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  • Martyna Bobek

Are You A People Pleaser?

Do you consider yourself to be a kind and helpful person?

Do you often do whatever it takes to keep people happy?

How often does doing things for other people leave you feeling emotionally depleted, stressed, and anxious?

If this sounds like you, you may be a people pleaser. While naturally considerate and kind, people-pleasing tendencies can get in the way of your own needs, wellbeing, and happiness.

This post explores the traits of a people-pleaser and a few tips to help you stop putting others first and ensure that your needs are met.

What Is a people-pleaser?

There are a variety of characteristics that people-pleasers tend to share. Here are a few signs that you may be a people-pleaser:

● You have a hard time saying "no."

● You are preoccupied with what other people may think.

● You feel guilty when you do say no to people.

● You fear that people will think that you're selfish or mean if you turn them down.

● You agree to things you don’t want to do or like doing.

● You struggle with low-self esteem.

● You want to be liked by people and feel that you'll win their approval by doing things for them.

● You’re always apologizing to people.

● You take the blame even when you're not at fault.

● You rarely have free time because you’re always doing things for other people.

● You neglect your own needs for the needs of others.

● You agree with people even when you don't.

People-pleasers tend to be good at tuning into what others are feeling. You may also be naturally empathetic, kind, and caring. These positive characteristics can also come with a tendency to overachieve, a poor self-image, or the need to take control.

While people often describe you as a giver, all effort to keep others happy usually leaves you feeling drained and stressed. This behavior can also be found in a few mental health conditions, such as:

● Depression

● Avoidant personality disorder

● Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

● Codependency or dependent personality disorder

Tips to top people-leasing

Fortunately, you can do a few things to stop being a people pleaser and learn how to balance a desire to make people happy without sacrificing your own needs.

A few steps you can take include the following:

Set boundaries. It's important to know what your limits are and then communicate them to people in your life. Be clear and specific about the things you're willing to take on. If it seems like someone's asking for too much, let them know that although you wish you could help, their request is simply over the bounds of what you're willing to do.

Another way to set boundaries includes:

● Only taking phone calls at certain times throughout the day so you can get your tasks done.

● Setting limits for specific periods. This ensures that you have control of not only what you're willing to do but also when you’re able to do it.

Start small. It’s never easy to start changing your ways, so you can start by asserting yourself in small ways. In a way, it’s like retraining yourself. But at the same time, you’re also teaching people around you to understand your new limits.

It can be helpful to start small and work your way up. Start by saying no to small, minor tasks, express your opinion about something small, or ask for something you need.

For example, say no to a text request. Then, you can work your way up to telling people no on the phone, in person, and so on.

Practice in various settings or situations, such as talking to salespeople at the mall, ordering your food at a restaurant, or even dealing with co-workers. Every time you take a small step, you'll gain greater confidence that will help you take back control of your life.

Set goals and prioritize. Consider where and what you want to do with your time. Who do you want to talk to? What are you trying to accomplish today? Knowing your priorities helps you decide whether or not you've got the time and energy to devote to something or someone else in your life.

If something is draining too much of your energy or time, take steps to address the problem. As you practice implementing those boundaries and saying no to things you don't want to do, you'll notice that you have more time to give to the essential things you do.

Assess the request. Look for clues that other people may be trying to take advantage of your kindness. Are there people who constantly seem to want or need something from you but are then suddenly unavailable if you need them for something?

Or are certain people aware of your generous nature and ask you for things because they already know that you can't say no?

If you feel like you're being manipulated into doing something, take some time to reflect and assess the situation. They decide how you want to proceed with the request. For people who keep pushing you or insisting that you help, practice being firm and clear. Remember, you don't need to explain why you say no.

Avoid making excuses. It's essential to be direct in saying "no" and avoid blaming other obligations and making excuses. Once you start explaining why you're allowing others a way to poke holes into your excuse, or you may be permitting them to change their request to assure that you can still do what they're asking of you.

When you decline something, use a decisive tone and combat any urge to add extra details about your reasoning. Remind yourself that "no" can be a complete sentence.

Help when you want to. You don't need to give up being thoughtful, kind, and generous. Each of those qualities can contribute to healthy and strong relationships with other people. The key is to examine your intentions and motivations before doing something. Don't only do something because of your fear of rejection or the need for approval from others.

Keep doing good things, but remember to do them on your terms. Kindness doesn't require attention or rewards—but rather, a desire to make things better for someone else.


While people-pleasing may come from a place of kindness, it can lead to problems in your daily life and ultimately cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Pay attention to the times and specific moments when you're people-pleasing and practice advocating for your own needs instead of someone else's.

Keywords: saying no, boundaries.


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