Why am I a people pleaser? Is that such a bad thing? What can I do to stop people pleasing? Perhaps these questions are running through your mind because you just realized that you have become a people pleaser or that you always tend to do what others want.
If you think you are a people pleaser and are wondering what causes this behavior, this post is for you. We shall discuss the reasons why you are a people pleaser, why people pleasing is bad, and how to stop.
However, before we go to that, we shall start by defining who is a people pleaser, just in case you are unsure whether you are one. We shall also provide the signs you’re a people pleaser so you can recognize them, identify the causes of this behavior, and find a way to stop being a people pleaser going forward. Read on…
Jump to a Section:
- What is a People Pleaser?
- Signs You’re a People Pleaser
- Why Being a People Pleaser Is Bad
- 10 Reasons Why You Are a People Pleaser
- How to Stop People Pleasing Behavior
What is a People Pleaser?
Am I a people pleaser? How can I know? Perhaps someone called you a ‘people pleaser’ and you don’t know what that means, and whether it is a good thing or bad.
If you are worried that you may be one, here is your answer on the definition of who is a people pleaser.
A people pleaser is someone who likes to do things to make other people happy or approve of them, often at the expense of their own happiness and needs.
A person who is a people pleaser does more than just be kind and considerate to others. People pleasing behavior may go as far as you changing yourself by compromising your morals, values, and ethics or altering how you look while trying to be liked by others or fit in with a particular group.
One can exhibit people pleasing behaviors both in their personal and professional lives. You may want to do things that your parents, romantic partner, and children will approve of, or you could be a people pleaser at work by always doing what you hope your boss, colleagues, or clients would like.
Below are some other signs you are a people pleaser and why people pleasing behavior is bad.
10 Signs You’re a People Pleaser
- You give in to things, even if you don’t like them
- You feel guilty when you don’t do what others want or if you let them down
- You always put other people’s feelings and wellbeing first
- You worry about what others think of you a lot
- You give too much of yourself and your resources to others
- You feel like you have to be nice and happy all the time
- You always try to avoid confrontation and conflict
- You are overly apologetic, even for things that aren’t your fault
- You depend on other’s approval for your sense of self-worth
- You change yourself to be like everyone else or to be liked
Reasons Why Being a People Pleaser Is Bad
Though people pleasing behavior can affect you, your relationships, and your life positively in some ways, it usually has adverse effects for most people. That is why you need to identify the reasons why you are a people pleaser and find a way to stop this tendency to want to do what others want, to be liked, or seek other people’s approval.
Some of the reasons why being a people pleaser is bad include;
- You could neglect yourself because you put others’ needs first and yours last
- You may make bad decisions about important things
- Being a people pleaser can make others take advantage of you, take you for granted or lose respect for you
- You may lose your authenticity while trying to fit in
- Being a people pleaser is mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting
- It could ruin your relationship with yourself and with others
- It drains your resources, i.e., money, time, energy, connections, etc.
- You value others’ opinions too much
- You may become frustrated and resentful over time
- Being a people pleaser can make people not trust you
- It could limit your growth
- People pleasing could make you undervalue yourself and be okay with getting less than you deserve
- You may develop health issues for stretching yourself too thin and neglecting your needs
10 Reasons Why You Are a People Pleaser
- Past experiences
Our past experiences usually determine the kind of person we become, and they can be among the main reasons why you are a people pleaser.
For instance, if you grew up in an abusive home, seeing people fight around you or only getting rewards and compliments when you do something your parents/guardians approve of, you could develop people pleasing behavior that sticks even when you are older.
You will always try to please others in order to avoid conflict, confrontations, or abuse, even if there is no real threat of these things happening.
You may also have people pleasing tendencies because your past experiences have shown you that you only get rewarded, complimented, or kind words when you fulfill someone else’s expectations and needs.
- Lack of a sense of self-worth
Do you value yourself? Where does your sense of self-worth come from? Though your self-worth should come from within, for many people, such as people pleasers, their sense of self-worth is tied to how others view them, their accomplishments, and their material possessions. They need external validation to feel they deserve good things like love, success, and happiness.
The lack of a sense of self-worth could be one of the reasons why you are a people pleaser. You may not put your needs first because you don’t value yourself and believe others are worth more than you do.
You will also not feel worthy of good things unless you accomplish something, help others, or meet their expectations to gain approval and acceptance.
Sadly, even if you become successful, you may have imposter syndrome or an inferiority complex that will make you only feel worthy of your success when others validate it.
- You want to fit in
Humans are social beings. We have a need to connect with others in order to gain a sense of belonging with particular groups and communities.
However, we may not always be accepted in every group we would like to be a part of, especially if we are different in some way.
One of the reasons why you are a people pleaser could be that you want to fit in and be liked by others in a group you would like to join. You may participate in activities you don’t particularly want to do, be too nice and extra generous to them, or even change yourself to be like the people in the group.
