Is being a people pleaser working for you?

It is a wonderful feeling pleasing people. In fact being kind and nice to others and saying ‘yes’ when asked to help is a valuable trait. Being a people pleaser gives you an immediate popularity boost. It is instantaneously gratifying because everyone seems to need you. So, ask yourself, are you intentionally a people pleaser? Is it a way to make you feel better about yourself and feel needed?
People pleasing can also be a way of avoiding conflict or disappointing others. There is nothing wrong with saying yes when someone asks for help. But if you are not doing it for the right reasons, it can leave you feeling unappreciated and cause low self-esteem. It puts you in danger of being unable to cope and feeling like everyone expects too much of you.

Are you a people pleaser?

Ask yourself if you are a people pleaser. Here are some signs of someone who intentionally goes out of their way to please people. Do you:

  1. Spend too much time apologising over and over again even though there is nothing to apologise for.
  2. Strive to be perfect and expect yourself to meet overly high standards.
  3. Crave acceptance from everyone.
  4. Avoid conflict at all costs.
  5. Do not know how to ask others for what you need so you put yourself last.
  6. Start resenting others always asking/expecting you to help and wish they would consider your needs and feelings.
  7. Go out of your way to have people like you.
  8. Feel guilty when you set boundaries and stick to them.
  9. Always follow the rules.
  10. Feel overly sensitive to criticism.
  11. Allow others to walk all over you.
  12. Believe that how you feel, what you need, and your ideas and opinions are not as important as those of others.
  13. Think that self-care does not matter.
  14. Think of yourself as a fixer. You cannot stand seeing anyone uncomfortable, sad, hurt or afraid.
  15. Feel tense, on edge or anxious.

How many of these signs apply to you?

People pleasing can become a problem

When you are a people pleaser it is a never ending cycle of saying yes. This can attract people who take advantage of your kind nature because they ask you for help over and over without giving what you need a second thought. You may even blame yourself for their problems because you were unable to fix everything that makes them unhappy.

Are you someone who feels the need to jump in and help out no matter what, even at the expense of yourself? Or do you consider yourself as a collaborator? Are you working with others for a common purpose or to collectively get great results or are you always doing someone else favours?

A collaborator is not a people pleaser. They do not fear saying no if they do not have the time or the expertise to contribute in a meaningful way. Nor do they need everyone to like them. Collaborators do not change who they are to please people or apologise for things they are not responsible for. They also set boundaries and do not feel guilty for enforcing them as it allows them time for self-care and to achieve their own goals.

As a people pleaser, how you approach relationships can cross a line. While you are kind and helpful, fear of conflict may be your driving force and this can emotionally cripple you. You are taking on the responsibility for how others feel and react when you desperately try to keep everyone happy and satisfied.

While you say yes to more than you can manage, this can burn you out and lead to overworking and becoming resentful. But ironically, you may let everyone down eventually because you say yes to so many things that it becomes impossible to keep up with all those commitments.

If you are a people pleaser, you can find yourself in a vicious cycle. You can break this by raising your level of emotional intelligence. This allows you to you to be better aware of the consequences of your thoughts and actions as well as giving you a deeper understanding of what motivates others. With this awareness you can be more objective and rational in how you decide what you will do for who under what circumstances. This helps you build more balanced, stronger and honest relationships.

Set boundaries

It is vital to set boundaries if you are a people pleaser. Without them you can always find yourself saying yes which can override your beliefs and core values. It may even be that you let go of your own goals and ambitions to please the people around you. By putting everyone else before yourself you are helping others shine and pushing your own needs into the background as if you are not as important. But you are important. So setting up boundaries allows you to spend time doing things for yourself.

You may think setting boundaries is selfish and feel like you are putting up walls. But this is not necessarily so. Boundaries are vital to your mental health, personal development and for good relationships. By having clear boundaries it tells others where you stand. It is about respecting yourself and what you want out of life. This does not mean you stop helping others, but boundaries help you to see when people are taking advantage of your kind nature.

