe that? Yes, I did change my life around but it took guts!

    I was so uncomfortable being this way because to me, this is not the way of life that God intended it to be. I knew somewhere deep inside that I deserved to be loved and appreciated.
    It did take some therapy and hard work on my part, but here I am.

    I am so grateful that you have brought this topic up because if one is an approval addict, one lives in pain.


  • Aayna says:

    A nice post!!! These are indeed the true signs of the approval addict syndrome. It is always bad to be in such a state. If we believe in the thinking power of the other individuals more than our own, we are gradually becoming a slave of the other person, which is even worse. It is always better to think and act. Thanks for sharing these signs.

  • Fatima says:

    OMG, it seems to me like I have all 3 symptoms:( It really doesn’t feel good to have them. I should surely work to deal with these before I let others rule my thoughts and actions too. Thanks for the interesting share.

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