- Fear of rejection
No one likes to be rejected. Hence, when we fear it might happen, we will try to avoid the rejection in any way we can.
Whether it is in relationships or at the workplace, the reasons why you are a people pleaser could be that you fear rejection and, thus, are doing things that the other person approves to attempt to avoid it.
You want to be what other people want you to be so they don’t reject you. For instance, if you fear that a girl or guy you like may be about to reject your advances or break up with you, you may go out of your way to do things that make them happy, no matter the cost.
If you fear that your boss will fire you, you could overwork yourself and agree to everything they want without caring about your health, moral values, or ethics.
- You are too empathetic and nice
It is okay to be empathetic, nice, and considerate. However, if you are too compassionate to others, it might be the reason why you are a people pleaser.
You may be a genuinely caring and kind person, but others may mistake this for weakness and try to take advantage of you or take you for granted because they know you will always be there for them.
Additionally, being too empathetic and always wanting to please everyone can take a toll on you. Your physical and mental health may be affected because you are so busy caring for others that you forget to take care of yourself.
- People pleasing is an anxiety response
Being a people pleaser can also be caused by anxiety.
For instance, as an anxious person, you may not want to let others down, hold conversations for too long, have pending tasks, or argue about things, and thus, you agree to things too quickly to get them done fast and perfectly or to be left alone by nagging people.
If you experience social anxiety, you may become a people pleaser because you want to be positively evaluated by others. You believe that by doing what people want, you will be liked and judged favorably in social settings.
Another common cause of people pleasing behaviors is love, especially blind love and unrequited love.
The reason why you are a people pleaser is that you are in love with someone, and therefore, you want to do things that make them happy while neglecting your own needs and happiness.
To please someone when blinded by love for them, you could do even morally wrong things and tolerate their toxic behaviors. In the case of unrequited love, you may go above and beyond for someone who will never reciprocate your feelings or energy.
Unfortunately, being a people pleaser can have negative effects on your relationships. For instance, you may become frustrated and resentful if your partner doesn’t return the same treatment you give them. You could also burn yourself out trying to meet someone else’s expectations and needs.
Additionally, being a people pleaser could lead to you neglecting your own needs and becoming heavily dependent on your partner for your happiness and sense of self-worth.
- A dislike for conflict and confrontations
Even people without past trauma or anxiety can hate confrontations and conflict. After all, it is a lot easier to be agreeable and go along with what others want than to stand up and fight for what you want.
As such, one of the reasons why you are a people pleaser could be that you do it to avoid drama, conflict, and confrontations that could probably result if you were to stand up for yourself.
- You don’t like disappointing others
The fear of disappointing others could be one of the reasons why you are a people pleaser. You may feel guilty or ashamed thinking that you did something wrong or failed someone whenever you say ‘no’ to things or when you cannot meet their expectations of you.
To avoid letting others down, you could say ‘yes’ to anything the other person wants even though you don’t want to and burn yourself out trying to meet their expectations.
- To get something in return
Let’s be honest; not many of us would do something just to do it out of the goodness of our hearts, i.e., without expecting anything in return. Most people pleasers are no exception.
One of the reasons why you are a people pleaser could be that you want something from others in return, whether it is the same treatment, love, rewards, recognition, or something else.
However, you may go above and beyond to please people and still get nothing in return, which could make you feel frustrated and resentful. For this reason, you should learn how to stop people pleasing behavior. Read on…
How to Stop Being a People Pleaser
- Increase self-awareness to notice when you are people pleasing
- Set your goals and know your priorities
- Recognize your worth, start putting yourself first, and ask for what you deserve
- Set boundaries and enforce them
- Find a balance between being liked and respected
- Embrace your authentic self, love yourself, and stop trying to fit in
- Learn to say ‘no’ to things you don’t want without explaining yourself or making excuses
- Be assertive and start standing up for yourself and your beliefs or values
- Be honest with people instead of trying to please them by telling lies
- Take some time to really think about requests before agreeing to them
Am I a people pleaser? Why am I a people pleaser? If you were asking yourself these questions, you now know the answers and can tell if you have this personality type. In this post, we have discussed the signs and reasons why you are a people pleaser, the dangerous effects of people pleasing behavior, and how to stop being a people pleaser.
Being a people pleaser is not always a bad thing. We all should strive to be kind, caring, considerate, and generous to others because these are key for creating and maintaining healthy relationships. When you go to the extreme of always trying to make other people happy at the expense of your own happiness and needs, that is when being a people pleaser is bad.
People pleasing behavior can negatively affect you, your relationships, your career, and your life in general. Therefore, it is good to know the signs of being a people pleaser, determine the causes of your people pleasing behavior, and find a way to stop this tendency. The above tips will help you do all these, for your own sake and for your relationships!
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