What’s Your Approval Seeking Personality Type

by Amy on November 11, 2011

In my work with approval addicts I’ve noticed several approval seeking personality types. I created the 7 approval seeking personality types below as a tool to help my clients become more aware of what they do. These aren’t meant to be mutually exclusive categories. You might find you identify with several. Take a look at the personality types below and post your “approval seeking personality type” to the comments section. I’ll start!

1. The Hero Worshiper  Master Certified Martha Beck life coach Bridgette Boudreau describes this as Pedestal Syndrome or the act of ” glomming onto someone you admire and dysfunctionally hero-worshiping them.”

Some signs you might be a Hero Worshiper:

You’re, well, clingy. You obsess over your hero, doing whatever it takes to win her favor. You over analyze everything you do or say around her. You take everything she says or does personally even though she probably isn’t devoting a fraction of the mental energy on you as you’d like her to.  Your “hero” can be one person or a group of people.

2. The Perfectionist. People are often surprised when I refer to perfectionists as approval addicts.  I think this quote by Brene’ Brown explains why perfectionists tend to be addicted to approval:

“We get sucked into perfection for one very simple reason: We believe perfection will protect us. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. ”

Some signs you might be a Perfectionist:

You secretly fear failure because of what you makes it mean about yourself – “I’m not good enough, other people will judge me” – so you hold back, play small. You believe there is a right way to do things and you make this so big in your mind that it provides you with an excuse to take no action at all. This gives you a false sense of security because you don’t have to risk being vulnerable to disapproval.

3. The Performer  You are a gold star chaser and an entertainer. Performing is how you think you get the love and security you want.

Some signs you might be a Perfomer:

You are constantly trying to manipulate the opinions of other people in your favor by achieving the highest awards, constantly winning or by being the most entertaining in the room. You tend to be tired, overworked and overscheduled yet you are totally lost because you have no clear sense of  what you find interesting or fun. You get frustrated, angry or anxious when you can’t seem to impress enough.

4. The Helper You believe that if you can just make yourself valuable enough to others by helping you will get the love and security you seek.

Some signs you might be a Helper:

Like the Performer you are often tired, overworked and overscheduled but in your case it is because you are always helping, helping helping. You are overworked from having no boundaries. You often feel resentful or frustrated when your good deeds are not reciprocated or you don’t get the gratitude or recognition you think you deserve.

5. The Chameleon You are a shape shifter. You change depending on who you are around.

Some signs you might be a Chameleon:

You have no clear sense of your own identify because you’re always morphing into someone else. You are fast to adapt based on what you perceive to be the needs, opinions or expectations of other people. Because of this, you often find social functions exhausting.

6. The Hater  Frustrated by years of what you perceive as not getting approval, you turn on others by disapproving of them first.

Some signs you might be a Hater:

You tend to be quick to criticize or judge other people. Unlike the chameleon or the performer, you would be more likely reject what you think to be the opinions or expectations of other people through your words, actions or appearance. But like most other approval addicts, you are so externally focused that you have no clear sense of your own identity.

7. The Scaredy Cat You fear disapproval because you think it will threaten your security or self worth.

Some signs you might be a Scaredy Cat:

Like the perfectionist, you play small and avoid taking risks because the thought of judgement, failure or disapproval terrifies you. You feel anxious most of the time (often though you can’t put your finger on why). You’re out of touch with reality because you are driven by fear and worst case scenario thinking. You hate the thought of being ” too open” or “too vulnerable.” You might even try to make yourself invisible.

If you liked this article, please join me for my upcoming free class!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy November 12, 2011 at 12:17 am

Hi, I’m Amy and I am addicted to approval. I am a Performer, with a little Perfectionist and Hero Worshiper.


Wende November 12, 2011 at 12:31 am

I am a Helper, Perfectionist, and Performer. Probably 50/25/25.

re: Perfectionists
Sometimes perfectionists don’t play small as much as they work insanely hard to make sure things that no one expects are perfect.
I line up all the food in my cabinets so it is perfectly displayed and spaced. Like Julia Roberts in Sleeping With the Enemy.
Needing to be perfect doesn’t make me say no to things, it just drives me to work crazy hard.


Torie November 12, 2011 at 1:44 am

Hi Amy, I’m Torie and I’m a recovering approval whore. Equal parts scardey cat and perfectionist have RULED my life. I love the work you are doing!


Gina Clowes November 12, 2011 at 3:25 am

All of the above. (Is there a prize for that?):o)


Jessica M November 12, 2011 at 5:14 am

I’m half to 3/4 of Helper and half to 1/4 Scaredy cat.


Diana November 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Perfectionist!!! 100%
I want everything to be wonderful so I don’t get judged. And so I get compliments.


Akilah November 14, 2011 at 1:46 am

This is so detailed, I love it! Those type profiles left NO stone unturned, so there was nowhere to hide–lol! I definitely have some Helper tendencies.


Amy November 14, 2011 at 3:06 am

Thanks for posting everyone! I love to hear how these personality types are resonating! And Wende, I love your feedback on the perfectionist. I will keep that in mind! xxoo


Elise Touchette November 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I gotta go with perfectionist and scaredy cat. I can feel my chest getting tight fessing up to those too, so they gotta be right. I’m probably more scaredy cat than perfectionist. Thanks for these profiles, they are very helpful.


Emily November 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Recovering Perfectionist, Performer, Helper here…


Liesl November 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m definitely a chameleon with some perfectionist thrown in, too. Working on that, though!


Mary November 19, 2011 at 12:16 am

I always thought being a chameleon was a positive aspect of my personality (particularly as I work in Human Resources and have to liaise with everyone from frontline staff to the CEO of the largest IT company). I’m starting to wonder if I have lost myself.

Great article. I’m also a helper. I see my daughters both being helpers so I’m here to see if I can stop the cycle of over-helpers!


kelly November 23, 2011 at 4:58 am

great categories
and I can find a bit of myself in each of them
I also have a very determined “fixer” in my approval seeking personality line up
fixing problems
fixing broken things
fixing broken relationships
quite exhausting
but took me years to get that ‘fixer’ to set down her toolbox
and simply enjoy people where they were at


Laurie November 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Scaredy-Cat and Hero Worshiper. For quite a few years I’ve been aware of these tendencies and fought myself to try and change them. But you know what makes me feel really good? I’ve worked hard over the past year to get in touch with my emotions and be my real self. As I read these descriptions and recognized myself in them, I can feel I’m now able to step away from them, because I’m inhabiting the belief that the only approval I need is my own. I’m no longer owned by these old tendencies, and I don’t feel so defensive about them anymore.
Victory is sweet!


Tonya August 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm

60% Chameleon
20% Perfectionist
20% Helper

Uggh. Who knew?


Aurora Rose Truth October 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Hero worshipper, recovering eprfectionist ;), occasional helper, chameleon, scaredy cat. I’m glad I’m not the only one with multiple types 😀


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