The Quick Report

Why You Should Stop Being a “People Pleaser”

Isn’t it good to make other people happy?

Many of us are taught that “good people” give and do for others. While that is true, like all things, such actions have limits and require moderation. We all should be flexible, being willing to “give and take” so that we don’t put ourselves first at the expense of others. But flexibility also has its limits. 

The adage: “You can’t please all the people all the time,” should be taken into account. We can even rephrase this to say: “You shouldn’t try to please all the people all the time, not even only one person all the time.”

What Is a People Pleaser?

Being a “people pleaser” goes way beyond being pleasant and making others feel comfortable. A dedicated people pleaser is someone who tends to go out of their way in helping others, to ensure others have what they need and are happy.

A people pleaser tends to put others first to the degree that they limit, diminish, or even completely neglect their own needs in doing so.

What Makes Someone Become a People Pleaser?

There are many reasons someone falls into the trap of being a people pleaser. Let’s look at a few scenarios.

1. Peacekeeping and Dealing With Difficult People

People pleasing is one way of dealing with a difficult person. Rather than having to confront them or get entwined in an argument, a people pleaser will simply surrender to doing whatever it takes to pacify the difficult person. Therefore, accommodating others is akin to “peacekeeping.” 

2. Getting People to Like You

Being a people pleaser is a way to make other people like you. Because you are always accommodating the other person, you become easy to like because you are never a challenge or a threat to them. You are forever easy-going and a “yes” person.

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3. Balancing Low Self-Esteem

This too, is about getting people to like you. For people with low self-esteem, being a people pleaser helps them feel needed, or a sense of worth, and validated.

4. Forging Relationships You Might Not Otherwise Have

Also part of getting people to like you and validating low self-esteem, being a people pleaser sometimes allows you to forge and maintain relationships you might not otherwise have. Because you are giving something the other person finds useful, that person will keep you in their circle, (but usually only as long as you are useful to them).

When Being a People Pleaser Backfires

Ultimately, being a people pleaser can backfire on you, and it usually comes as soon as you stop doing whatever it is you do for the other person.

This happens because your relationship with this other person is not balanced with the usual “give-and-take.” That is, you are doing all the giving, they are doing all the taking. Your relationship is not reciprocal.

1. Expectations and Taking Advantage

The ugly truth is that some people will gladly take advantage of someone who continually gives freely. Further, they come to expect it. Worse, when you stop doing something or say “no,” the other person becomes angry with you.

2. Internal Stress and Resentment

People pleasers often have an internal struggle. Because they are so eager to please, they will say yes when they really want to say “no.”

People pleasers also can feel resentment. Especially when they know the other person is taking advantage of them, and never offers anything in return, yet the pleaser keeps on giving.

3. Loss Due to Self-Sacrifice

People pleasers often suffer various forms of loss due to sacrificing themselves for another person. The losses may come financially or from missing out on opportunities, giving up valuable time, or harming other relationships you may have.

It can even lead to a loss of health due to self-neglect.

Read More: The Dark Side of Saying “I’m Sorry”

How to Stop People From Pleasing

Here are some steps you can take toward stopping the practice of being a people pleaser.

1. Learn to Say “NO” and Stop Making Excuses

It’s okay to say no sometimes. True, someone may not like your answer. While we always want to do the best for others, our needs must also always be considered, and sometimes our needs must take precedence.

Stop making excuses. It’s not necessary to make an excuse for why you can’t do something, simply say no. You don’t always need to explain yourself. Explaining yourself can lead to others trying to get you to change your mind. Remember, “no” is a full sentence.

2. Set Boundaries and Stop Self-Sacrifice

One of the problems with being “too giving,” is that it can set expectations that cannot be maintained. To avoid these situations, set boundaries you are comfortable with from the start.

3. Accept Yourself and Be Yourself

People pleasing can be a byproduct of low self-esteem. Instead of trying to fit in, accept yourself for who you are, and don’t try to change yourself. Also, expect others to accept you for who you are.

4. Ask Others to Help You

Another great way to overcome the people pleasing habit is to ask others to help you. This will help you to stop seeing yourself as the “rescue squad” for everyone else’s problems. It will also help you see that when you ask someone for help and they say “no,” it’s not such a big deal.

Read More: 10 Magnetic Traits for Happy Long-Term Relationships