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Wouldn’t it be nice to feel genuinely confident about your social skills? We know… you may have found a way around it. You may have found your people, who might not need to interact much either. But still, what if you could be the life of the party? What if colleagues would hang on your every word? Wouldn’t it feel great to have that choice?

Defining the difference

When we talk about self-confidence, we often mix and match several related terms. However, if you are looking to boost your self-confidence, it is good to know which knob to tweak.

Hereby, a short lecture about the difference between self-efficacy, self-confidence and self-esteem. Let’s dive in!


According to psychologist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is an individual’s beliefs about their capacity to do what it takes to reach specific goals.

Let’s say, every morning, when you drop your kids off at school, you would love to burst into song and dance, like you were Belle from Beauty & the Beast. In French! Yes, also if you are a man. “Bonjour… Bonjour…!” Every. Single. Morning. Super awkward!

So you don’t.

But you strongly believe that you could. That people would greet you in return, cordially and joyous. Now that’s self-efficacy. Whether you can or can’t is not important. Self-efficacy is all about believing that you can make it work.


Self-confidence is pretty similar to self-efficacy. However, self-confidence is a general personality trait, non-specific about what you are confident about. While self-efficacy is about a specific context or task. Like singing or communicating.

We find both forms of social confidence pretty darn useful, to be honest. If only we could order it online!


Lastly, self-esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. It is usually based on judgements you make about yourself. So, this one is not entirely about skills. It is, however, about how you evaluate those. And yourself with it.

Especially high self-esteem is associated with a better social life, better health, protection against mental disorders and mental well-being.
Quite important, wouldn’t you say?

Go do the thing!

So get out there, and work on all three levels. Allow yourself to fall and get back up. It may nibble your self-efficacy in the rear, yet your self-esteem may stay perfectly intact, because you judge yourself positively nevertheless.

If not, speaking kinds to yourself may really boost your self-esteem. As a result, you may feel confident enough to speak up in a meeting. Consequently, your self-efficacy must have been improving too.

Hopefully know you now that for building social confidence you can work on several levels. Go try, you will love yourself for it!

Arjan van Rooijen