What’s Your Biggest Flaw?


I spend a reasonable amount of time talking about how awesome I am (I do really good job of it), or, barring that, talking about how awesome my friends are (one of my strengths). So I spend a lot of time focusing on positivity (please feel free to contact me for tips on focusing on positivity, I sort of rock at it), which is important, because the world is hellbent on keeping me down. I talk about how wonderful I am because sometimes I am the only person doing so, and my voice is just as important to hear as everyone else’s (David Sedaris once told me I have a great voice).

But it’s important to not lose sight of things I actually need to work on. I like to say I feel confident and happy with myself 87% of the time, a historic high. But that confidence can bar me from focusing on stuff I have to work on, of which there is plenty. I’m good at a lot of things, but here’s what I want to be good at next: knowing on what I’m not good at, and what I need to improve on. This isn’t antagonistic, it’s honest. When I call myself “perfect,” I don’t mean I am without flaw; I am reclaiming a face and a body and a being that is so rarely thought to be valuable, let alone commendatory. But we can’t skip past the weeds in a rush to get to the flowers — I don’t exist solely in positive attributes. I fuck up regularly and spectacularly. The persistent, and necessary, self-love mentality of late needs more room for improvement: we’re too quick to dissuade each other from discussing our faults, drowning out any valid self-criticism out of fear of looking rude. (The alternative: accusing people of looking for compliments when they’re just trying to make a point. We can’t win.) Why are we so quick to disavow criticism when it comes from ourselves?

I’ve too busy feelin’ myself to fix myself, ignoring my foibles because I was too concerned with presenting the image of security and confidence. But to be truly secure means accepting what you succeed at and what you can improve on, and being ok with both. This month, I asked “what’s your biggest flaw,” because it’s important to know what we’re still working on.

(My biggest flaw is that I tend to make everything about me.)

I need everyone in the world to love me.
Nicole Cliffe

Pigheaded as hell, resulting in frequent threats to call 311 on cab drivers, food vendors, etc.
Meredith Haggerty

too people pleasey
Audrey Gelman

I am needy. I need to be liked. I need everyone to like me, even people I don’t like. There can be a comment on an article I wrote filled with expletive-ridden, bigoted, hate-speech about nothing (the comment, not the article), and my only reaction will be, “Why doesn’t this monster like me?” I worry that this need to be liked informs everything I actually hate about myself. I worry that I don’t want to be a good person nearly as much as I want others to think I’m a good person, and that makes me a not good person. I worry that most of my strongest opinions aren’t actually my own, and that I’ve just instead subconsciously adopted what has been deemed the “right” way of thinking for somebody in my demographic. I worry that I act overly vulnerable in front of men I like and overly self-assured in front of women I respect and that both of these modes are just poses to get them to like me. I worry that by typing this all out for the internet, people will see how neurotic and weak-willed I am, and then they will stop liking me. But I will write it because you asked me to, Jazmine, because I like you.
Anna Fitzpatrick


Hallie Bateman

I cannot let conversation fall fallow for even one second. Silence in the presence of others makes me so uncomfortable. My mom tells a story about how once, while she was potty training me, our conversation quieted for a moment and midway through pushing out a turd I pointed to the wastebasket and blurted out, “MOM QUICK TALK ABOUT THAT TRASHCAN.” I would not say that the experience of socializing in adulthood has been entirely dissimilar from the events of this story. I talk too much for no good reason.
Jamie Lauren Keiles

My biggest flaw is that I often “let my emotions get the best of me.” That’s how nice people tell you that you’re a huge bitch. This is also my greatest strength.
Alexis Wilkinson

Women are way too good at this game. The minute one of my friends starts sharing one of her flaws with the group — it sets off this horrible downward spiral of every other woman trying to out-flaw her. It’s also the worst and best way to break the ice with someone.

