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10 Signs You’re a People Pleaser


People-pleasing might not sound like it’s all that bad. After all, is there anything wrong with being nice to people and trying to help them or make them happy?


But people-pleasing generally goes beyond simple kindness. You may go out of your way to do things for others in your life based on your assumptions of what their needs and desires are.

And over time, being a people pleaser causes trouble. The inner urge to keep others happy can be hurtful to ourselves and our relationships, especially when we allow the needs and wants of others to have more value than our own.

Still unsure if you’re a people pleaser or just highly kind to others? Here’s a look at some of the telltale signs of people-pleasing.

1. You don’t think very highly of yourself.

People pleasers often have low self-esteem and draw their self-worth from the approval of others. You may assume people only care about you when you’re helpful and need their reassurance and appreciation to feel good about yourself.

2. You need others to like you.

You may spend a lot of time worrying about being rejected. And in turn, do specific things to keep others happy to prevent that fear from coming true. You may also have a strong desire to be needed by others, making it more likely to get affection from them.

3.It’s hard for you to say “no.”

You may worry that by saying no to someone’s request, that person will think you don’t care about them. Agreeing to do what they want seems like a safer option, even if you don’t have the time or the inclination to help.

An excellent example of this is helping someone move when you’d rather not or have other responsibilities to take care of. A consistent pattern can cause issues to arise since it lets others know that their needs come before yours.Some people may exploit this and ignore your boundaries because they know you’ll do what they want anyway.

4. You apologize or accept fault for something, even when you’re not the one to blame

Are you always the first to apologize when something goes wrong, even if it’s not your fault? People-pleasing involves a readiness to take on the blame, even when what happened has very little or nothing to do with you. For example, let’s say you went to pick up lunch for yourself and your coworkers. You ordered a gluten-free pizza, but the restaurant mixed up the order, and you didn’t get the pizza they ordered. And as a result, your coworkers couldn’t have anything for lunch. While it’s clear the mistake happened at the restaurant, you feel the need to constantly apologize, feel terrible about yourself, and believe your coworkers hate you deep down inside. 

5. You’re quick to agree.

Being agreeable often seems like a solid way to win someone’s approval. But let’s say you’re in a work meeting and your coworkers are throwing out ideas for the next project. You may find yourself going along with their ideas, regardless if they align with your own and whether or not you agree with them

6. You struggle with authenticity.

People pleasers have a hard time recognizing how they feel. Pushing our own needs aside time and time again makes it that much more difficult to acknowledge them. Ultimately, you may feel incapable of voicing the emotions you are aware of, even when you know you should stand up for yourself. 

For example, you may avoid telling your partner how their words made you feel sad or think something along the lines of, “Well, they didn’t mean it, so if I say something, I’ll only hurt their feelings.” But this ignores the critical fact of the situation: They hurt your feelings

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    7. Youre a giver.

    Do you enjoy giving to others? More importantly, do you give to be liked? People pleasers tend to like giving. Making sacrifices may feed your inner sense of self, but it can also lead to a sense of distress or anxiety. You might give and give to no avail, hoping people will reciprocate with affection and love. 

    8. You dont have any free time.

    Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a people pleaser. However, you can get a better understanding by looking at the way you spend your free time. After taking care of necessary responsibilities, like work and household chores, what’s left? Do you have any free time to relax or enjoy your hobbies? Consider the last time you did something only for yourself. Are there many (or any) moments like that? If you can’t think of any, you may have some people-pleasing tendencies.

    9. Arguments and conflict upset you.

    If you’re a people pleaser, you may have a fear of anger-which is understandable. Anger means “I’m not happy or okay.” And if that was your goal, anger is a signal that you’ve failed at pleasing them. To avoid this danger, you feel the need to hurry to apologize to make them happy, even when they’re not necessarily angry at you.

    10. You might avoid and fear conflict that doesn’t have anything to do with you.  

    For example, if a couple of your friends are arguing, you try to offer some advice to repair the situation so they’ll make up and be friends again — maybe even with a slight hope, they’ll think positively toward you for helping them make up.

    The bottom line

    People-pleasing might sound like a kind and helpful thing, but it doesn’t offer you any favors. If you feel drained from trying to keep everyone around you happy, consider talking to a therapist about how you can start to put your needs and happiness first.

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