Boundaries help you move forward with mutual respect with others. And remember, to be truly valuable, you need to value who you are—your thoughts, time and needs. This is vital to feeling good and living a happy, productive life.

Why saying no is difficult

Do you know why saying no is so difficult for you? Probably because saying yes is the safe option. It may be scary as saying no almost always results in someone feeling disappointment.

But you have the right to say no even if the reason is just because you want to. Saying no to what someone else wants from you is actually saying yes to what you want out of life and to your values. Feel proud when you say no. When you say no, you are telling someone that you value who you are—your energy and time—and will no longer allow others to encroach so heavily upon your good nature.

Learn to say No

Saying no is not easy when you are a people pleaser. Saying yes is so ingrained in your psyche that no is like a foreign language. It is ok to say no so you need to keep telling yourself so. Do not say yes to something you do not want to do or to an unreasonable request. You do not have to say yes just for the sake of it.

Saying no is not selfish. Remind yourself that saying no is looking after yourself. And that is why you need to set boundaries.

No one has to lose

Saying no sometimes is all about bringing better balance into your life. Setting boundaries is critical for your self-development and allows you to achieve your own goals. Saying no by asserting your needs means no one has to lose. It is possible to negotiate a way for everyone to get what they need.

Other ways to help you stop being a people pleaser

Being a people pleaser may not be fulfilling or make you happy. So there must be a better way to have a balanced life where you achieve your own goals while helping others when you can. Here are a few ways to help you to become happier.

Accept who you are

Being a people pleaser means you believe that your value is attached to what others think of you. This is not true. People pleasing means you have lost touch with who you are.

The more time you spend pleasing others, the less energy and time you have to do the things that matter to you. You can change this. Stop caring about what others think. Accept who you are.

Not being perfect is all right regardless of how society may view someone who has flaws. Having flaws is all right. We all have them. But you may have trouble accepting this. While you will make mistakes, what you learn from them is important and helps you to move on.

To accept yourself, acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses so you can use them to benefit you throughout life. Once you learn to accept yourself for who you truly are, everyone else will too.

Be assertive, stand up for yourself

How do you expect people to know if they are bothering or asking for too much if you do not tell them? Even if friends and family have good intentions, stand up for yourself if you have had enough or do not want to say yes to their requests.

Be straight with them. Be assertive, straight to the point or be subtle, but get your point across and say no if you do not want to say yes. There is no need to say yes just to keep the peace. So learn to be assertive. It does take practice, but it is a valuable life skill to master.

When you learn to be assertive, it becomes simple to set boundaries and to make those in your life learn to respect them. This will help you put a stop to others dictating how you live your life which will boost your self-esteem.

No need to make excuses

There is no need to make excuses for saying no. It just adds to your stress levels and to your workload. And, if you do, the next thing you know is you will feel burned out.

Do not allow others to take advantage of your kind heart, it can be frustrating when you know they are taking advantage of you. Next time someone asks you to do something that takes up your time and energy, simply say no. And if they want to know why, tell them you are currently focusing on your self-development. They may not understand or like your answer but if they are genuine, they will eventually support you.

Stop trying to fit in

Stop trying to fit in. Instead, stay true to yourself. Rather than saying yes to someone’s request for help so you look good in their eyes, do what is right for you. Stand your ground if someone puts you on the spot and their request makes you feel uncomfortable. You have got this. You have the strength to make your own decisions about what is right for your life.

You do not need to change who you are to stop being a people pleaser. Just be true to yourself and earn people’s respect.


It is wonderful that you have a kind heart and want to help others. But being a people pleaser puts you in danger of others taking advantage of you. Also, people pleasing is more about your need for others to like you and fearing the consequences of saying no.

But you can be true to yourself and express your needs and still be a good person. Set boundaries and implement them so others are less inclined to take advantage of your kind nature. Learn to say no without making excuses and people will learn to respect who you are.

Become a collaborator not a people pleaser…it is a more pleasing experience for everyone!

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