There are too many people whose perfectionism gets in the way of them living a happy, fulfilled life. That’s half the problem, though. Because, other than those people, there are also way too many people whose lives are made unreasonably difficult by the perfectionists surrounding them. There are few things worse than a perfectionist boss (who doesn’t know it) or a perfectionist parent. Here are 11 signs somebody (maybe even you) might be a perfectionist.
1. You know you have high standards
Being honest with yourself is half the battle. If you know you have insanely high standards, you’re half way to understanding that you might be a perfectionist. Having trouble finding friends? Having trouble finding people to start a relationship with because there seems to be something wrong with everyone around you? Take a quick minute to check if maybe your standards are too high.
2. You had good grades in school
Perfectionists make great teacher’s pets. They know what the standards are in a class, and they have no trouble meeting (or exceeding) them. It might take them a while, but on average their work is always good enough to at least get them an A on every essay, test, or presentation.
3. You are a person of extremes
It’s all or nothing for you. You’re either extremely messy or extremely organized. The core of this comes from a lack of motivation. And what’s worse — this lack stems from your own perfectionism. After all, what’s the point of doing anything at all if the end result isn’t perfect? How many projects, ideas, blogs, YouTube video ideas have you abandoned already? If the answer is “many”, maybe your perfectionism is getting the best of you and making it difficult to start new projects because you fear the end result won’t be perfect. And you have to be perfect. Don’t you, you little perfectionist?
4. You can’t get anything done quickly
And then, during times when you do take on new projects, they take you forever to finish. You’ll do the thing, decide it’s not good enough, redo the thing, and it still won’t be as good as you want to be. And then eventually the due date is tomorrow and you have to turn your work in. Everyone might like it, but you’ll know it’s not the absolute best you could have done. (Pro Tip: it doesn’t have to be.)
5. You overthink everything
The next level of “efficiency” after that is overthinking. Why do all the extra work of doing something over and over again until it’s perfect? What if, instead, you could just plan everything, create a perfect strategy, and then hit it all out of the park with minimum effort? Congratulations. You just played yourself. Now you’ll overthink all the time and never actually get anything done until the last possible moment.
6. Your room is a mess
There’s a stain on your couch. There’s a chip in the wood on your table. What’s the point of putting in all that work to keep your room tidy if it’s never going to be perfect. Well, there are many good reasons, but none of those reasons are perfect so you might as well keep your room messy.
7. Your room is perfectly tidy
Unless you don’t keep your room messy. Maybe a clean room can be a perfect representation of the perfect order and cleanliness of your mind. If you keep that table organized, your bed made, your teacups stored nicely in the kitchen cupboard (where they belong) — maybe then you can use this perfectly tidy environment to scheme your perfect plans and build your perfect life.
8. You get annoyed with anyone who isn’t good at their job
You may have gotten so good at doing your work/studies perfectly that it becomes infuriating when anyone around you isn’t doing their absolute best and also doing perfectly well in all their activities. There’s no good reason you have to be the only one working hard, while everyone else is slacking off. And yet there you are — a perfectionist surrounded by people who have no trouble barely trying. And it’s infuriating.
9. You get annoyed with your own performance
It’s worst in bad days isn’t it? Like, when you’re tired and you just don’t have the energy to do your best on that day, all of a sudden you might also find yourself being disappointed in yourself. It’s a terrible feeling, and it seems like the only thing to do is to push and try harder, which only makes you more exhausted. It’s a never ending cycle, and no matter what you might wish for — the only solution is to get some good rest.
10. You procrastinate. A lot.
When your perfectionism meets your overthinking and meets your fear of not being perfect — your motor stalls. All of a sudden you find yourself putting off seemingly easy tasks because you’re afraid you might do something wrong with them. And then, if you can’t even do the easy things well, how can you accomplish any of your bigger tasks and life goals? You don’t know today, so maybe you can just do it tomorrow instead.
11. Nobody’s perfect, but you feel like you’re getting there
Despite all the problems that perfectionism might be causing you, you should realize that it might have made you a better person. You might be kinder to your friends, you might be working harder, you might have gotten really good at planning. The best thing to do is to accept that as a victory, and work on trying to be perfectly okay with your perfectionism. Or (and this is the healthier option), maybe it’s time to relax a little and understand that nobody is perfect, and expecting yourself to be is only causing more harm than good.