While it might seem like a good idea to be someone who always says yes and provides others with the support they need, being a people pleaser can be damaging to your life and health. It adds anxiety you don’t need because you take on too much to avoid hurting others which can build up and leave you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
Meanwhile, the people you are working to help just go about life without care because you have taken the burden for them. If you suspect that you are carrying the load for others when you don’t have to, you might want to consider the possibility you could be a people pleaser.
1. YOU AGREE TOO MUCH
You might not even realize you are doing this, but more often than not you will agree with someone else’s opinion just to avoid having to explain yourself or tell the other person you think they are wrong.
You don’t enjoy conflict and even a good debate might get you all riled up so you try really hard to just ensure everyone gets along, even if it means lying about how you feel.
2. YOU TRY TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS HAPPY
When others are feeling down, you work way too hard to ensure they can perk up and feel better about themselves. You’ll avoid doing things you want to do just to ensure that others keep feeling good about themselves.
You’ve probably not given much thought to how you change your actions to avoid disappointing other people, but it could be a real problem.
3. YOU SAY SORRY TOO MUCH
Even if something doesn’t appear to be your fault, you feel the urge to smooth things over as soon as possible. And while you might think of yourself as the peacekeeper, you are also selling yourself short by taking on the responsibilities of everyone around you.
If it’s someone’s fault, why does it have to be yours all the time? Let someone else take the blame for once.
If you look around at all the times you say you are sorry for things that actually have nothing or very little to do with you, you might be surprised to find you are wasting your breath most of the time.
4. YOU’RE OVERWHELMED WHEN YOU AGREE TO SOMETHING
You agree to do a task or lend something to someone just to move to the “feel good” part of the conversation, but lately, you notice that as soon as you agree to that task you start to feel angry or overwhelmed by the request.
You might even find yourself feeling resentful towards this person or persons who continue to try to take advantage of you. They might not even realize they are doing it and that just means that both of you are clueless about what is actually going on and are losing valuable opportunities to steer yourselves in the right direction.
5. YOU’RE NOT ABLE TO SAY NO TO PEOPLE
It doesn’t matter how hard you have tried, you struggle to say no to someone. And when you have successfully said no to another person who asked something of you, you could have written a novel with the excuses you gave for having to say no.
And let’s not mention the number of times you said you were sorry as a result.
Next time someone asks you for something, try this: just say no. Without an explanation. And if someone demands an explanation, simply respond, “Because I don’t want to.” End of story.
If that seems a little extreme for you, then a few other ways you can refuse but be polite are: “I would love to, but I really have a lot on my plate right now.”
“I really wish I could help you but it’s been a really tough week and I’m not able to work well right now”
And a personal favourite of mine is: “My mother/spouse won’t allow me.” Don’t worry if they say anything judgemental. You are saving yourself from something that you don’t want to do.
6. YOU DON’T LIKE IT WHEN SOMEONE IS MAD AT YOU
You’ll go out of your way to avoid having to disappoint someone and try to prevent someone from getting mad at you. The few times someone has been mad at you in your life didn’t sit well with you and now you spend your days trying to avoid recreating those feelings inside yourself.
Don’t get hung up on how other people react to you. You cannot control their reactions. If someone gets mad at you, it is about them and their thoughts about you, probably not about what you actually did or said to upset them.
If this person is a friend or a partner and they continuously overburden you with things to do for them and get angry when you don’t do them then it’s possible you could be dealing with a manipulative person.
7. YOU CHANGE BASED ON YOUR SURROUNDINGS
If you’ve ever felt like you are a bit of a chameleon when you are with different people, you could be a people pleaser.
For example, if you talk differently with different groups of people, say co-workers, groups of friends, in-laws, or neighbors, you might be trying to get them to like you.
But how can they like you if you aren’t showing them who you really are? Try being you for a while, even if it feels uncomfortable, and see how you fit in. You might find that you don’t and that’s okay too.
8. YOU WANT TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED
If someone isn’t observing your good deeds and giving you props for them, it feels like it never even happened. This is something that happens to people at work quite frequently.
They’ll only “work” when someone is around to see them working.
The need to be acknowledged becomes an issue when you overdo it. People around you will easily pick up your need for attention and they might reciprocate at the beginning and eventually, this becomes draining and they will stop these so called “micro appreciations”.
This is a pretty common tendency for almost any human to do. So, don’t be too hard on yourself for this one. We all need a little appreciation from time to time.
9. YOU DON’T LIKE TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT
You’ll agree to anything just to avoid someone getting angry or calling you out.
This is common amongst family members and unfortunately, it is hard to break away from the pattern of taking on all the family crap just to keep the peace.
This sort of behavior can be really draining and taxing on a person’s mind and it is going to eventually break their spirit.
10. YOU DON’T TELL OTHERS WHEN THEY HAVE HURT YOUR FEELINGS
Despite all you do for others, the people in your life might leave you feeling less than stellar about something and you don’t speak up enough about when someone has wronged you.
Being a people pleaser is one thing, but don’t be a pushover too. Speak up and say “no” more often. Just imagine all the things you can do with all of your free time now that you aren’t serving everyone else in your life!
While kindness just involves being nice and helping other people out, people-pleasing involves doing it at the expense of your own conscience and happiness.
Keep working on yourself day in and day out. Eventually, you’ll get better at being your best self.