But, since you asked — my biggest flaw is that I allow other people to bully me — whether it’s another woman who comments on my outfit choice in a degrading or intimidating way or a man who interrupts me mid-sentence, I almost always let it happen and end up apologizing for nothing. Afterwards, I replay the moment in my mind and think of all the ways I could’ve handled it better. I have a running list of comebacks that I will probably unleash one day on an unsuspecting victim. Whoever that is, I apologize in advance.
Nada Alic

Aside from caring too much and loving too hard, my biggest flaw is buying family-sized bags of chips (potato, tortilla, weird bean ones) under the pretense that I’ll have a nice snack for the whole week. Without fail, the bag is empty by nightfall.
Maria Yagoda

I don’t think of it as one big flaw, more like the accumulation of what Toni Morrison calls tiny little messes: “’Oh, what did you do that for? Why didn’t you understand this?’ Not just with children, as a parent, but with other people, with friends. … It’s not profound regret; it’s just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn’t recognize as mess when they were going on.”

Being people-pleasing bland has long been the running theme of my messes. It’s a defense mechanism born out of adults yelling, and it was encouraged by far too many teachers who rated good girls as silent girls. It’s helpful when I need to go unnoticed and I make myself so shallow that people can only skim my surface and they will talk at me, seeing only themselves reflected. But you play your character enough and it becomes you, and I’ve failed people in my agreeable silence, in not speaking up and in not challenging truth to power when it mattered most. I’m still unlearning.
Monica Torres

I can’t stand to be wrong.
Silvia Killingsworth

I don’t know how many people can honestly and accurately name their own biggest flaws. I briefly thought about emailing my best friend to ask her what mine was and then was like, LOL NO, because I don’t want to know which one she’d choose! It would probably be something different from what I’d choose, and then I’d just feel terrible because I’d have learned I have at least two biggest flaws. And I think most people’s biggest flaws are probably things they cannot really change very much. Or, at least, won’t really change very much. By the time something’s become your biggest flaw, you’ve probably really dug in your heels. So I think most flaws are a management issue. You don’t ever get rid of them (and should you, even? Unless your biggest flaw is hurting other people directly, it’s probably something that makes you yourself, and aren’t we supposed to always Be Ourselves? I am still unclear as to when that mantra applies!), so you’re honest about them, and you find people who understand them and work around them, and you find things you can do to break them down and challenge them a little bit. Ummmmmmm so I think I would have to say that my biggest flaw is living too much in my own head.
Katie Heaney

I…collect things. People like me have been called hoarders. But I like to amass unimportant things in my room because I like to take up space, even if it’s my own. It’s a way of making myself bigger, albeit messier.
Doreen St. Felix

I am extremely competitive but also not very good at sports or games (except cribbage [I own at cribbage {see I said I was competitive}]).
Alanna Okun

I have this nearly-subconscious way of thinking about things/people/myself in terms of “deserving” things or not, or that there is this SCALE somewhere and if something good happens to you, something bad with accompany it. I think it can be self-limiting and also I am often waiting for the other shoe to drop after anything good happens, and looking at the world in terms of how things are measuring out and I know it is not intellectually true at all! It catch it governing me anyway and I have to sort of excavate it from my thinking. Life is not fair! We are all going to die anyway!
Meaghan O’Connell

A few nights ago I got deep, deep, deep into a shame spiral of some imagined slight I had perpetuated on a person I like so much; at first it was a hyperbolic memory about one specific incident, and then I got into that vortex of imagining that everyone I know was mad at me because I had done this bad thing to all of them at one point or another, and I was like, well, here is a muddy shame ditch I have dug for myself, I better set up camp and get comfortable because this is where I live now, welcome to my Den of Self-Loathing Indulgences.

So, I mean, the answer I want to give in terms of flaws is that I’m a garbage person that no one should ever be friends with, but actually I would say that my REAL worst flaw is my tendency to take every thought to its farthest possible bad conclusion. Like, I can never just say to myself that a bad thing happened and leave it at that; I’m always playing out all my worst fears and most unlikely scenarios in my head, and then I work too hard to correct it, and then I seem crazed and paranoid, and it is just a slippery slope of bad news!! If I could, I would like to be able to be less of a catastrophizer when it comes to my own thinking, and that’s what I currently consider my worst flaw.
Haley Mlotek

Jazmine Hughes is some bitch.