The path of a people pleaser is a difficult road. No matter what anyone asks of you and no matter how badly your inner voice screams out no, your default and automatic response will always be a yes.

You know you have just signed yourself up for chaos and havoc, and yet, you can’t bring yourself to stop or change your ways. If you are a people pleaser, you will know that it has brought you to your knees and placed you in uncountable awful situations. It has, without a doubt, stolen your self-belief and peace of mind, and possibly been the cause of chronic issues such as addiction or depression.

People-pleasing is very different from being peer-pressured or giving in to our desire to fit in. At some point, all of us have been prone to wanting to be accepted. However, people-pleasing is a long-term, daily struggle.

How can you determine if you are a people pleaser?

Here is a list of the main traits and habits that they are known to possess:

  • Being unable to say no to anyone.
  • Having low self-worth.
  • Readiness to suffer at the expense of doing things for others.
  • Finding it difficult to voice your opinions.
  • Caring too much about what others think of you.
  • Putting yourself in others’ shoes but fail to take it easy on yourself.
  • Always searching for approval from others.
  • Often finding yourself being emotionally dependant on your loved ones.
  • You always, often blindly, see the good in everyone even if they have hurt you.
  • Feeling down for days and possibly weeks when someone criticises you.
  • Fearing losing control because of how much you have suppressed your emotions.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a nice person. In fact, in today’s busy age where people hardly give a second thought to others, it’s a welcome wonder. But inevitably, there are dangers to being overly nice. Here are 5 of them:

1. People use you

Being a people pleaser leaves you wide open to all kinds of abuse. You become very easy to manipulate and bully. You will attract scarred and wounded people and become the perfect target for them. Worse still, you probably won’t even realise it because you will be too busy feeling needed and wanted.

2. You suppress far too much

The need to be wanted by others will cause you to harbor an awful lot of negative and uncomfortable emotions that you simply can’t let out. Especially since it is the total opposite of the image you want others to have of you.

Suppressing emotions is dangerous for not only your mental health but also your physical self. There are dozens of illnesses that are fed and grown from the habit of existing to please others. It is not possible to give yourself completely to others, deny yourself, and still expect to be perfectly fine. In the long run, it will catch up to you.

3. Nobody will ever know the true You

Because you are keeping so much locked inside you, it’s possible that you yourself do not know the true you – let alone anyone else. People only see a fake version of you, which pushes you further away from the love and acceptance you are pursuing.

Eventually, this bitterness will make you end up feeling even more lonely and misunderstood than before.

I lost myself trying to please everyone else. Now I'm losing everyone while I'm finding myself.

I lost myself trying to please everyone else. Now I’m losing everyone while I’m finding myself.


4. You have extreme pressure keep up appearances

When you are always nice to people and others see you as someone who can do no wrong, the pressure is on to keep things that way.

Maintaining this image of perfection is hard work. In fact, it’s almost a full-time job in itself. Constantly staying in others’ good books will cause you to keep on sacrificing and give you huge stress.

5. You become a control freak

Being a people pleaser is a double-edged sword. It is selfless because of how much you keep sacrificing for others. Yet, it is a selfish act because you want to control how others act and feel towards you.

It may sound harsh, but in essence, you are always being nice because you want others to like and appreciate you. This usually stems from deep unresolved self-issues, such as feeling worthless or powerless and can leak into other areas of your life too.

Having the constant need to control everything will put insurmountable stress on your mind and body because you are depriving it of the rest and relaxation it needs.

What are your thoughts? Share them in the comment box below!


Francesca Forsythe, LL.M., M.Phil.

Copyright © 2012-2020 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Stephen Beres

    Learning to say NO without apology or excuse. “No.” is a complete sentence.
    No need to be surly or sorry.
    Just smile and say “No. I’d rather not.”
    Don’t feel pressured to explain.
    Repeat, “Look. My answer is No. Okay?”
    Then either walk away or say nothing as you break eye contact and look down on your desk as you pick up a pen. Endure the uncomfortable silence without expression.
    Practice doing this until it’s easy.

  2. Avatar
    Thea Dunlap

    I have considered myself a people pleaser since back in my elementary years up to high school. But after that dark time I had, I became less of the people pleaser I was before. Still I had some of the traits, old habits die hard right? But I learned when to say no and know my self-worth.

  3. Avatar

    Great article describing the issue, but can you suggest any ways to change this behaviour?

Leave a Reply