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17 Signs You Or Someone You Love Is Addicted To Validation

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stressed woman looking at her phone

Validation is something that we as human beings naturally crave. We want to feel acknowledged, justified, right, or even attractive by others.

For some people, it's just something that gives them warm fuzzies from time to time. For others, it's an ugly addiction that can wreak havoc on their self-esteem, sex life, and everything else.

What is an approval addiction?

In basic terms, an approval addiction, also known as a validation addiction, is when someone relies on the approval and praise of others for their self-worth or self-esteem.

Much like narcissism, validation addicts will turn to just about everyone around them to give them some form of validation. But, most often, it's their significant others or close friends that have to fulfill that need.

RELATED: 13 Signs He's Only Using You For His Own Validation

Unlike narcissism, validation addiction happens primarily because of crippling insecurity, bad self-image, low self-esteem, self-hatred, distorted thinking or believing they are not enough.

Validation addicts aren't capable of handling a normal, healthy relationship most of the time.

17 Signs of an Approval Addiction

1. You're obsessed with getting people to express interest in you.

This is your way of getting validation about how attractive you are to the opposite sex. Some might even view having sex as a way of validating their control over the opposite sex.

Either way, a serious sex obsession is often a sign of a validation addict.

2. You need to be constantly reassured.

This can happen with anyone if they are feeling insecure or nervous, but when there's no reason to feel shaky, it's a cause for concern.

Whether it's you or a person you know, if this person needs to be constantly reassured and often feels like they need to be praised for every little decision they make, it's a clear sign of a validation addiction.

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3. Your favorite subject is how awesome you are.

When you're low on validation supply, you might start talking about how great you are in hopes that others will agree with you.

4. You want to earn a lot of money so people will like you.

Do you get the feeling that the only reason you want to be rich is so you'll be popular? Do you constantly flash cash to impress others? If so, you're probably a validation addict.

5. You name-drop almost constantly.

Validation addicts will do this to show that they associate with people who are already considered to be hot shots in their eyes.

If a person is secure with themselves, they won't name-drop nearly as much. After all, confident people won't care if they're in the "in crowd."

6. You tend to befriend people based on their reputation or wealth.

This can be indicative of a number of different things, but it's also a sign that you might have a validation addiction.

7. Your opinions change depending on the company you're in.

Sure, this might be done to keep the peace, but it might also be a sign that you're really desperate to be accepted and validated by the people you're around.

RELATED: 12 Common Ways People Self-Sabotage Their Own Happiness

8. You need to control every social situation with an iron fist.

A person who craves validation will want to have every interaction centered around them. You don't want surprises — you want to know the exact outcome of the situation before it happens.

This need for control can often be a sign of a serious personality disorder as well as validation addiction, so others should use their best judgment when dealing with you.

9. You often play the victim, even when things aren't bad.

This is both a sign of a histrionic personality and a validation addict. You're looking for both attention and validation that it's "not your fault."

10. If you get rejected, you flip out.

This invalidates you. Need we say any more?

11. You do insane things just so you can be accepted by others.

Validation addiction can lead people down a very dark path. Many drug users, felons, and cult members have gotten into their situations due to their desire to be accepted or highly regarded.

If you've been known to take bad risks just to fit in, you can bet you have an addiction to validation.

12. You try way too hard.

Validation is a strong drug, and if you're trying way too hard for others to like and accept you, you're addicted to approval.

13. You fish for compliments.

It often doesn't get any clearer than this. When you can't seem to get enough validation without going to crazy lengths, you'll often try to fish for compliments.

14. You regularly put others down — particularly others who are liked.

This is a classic sign of a validation addict. After all, you feel like you can rise up above others if the others are pushed down beneath you.

15. You seem to single out friends and partners with serious problems.

You do this because you feel you will get validation easily from people who are in a worse situation than you are. Sadly, until you actually learn how to get serious confidence, this will often be what puts the nails in your coffin.

16. You can never say 'no.'

This is one of the harsher signs that can really do some damage to a person's well-being. When you rely on others for approval, you wish to please them in order to gain a good image from them.

You will do whatever they want. You can't say no to anyone or else you think they hate you or will think lowly of you.

17. You say 'sorry' too much.

Since you never want to offend anyone, you find yourself apologizing for everything. It can even get to the point of saying sorry when saying hello to someone.

RELATED: How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others & Seek Validation From Within

How to Stop Seeking Validation From Others

1. Practice self-care.

Self-care is the most underrated tool when it comes to one's mental health. Self-care can do numerous things for the mind. It can help destress it, clear it, renew it, refresh it, and reset it.

One way to practice self-care is through meditation or yoga.

A study from 2011 actually found that a sustained amount (8 weeks) of mindful meditation can physically change our brains. Mindful meditation was found to increase the amount of gray matter in areas of the brain that are related to emotional regulation.

This practice also helps with self-control and confidence to begin setting boundaries.

2. Start saying 'no' more often.

People-pleasing is a tough habit to crack, especially when you have an approval addiction. But saying no can be a good way to start your journey to a healthy mindset.

Start by saying no to little requests, like holding something or doing a tiny favor for someone. Then, you can move on to larger requests that you do not feel comfortable doing.

It is best to always remind yourself that it is okay to say no.

3. Take a break from social media.

Social media is one of the top causes of validation-seeking behavior, according to a 2022 study. The platforms themselves are written to make you want more likes, more retweets, more friends, and more interaction.

If you find yourself posting things because you think they'll get a lot of likes, or you'll have a bunch of people complimenting you in the comments, it's time to step away from social media.

Social media can be draining and make you miss out on life. So put the phone down and go for a walk.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Build Your Self-Worth Instead Of Seeking It On Social Media

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others. Follow her on Twitter for more.

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