• Ruth

Signs you're a people pleaser and how to deal with it

People pleasing is a term we've most likely come across but not taken the time to really find out what it is and how it affects our behavior. In this article, I share the definition, signs to be aware of and some helpful tips to work with.

What is people pleasing?

People pleasing is the idea of meeting other people’s needs at the expense of their own.

Another definition says: a people pleaser frequently attends to other people’s well being without considering the effects it has on themselves.

Here are some signs you might be a people pleaser:

  • You agree with the majority, even if that view isn’t held by you

  • You often avoid conflict because you feel that there’s no need to cause a rift

  • You feel responsible for other people, particularly in how they feel

  • You find it difficult to say no

  • You apologize frequently even when it isn’t your fault

  • You’re quite busy

  • You seek assurance and praise from people

If you’re a people pleaser, you may naturally care for people and want to ensure everyone around you is doing well. The issue here is the idea of balance. It’s possible that there may be self esteem or self worth issues that may cause you to think you are responsible for everyone around you.

Maybe your parents marriage ended up in divorce during you childhood. Before the divorce in moments of tension, you noticed that every time you did something they liked, it alleviated any stress. With time you kept repeating it to avoid more tension and felt responsible for the mood of your parents.

A similar idea also applies to children of immigrant parents. You were taught to always do what your parents or those in authority asked of you. This resulted in you feeling accepted. Inherently, there's nothing wrong with this. However, with time you attached affirmation or acceptance with achievement, in this case, good grades. Anything outside that norm and there were issues which presented with uncomfortable feelings.

You may feel that by doing things people want you to do, you will be accepted. However, most times as you are doing those things you’re not even happy and thereby doing yourself a disservice. What can also occur is people then take advantage of your kindness. If there are no boundaries, people will take the space they’re given.

One dangerous thing about people pleasing is that you lose sight of your values and that means you aren’t living a life that is authentic to you. Overtime you will be burnout, frustrated and generally unhappy with the trajectory of your life

Helpful tips

Learn the art of saying no

A people pleaser may feel the urge to say yes to everything. One way to avoid that is to ask for some time to think about the ask. For example, let me think about it or even just saying no. There are other things you’re doing

Assert your value

Well, first you have to define them. Once you do, you will be able to decipher what fits into your life and what ultimately doesn’t.

Develop boundaries

The space you give, is the space people will fill. So maybe, give a loved one 1 Saturday per month to watch their kids. Give your friends, an evening every two weeks. Keep in mind that people actually respect boundaries but it might be that you need to create it first.

I always remember this; for every yes I give to someone, I’m denying myself something too.

With love,



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