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.

‘Am I a People Pleaser’? 30 Telltale Signs

Here is a list of the main traits and habits that people pleasers are known to possess. Can you relate to any of the below experiences?

  1. Having low self-worth.
  2. Being unable to say no to anyone.
  3. Suffering from harsh self-criticism.
  4. Being unable to stand your ground.
  5. Finding it difficult to voice your opinions.
  6. Always searching for approval from others.
  7. Caring too much about what others think of you.
  8. Readiness to suffer at the expense of doing things for others.
  9. Putting yourself in others’ shoes but failing to take it easy on yourself.
  10. Often finding yourself being emotionally dependant on your loved ones.
  11. Always, often blindly, seeing the good in everyone even if they have hurt you.
  12. Feeling down for days and possibly weeks when someone criticizes you.
  13. Fearing losing control because of how much you have suppressed your emotions.
  14. Tolerating intrusive, disrespectful, and sometimes even abusive behaviors from others.
  15. Struggling with setting and maintaining your personal boundaries.
  16. Feeling insecure in your actions and opinions and, therefore, having the need to get validation from others.
  17. Conforming to other people’s expectations too easily.
  18. Struggling to make a decision without getting a second opinion first.
  19. Always putting your partner’s needs first in a relationship.
  20. Avoiding taking the initiative (either at work or in your personal life).
  21. Finding it extremely difficult to ask other people for help.
  22. Believing that your problems and struggles don’t matter.
  23. Avoiding even the most trivial conflict situations and preferring to give up before the argument even starts.
  24. Finding it hard to figure out what you want.
  25. Believing that other people (such as your parents or spouse) know better what’s right for you.
  26. Maintaining certain social contacts based only on necessity, not your genuine desire to be friends with them.
  27. Feeling like you are not good enough or don’t do enough for others.
  28. Feeling anxious and tense around authority figures such as your boss.
  29. Always trying to justify other people when they mistreat you.
  30. Suffering from unhealthy guilt and having the tendency to believe that it’s always your fault.

6 Hidden Dangers of Being Too Nice

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 6 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. This is because manipulators and all kinds of shady characters tend to target individuals with self-esteem issues since they are more vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation.

Thus, you will attract scarred and wounded people and become the perfect target for them. Worse still, you probably won’t even realize it because you will be too busy feeling needed and wanted.

But even if you don’t fall into a trap set by devious manipulators, people-pleasing behavior turns on the green light for all kinds of personalities who take advantage of others.

For example, it can be a needy friend who always asks for favors or an inexperienced co-worker who needs help all the time and distracts you from work.

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.

Thus, you will neglect your needs and desires, which inevitably leads to frustration and overall dissatisfaction with life. You may also experience anger and resentment when people mistreat you but fail to release it. You will probably struggle to even talk about your feelings and let others know how their behavior affects 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.

When you maintain a happy facade all the time while hiding your real needs and feelings, you are losing touch with your authentic innermost self. It means that not only do you confuse yourself, but you confuse others too. Basically, you don’t give other people the chance to know the real you.

As a result, you may end up surrounded by the wrong people and living a life that is not meant for you. 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.

You may end up constantly worrying if the job you did was good enough or if you yourself are good enough for others. You may feel like no matter what you do, the result is never satisfactory. This will create an unhealthy striving for perfection.

Since people-pleasing behavior tends to stem from low self-esteem, on the other side of this perfect facade, there are always feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

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. Deep inside, you believe that if you satisfy other people’s needs all the time, you will win their respect and fondness.

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.

6. You avoid conflict at any cost

It makes sense that being a people pleaser is equal to avoiding conflict. Since such a person will do their best to satisfy the needs of others, it will be hard for them to confront someone.

This is particularly true for introverts who tend to avoid confrontation and all sorts of arguments and difficult conversations.

However, when you always agree with everyone, you become a person who doesn’t have opinions of their own and conforms to those of other people. This behavior is not going to bring you the desired respect and approval of those around you.

It also means that in the case of a conflict situation, you won’t do what’s best for you. Instead of facing it, you will just give up to avoid the disagreement that makes you feel utterly uncomfortable.

What to Do If You Are a People Pleaser?

It’s impossible to always make others happy, and there comes a time when you need to put yourself first and stand your ground. And most importantly, it’s impossible to gain everyone’s respect and approval by pleasing them all the time. Most probably, it will have the opposite effect.

If this article made you realize that you are indeed a people pleaser, here are a few more articles that offer recommendations for quitting people-pleasing behavior:

Have you recognized yourself in the above descriptions? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment box below!



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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. 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. 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. Evelyn

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

  4. Antonio Farfan-Fiorani

    I absolutely relate.
    When I was 10, I decided to being myself.
    The Price?: People’s abuse increased, they rejected me and ultimately isolated/”insulated” me. And they continue to do so.
    Present day: I am alone, I feel lonely and I am physically sick beyond any hope of recovery.
    I am a 59-year-old Introvert/Highly Sensitive & Intelligent dying individual.
    I am a Nuclear Cardiologist, just in case.
    And I live in Lima, Peru, where Ignorance is an actual “Lifestyle” and even an “Ideology” (which explains my current health condition).
    Believe it or not: I know best.
    Being Myself was and is my “sin”.
    I just want all this to end (as I am dying, it will, but I want it to end ASAP!).
    This is the truth, because I won’t lie.

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