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10 Signs You Might Be a People-Pleaser (And What to Do About It)

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Most of us, at some level, want people to like us, to value us and to view us in a positive light… but some will go to great lengths to achieve this, often sacrificing their sense of self, their values or their mental well-being in the process. So what are some common signs you might be a people-pleaser?

1. You act like the people around you.

It is one thing to listen to and respect the opinions of others; it is another thing entirely to adopt them as your own. People-pleasers will often do this or even display similar mannerisms to others in an attempt to fit in with them and to be accepted… even if this means going against their own values, beliefs or attitudes.

2. You are constantly apologizing.

Do you find yourself apologizing when someone else bumps into you? Or for expressing a particular emotion? At the core of a people-pleaser is the desire to be liked by others, even if this means putting ourselves down in the process. In an attempt to avoid being disliked by others, people-pleasers will often apologize unnecessarily and on a regular basis.

3. You rarely (if ever) say no.

People-pleasers never want to feel as if they are disappointing others, and so they may find themselves in situations in which they are doing things they don’t want to do or going unnecessarily out of their way for others, even if it inconveniences them.

4. You avoid confrontation.

People-pleasers tend to do this in various ways, whether it’s conforming to others’ opinions, not sharing one’s ideas, hiding their feelings or allowing themselves to be taken advantage of or treated badly. People-pleasers need others to like them and so they will avoid situations which may result in any sort of confrontation for fear they might jeopardize this relationship.

5. You are devastated if someone doesn’t like you.

You go above and beyond for other people, you’re always nice and you often inconvenience yourself to accommodate others… so if someone doesn’t like you, this can leave you feeling devastated. People-pleasers may even go to great lengths to prove their worth to others in order to receive this validation.

6. You take on other people’s feelings.

People-pleasers often have a deep sense of empathy and while empathy can be a valuable emotion in many situations, it can also drive oneself to put the feelings of others before their own or to feel personally responsible for the way others feel.

7. You struggle to make decisions.

Many actions people-pleasers take are carried out with others in mind. People-pleasers will often contemplate how their decisions will affect others and make a decision based on that instead of making them for themselves.

8. You are nice to everyone, even if they treat you badly.

Kindness is a wonderful quality, however there is a difference between being nice and being a pushover. People-pleasers will not only not stand up for themselves if they are being treated unjustly but will often still treat this person with kindness in order to salvage the relationship… even when they have done nothing wrong to begin with.

9. You don’t ask for help.

While people-pleasers will often be the first to put their hands up to help others, they will rarely, if ever, ask for help when it comes to themselves. The fear of being a burden or putting others out of their way is not something people-pleasers are prepared to risk.

10 People tend to ask you for favors regularly.

After a while, people tend to work out that people-pleasers will always say yes to things and so they may find themselves being taken advantage of by others on a regular basis.

So if this does sound like you … then what can you do about it?

1. Reflect.

First and foremost it is important to reflect on past behaviors that may have been done with the intentions of pleasing other people. It may also be useful to explore the underlying reasons why you might be exhibiting these types of behaviors and to challenge these preconceived ideas with a new and healthier narrative.

2. Identify your values.

Living with the constant pursuit of pleasing other people can often leave you feeling lost as to who you really are, what you really want and what you really stand for. It is therefore important that you identify what it is you value and keep this at the heart of the decisions and actions you undertake.

3. Become mindful during social interactions.

After a while, people-pleasing can become a habit, so it can be useful to practice mindfulness during your social interactions. Pay attention to any people-pleasing behaviors you might be exhibiting, why you may be displaying them and what may be a more helpful way of behaving.

4. Start small and build up.

Many people-pleasers have been this way for years, maybe even for their entire lives, so it is only natural that you will slip back into these behaviors. It might be helpful to begin with small gestures, such as saying no to hanging out with someone you really don’t want to hang out with. It is important to learn how to say no without feeling the need to apologize excessively or to feel as if you owe that person a huge explanation. You are allowed to say no just because you want to say no.

5. Talk to a therapist.

It might also be useful to speak to a therapist who can assist you to identify the underlying reasons why you might be behaving this way and work through strategies that might help you live a life in congruence with your beliefs and values.

Can you relate to any of these people-pleasing behaviors? If so, what do you do about it? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo by Daria Litvinova on Unsplash

Originally published: December 31, 2018
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