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9 Signs You Might be a People Pleaser – and what to do about it.

You may have heard the term people pleaser, but does it relate to you?  Read on to find out how.

Do you find it difficult to say no to requests or to voice your opinion when it differs from others?

Maybe you have always been told to put others before yourself or perhaps you like everyone around you to be happy.

Some would refer to this kind of behaviour as people pleasing.

What is People Pleasing?

It is the need to care for and be liked by others. Not to confuse it with kindness, this necessity to be needed stems from a desire for outside validation and/or a fear of rejection.

People pleasers worry about what other people think of them, and if they don’t do everything possible to care for others, they fear they will come across as selfish and be cut off from the community, group or family.

Here are 9 signs that you might be trying too hard to please others.

  • Unable to say no

People pleasers find it challenging to say no to requests, whether they come from family, friends, work colleagues or even strangers. While it’s admirable to help others, it can also lead to you being taken advantage of.

Good boundaries are required to ensure you know what you can take on and what you need to leave. Be aware of feeling guilty when you first establish these boundaries because people will be so used to you saying yes, that they might be put out when you finally decline their requests. 

  • You feel overwhelmed with all the things you have to do.

When you are always filling your schedule with activities to help or care for others, you can feel as if all your time is taken up with doing things for everyone else but yourself. These extra activities can lead to unnecessary pressure and stress in your day as you hurry to get everything done.

Think about what’s on your list, how much of it is for others? Ask yourself what is the reason for doing these activities and what would happen if you didn’t do them?

  • Apologising is second nature.

Do you find yourself continually saying sorry for just about everything?

Saying sorry is often the first thing that comes out of your mouth even when you are not at fault. 

Awareness is key, next time someone bumps into you refrain from apologising and see what happens.

  • You feel responsible for how other people feel.

Thinking of everyone else and putting their feelings before your own, you watch what you say and are attentive to other’s needs.

Recognising how your behaviour can influence others is important, but ultimately everyone is in charge of their own emotions.

  • Overly concerned about how others see you.

Instead of enjoying experiences and events, that you have organised, you tend to worry whether everyone else is having a great time and enjoying themselves.

Take the time to experience what you create and enjoy the moment.

  • Dislike confrontation

The thought of someone being disgruntled or unhappy with you causes you to go to great lengths to refrain from taking a stand or speaking up for what you believe.

  • You tend to gloss over your hurt feelings

Not wanting to cause conflict or confrontation, you may dismiss your feelings of disappointment or embarrassment when others hurt you by making excuses for their behaviour.

Reminder – Your feelings count, just like everyone else’s.

  • Find yourself agreeing with people

Even if you don’t honestly believe everything they are saying, the need for them to like you is more important than possibly disagreeing with what they have to say.

  • You feel uneasy when you believe someone is upset with you.

You feel very uncomfortable when you discover that someone is upset, automatically thinking you must be to blame.  Overthinking the situation, you might go to great lengths to make it right.

What can you do about it?

  1. Create healthy boundaries.
  2. Understand that your self worth is not based on others liking you and start working on improving your self-belief.
  3. Learn to say no. This may take practise, but having some well-rehearsed comebacks to those requests you don’t want to take on can give you that sense of confidence you may need.
  4. Be clear on your priorities and values. Then you can determine if anything you take on, is in line with this and is not going to add pressure or stress
  5. Ask yourself “Is it really worth it?” and “What do I have to give up to do this?”

Start small and build up your confidence.

Image: Chungkuk Bae: Unsplash

Signs of a People Pleaser

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