Confidence is often seen as one of the most sought-after attributes women want in a man. A less attractive guy with more confidence can often beat out the better-looking dude when it comes to jobs, women, and more. But we all get a little (or extremely) insecure now and again. Even the most confident guy takes a hit—whether or not they let you know it is another story. But can you tell when your anxiety gets the best of you, and you’re wearing your insecurity like a full-blown billboard? You know, when everyone else is thinking “Oh, he’s acting that way because he’s insecure,” but you think you’ve got the wool over everyone’s eyes?

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“There’s always two extremes,” says Stephan Labossiere, a relationship expert and coach. “There’s the insecure guy who’s withdrawn and the guy who’s over-doing it.” In small doses your insecurities might seem endearing to a woman, but if you let them get the best of you, they’re a major turn off. See if you’re guilty of these insecure behaviors that are turning her off.

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You don’t make eye contact

Whether you’re on a first date, meeting a friend of a friend for the first time, or at a business dinner, nothing screams, “I’m uncomfortable” like an inability to make eye contact with the person you’re talking to. You may be a bit introverted, but it can come off as indifference, apprehension—and just plain rude. “If a guy holds his head down a lot, it shows a lack of confidence,” Labossiere says. “And when you’re shy and nervous, that’s a sign of being insecure.” Think of it this way: How are you ever going to connect with a woman if you’re looking everywhere but her eyes?

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You’re dominating the conversation

There’s nothing wrong with taking the floor and sharing a bit about yourself, but if you’re the only person getting a word in, that’s a problem—especially if it’s just you and your date. “Sometimes when a guy feels ‘less than,’ he tries to impress a woman and prove how great he is,” Labossiere says. “He’ll overdo it and try to sell himself,” rather than let the conversation flow naturally.   

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You don’t talk—at all

“I had a recent client who went on a date where, the whole time, the guy just answered yes or no,” Labossiere says. “He only wanted to talk about her because he was intimidated and so scared of saying the wrong thing that he didn’t say anything at all.” Don’t be this guy (or the guy who doesn’t shut up). Check out our First Date Tips: The Best Questions to Ask a Woman to help get the ball rolling.

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You throw around your wealth and accomplishments

We’re going to key you in on something: Women see right through your attempt to wow her with material possessions. Depending on the woman and her motives, this is a deal-breaker or a golden ticket (if you’re looking for a gold digger.) “Guys might try to sell it as confidence, but extremely confident people don’t have to over-project or overcompensate,” Labossiere says. That being said, no one can blame you for giving an honest answer to a question, but if you’re volunteering (read: flaunting) how you make six figures, drive a Porsche, and have a fleet of tigers roaming your mansion a la Mike Tyson then that draws a red flag. “You’re rushing to impress a woman because you’re worried your character and personality isn’t enough,” Labossiere explains. 

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You bring up past flings

This should seem obvious, but bringing up ex-wives, girlfriends, or one-night stands will never charm the pants off the latest woman in your life. “As crazy as that sounds, some guys bring that up because they think it’s going to impress a woman,” Labossiere explains. To you, the admission makes you seem desirable; to her, the admission solidifies you as obnoxious and self-absorbed.  

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You’re withdrawn around her friends

Meeting your girlfriend’s guy friends can be a hairy situation. “Some guys might be withdrawn when a girl brings them around her guy friends,” Labossiere says. But unless they gave you a valid reason to be upset—like one of them talked about the hot and heavy fling he had with your girl during spring break in college—you getting upset at the mere introduction is a huge sign that you’re feeling insecure. 

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You question everything she does

If your conversations feel like one continuous game of 20 Questions, there’s a problem. “Not that a couple shouldn’t share their lives together and talk about what’s going on, but when you’re adamant about receiving a full report, trying to regulate where your girlfriend goes and who she sees, it shows you’re not trusting and you don’t feel secure in your relationship together.

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You regulate how she dresses

“Some people are conservative, but in a lot of instances, guys will hide behind spiritual beliefs because they don’t want their girl showing off,” Labossiere says. If you’re a guy who uses any angle to get your girlfriend not to wear a certain outfit out, that’s a big sign of insecurity. 

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You always question her fidelity

Labossiere says there are two main reasons why you’d question your girlfriend’s fidelity: Either you’re afraid there’s someone out there who’s better than you, or you cheated and now you’re afraid she’s going to do the same thing. If you lack self-esteem there’s a very good possibility you’ll ruin your relationship even though you want to be with her. 

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You sleep around—a lot

“A guy who sleeps around a lot—not every man, but a lot more than people think—is trying to make himself feel better,” Labossiere says. People look at that as men being men, but more often than not, you’re a little insecure. Guys with a lot going on in their lives aren’t as focused on sleeping with a lot of women. “But when you don’t have a lot going for you (especiallly when you’re younger), you’re all over the place and you feed your ego with women,” he adds. You get constant validation from the attention and affection, as fleeting as it may be.

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You always need your ego stroked

Let’s be honest here: Everyone wants to be shown appreciation, get a pat on the back, and receive a compliments every now and again, but there are some men who need it constantly. And there is nothing more irritating than a man who needs his ego stroked all the time, whether it be at work, in the gym, in the bedroom (the list goes on and on…). “It’s like boy you must not have gotten praise as a kid, or your mother gave you so much that you don’t know what to do without it,” Labossiere says. If you’re always looking for someone to throw you a bone, it’s your insecurity coming through.

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