As I look at it, there are five different types of insecure people:

Those who tackle their insecurities with humor.

Those who wrap themselves in positivity and pretend they have no insecurities.

Those who verbally (and constantly) doubt themselves and put themselves down.

Those who make up all sorts of fabulous stories and tales about themselves that aren’t true.

And, the much harder to spot insecure people – those who act out of insecurity to try and cover up.

But before I go on, it should be noted that we all have insecurities. We all have areas of our lives in which we aren’t 100% confident. We are all insecure people, in one way or another. There is nothing wrong with that. It is an important part of the human experience.

I, for example, have a canoe full of insecurities. Take, for example, my flabby lats from my obesity days that I can’t seem to do anything about. I’m telling you I could spread those lat wings and fly away. Or maybe I’m insecure about my thick layer of fabulous body hair. A gypsy woman once offered me forty dollars to shave me down and make a sweater from my coat. I took her up on it and then paid her eighty dollars for the sweater because I felt like a naked Elmer Fudd.

I guess you can tell what kind of insecure person I usually am.

I tend to tackle my insecurities with bold humor. I’m definitely not the mopey or discreet kind of insecure person. I’m not the one who is quiet until called upon and then tells everyone how much I suck, everything I can’t do, and all the talents I don’t seem to have. I also don’t do the opposite and make up grandiose tales about adventures and amazing things that never actually happened. I’m also not the kind of person who pretends he has no insecurities. You know, the “perma-positive, nothing can ever get me down because I’m in charge of my own destiny and my own happiness, therefore there is no room in my life for insecurities” kind of person.

And I guess what I’m most thankful for is that I’m not the kind of insecure person that tends to act out of insecurity when I do experience it.

Now, I don’t use the word “act” lightly. It has two meanings to me when I use it.

First, it means that it’s a person who pretends to be someone he’s not.

Second, it means that it’s a person who is actually exerting energy to do something.

These people and their insecurities are often hard to pin down and identify because so much of their lives is one giant deflection from the truth, and they’ll almost certainly deny it if you call them out on it. But stick with me, and I will offer you a guide that will help you decipher many of the ways I’ve found to tell when someone is acting out of insecurity.

20 Ways to Tell When Someone is Acting Out of Insecurity

1. They will tell you how ugly they think other people are.

Someone who is insecure about their looks will often point to someone across the room, or across the gym, or on their phone screen, and point just out how ugly they think they are, or what all their faults are, or how awful their clothes are. Trust me. This is because they themselves are insecure. People who are okay with themselves never have a need to point out the physical faults or fashion transgressions of others. Ever.

2. They will call names when things get too intense.

If you ever get into a debate with them, or an argument with them, or sometimes even a seemingly pleasant discussion with them, they will eventually resort to calling names like “idiot,” “stupid,” and infinitely worse, “retarded,” usually when the discussion tips out of their favor. Trust me. This is because they are insecure and it’s the only way they can deal with it. People who are confident in themselves or in what they’re discussing or debating will never resort to name calling. Ever.