If you hear someone say, "I'm not scared of that," or, "I didn't want that promotion anyway," it doesn't necessarily mean they're mentally strong. In fact, there's a good chance it's just a facade.
To illustrate this, let's look at the subreddit which we at Bored Panda call "I Am Very Bad". From gun nuts to overly-protective boyfriends, this online community has plenty of examples to prove that overcompensation can be very, very obvious.
Here are the posts that got the most upvotes from the sub's 1.2 million members.
To learn more about "I Am Very Bad" we contacted its moderators and one of them, u/ergoegthatis, agreed to have a little chat.
"Some of the most popular ['tough' people on the subreddit are the ones who see] injustice in the news (e.g. someone being insulted or bear up), and say, 'If that happened to me I'd so and so and so and so!' With everyone on social media having a platform to air any opinion they have, this is incredibly common," u/ergoegthatis told Bored Panda.
"Also in the US, there are many intense political/social statements related to politics and guns. For some reason, Americans are religiously addicted to expressing their opinions on everything, in every possible way (including car decals)."
Vaping In Front Of A Water Service Vehicle Thinking It's A Cop Car
According to the moderator, the subreddit's 'characters' usually overcompensate due to their fear of a scary, unpredictable, and hostile world.
"It depends on society too: we rarely see these ... expressions coming from Europe, the Arab world, Southern and Central America, Russia, China, Japan, etc. America is witnessing social, political, and economic implosions, so this seems to be a way for them to cope with that," they added.
The subreddit's community, on the other hand, is way more diverse. "It's heterogeneous, [and has] got all sorts of people," u/ergoegthatis said. "I don't think there's any common factor in our userbase, except the desire to have fun and laugh at people who take their purported [toughness] to comical levels in public."
A Birthday Well Wish Escalates To ”there Will Be Consequences”
Even My Local Police Department Had To Call Out This Guy's Bulls**t
While acting tough may meet a person's needs in the short term by artificially boosting their ego or by getting others to back off, it's not a good long-term strategy. In fact, one study conducted by psychologists at Rutgers University found that guys who act tough may suffer serious consequences.
The paper, published in The Journal of Health Psychology, found that these men visit doctors less often. They're also less forthcoming about their medical symptoms when they see a male physician (interestingly, these same men were more likely to choose a male doctor because they believe male doctors are more competent than females).
My Friend And His Wife Are Going Through A Mutual Divorce, Her New Boyfriend Is Wasting No Time Asserting Dominance
Researchers suspect that delaying medical appointments and minimizing symptoms could be one of the reasons why men in the US die, on average, five years earlier than women.
If you want to see whether or not you have a tendency to act this way, this article by Inc. provides a 7-point checklist that could help in evaluating yourself.
If you're also putting up a fake exterior that helps you feel superior, consider the toll it may take on your life. Instead, try to invest in building mental strength, so the way you feel on the inside matches how others see you on the outside. As your mental strength increases, your need to act tough decreases.