It’s impossible to develop genuine connections with people if you’re not willing to express yourself when your feelings are hurt. Even when you’re emotionally wounded, denying that you have feelings keeps a relationship superficial.
I’ve seen countless people-pleasers in my therapy office over the years. However, people-pleasing is rarely their issue; their intent to make others satisfied is usually a sign of something deeper.
Many people-pleasers are motivated to say yes to everything because they want to feel accepted and liked. For others, their tendency to please people comes from a history of maltreatment and the belief that trying to please those who mistreated them would improve their treatment. For them, people-pleasing has become a way of life.
It’s a common misconception that pleasing people is the same as being nice. When they say things like, “I don’t want to be self-absorbed” or “I just want to be a decent individual,” people-pleasers who turn down requests for assistance are referring to their desire to please. As a result, others take advantage of them.
It’s tough to break the people-pleasing habit, and it can be detrimental to your health, relationships, and well-being.
11 signs to look for to see if you might be trying too hard to please everyone:
It is a good skill to politely listen to other people’s opinions, even if you disagree. However, if you’re agreeing in order to be liked, you may be acting in ways that go against who you are and what’s important to you.
You feel responsible for other people’s feelings.
It’s good to be aware of how your actions affect others. However, believing you can make someone happy is detrimental. Each person must take responsibility for his or her own emotions.
You are influenced by the people around you.
While other people may bring out different sides of your personality, people-pleasers often self-sabotage. Oftentimes people-pleasers engage in self-destructive behavior in an attempt to help others feel more at ease in social situations, even if it means harming themselves.
You say ‘sorry’…a lot.
An excessive amount of self-blame or worry that you’re being blamed or misunderstood by others may be a sign of a bigger problem. It’s important to apologize for things you’ve done wrong, but you don’t have to apologize for being who you are.
It’s up to you how you spend your time, but if you’re a people-pleaser, you likely have a packed schedule full of things you believe other people want you to do. You start resenting the things you have to do because they aren’t things you want to do.
You give to be liked.
Whether you give gifts, time, favors or money, you’re doing it with the intention of being liked. Yes, you enjoy doing it, but what you really enjoy is the feeling of being liked and appreciated.
You say yes to everything.
If you can’t stand up for yourself, you’ll never go where you want to go. You’ll feel like a bouncy ball, bouncing around and doing what makes other people happy or comfortable.
You get nervous if someone is mad at you.
Just because someone’s mad at you, doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. However, if you are unable to tolerate someone being displeased with you, you will be more likely to sacrifice your values.
You crave approval.
It’s true that praise and kind words can make anyone feel good, but people pleasers rely on validation. If your self-worth is dependent on how others view you, you’ll only feel worthwhile when others praise you.
You avoid conflict at all costs.
Avoiding conflict at all costs means that you’ll have difficulty standing up for the things—and the people—you really care about.
How to Stop Pleasing People
Although it might be crucial to impress people at certain time, you’ll never be able to be your best self if you try to please everyone.Changing these patterns require finding your voice. Stand up for your beliefs or express your opinion about something simple. Every step you take will help you gain more confidence in your ability to be yourself.
It’s time to let go of these bad habits if you can’t do it on your own. A therapist can assist you in developing the mental toughness you need to live the life you desire.