Are you a people-pleaser? 8 signs you’re putting others before yourself

Are you always the first one to lend a helping hand? Do you find it hard to say no? If you’re nodding in agreement, you might just be a people-pleaser. 

I know how that feels; I’ve been there myself. And sometimes I still catch myself doing it! 

Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at recognizing the signs that I’m putting others before myself. So, I’ve decided to share with you these signs as well in the hope that you can regain control of your life and make sure your own needs are met, too. 

Let’s check out what these signs are!

1) You struggle to say no

Hands up if you’ve ever agreed to do something you didn’t really want to do just because someone asked you.

I know I’ve been guilty of this. I remember a time when a friend asked me to help them move on a weekend when I had already planned some much-needed self-care time. Instead of saying no, I hesitated, and before I knew it, I had agreed to help.

The inability to say no is a major sign that you’re a people-pleaser. At the core of it is the fear that saying no will make you seem selfish or unfriendly

But the truth is, it’s perfectly okay to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Besides, if you can’t stand up for yourself, who will?  

2) You’re always putting others’ needs first

That story above is the perfect example of another sign that you’re a people-pleaser. In my case, I knew I needed some time to recharge, but in the end, I ignored that need and put my friend’s request first. 

Has a similar thing happened to you? Ever feel like you’re bending over backwards to accommodate everyone else’s needs but your own? 

As a people pleaser, you might find yourself doing things for others at your own expense. Careful there…

While it’s wonderful to be kind and generous, remember that self-care is essential. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes your own needs warrant looking after, too! 

3) You feel responsible for others’ emotions

Here’s another question I’d like to ask you. Do you often find yourself trying to “fix” other people’s problems, even if it means putting your own needs aside? 

I get it – as a good friend/partner/family member, you want to be there for your loved ones. You want to be of help because you’ve got an empathetic side. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that, really. As long as you don’t go overboard and begin to feel responsible for their emotions and well-being. 

Look, here’s the thing: no matter how much you want to help, you can’t control everything, much less the feelings of others. It’s just an impossible task and you’re just setting yourself up for failure. 

So, learn to let go and allow people to navigate their own emotions. Trust me, they won’t fall apart if you decide to step back a bit! 

4) You’re always apologizing

Ah, here’s a classic – the chronic apologizing. 

If you’re anything like me, I’m pretty sure you’ve got that dreadful habit of saying sorry constantly. It’s a true-blue sign of people-pleasing

I honestly wasn’t even aware I was always doing it; it had become that much of an automatic mechanism for me. I would catch myself saying sorry even when just asking to borrow something!

Eventually, I saw that it was making me look weak and unsure of myself, and that certainly wasn’t an image I wanted to cultivate. 

So, break that habit and start being mindful of your language – apologize only when it’s warranted and don’t forget to stand up for yourself when needed. 

5) You avoid confrontation at all costs

I used to think confrontation was a dirty word, but I’ve learned that sometimes it’s necessary for growth. 

This is actually why people-pleasers find it hard to stand up for themselves. They avoid confrontation like the plague, often sacrificing their own feelings or opinions in the process. 

It’s been a long road for me learning how to avoid confrontation. I’ve always been one to keep the peace, wanting everything to be smooth and harmonious, never mind if my own feathers were getting ruffled in the process. 

But I’ll tell you this – the way to get past that fear of confrontation is to think about the overall goal. What is it you’re trying to achieve? 

When you shift your focus from yourself or your image to your goal, it becomes easier to engage in healthy conflict, which ultimately leads to better communication and understanding. 

So enough shying away from expressing your thoughts and standing your ground – you deserve to be heard and understood!

6) You constantly seek validation

Another sign that you’re a people-pleaser is if you always seek other people’s approval. People pleasers often need reassurance that they’re liked, valued, or appreciated.

There’s no getting around it – the only way to beat this is to recognize your self-worth. Work on building your self-esteem so that you can learn to trust yourself and your abilities. 

Eventually, you’re going to realize a very important truth: you’re enough just as you are.

7) You’re a chronic overachiever

Do you often push yourself to the limit to meet the expectations of others?

I used to feel like I had to be the best at everything. This drive for perfection can stem from a need to please other people and gain their approval.

 It’s crucial to recognize that nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to have flaws. Cut yourself some slack and learn to accept that sometimes, good enough is good enough.

Or else, you’ll find yourself feeling burned out and exhausted…

8) You’re prone to burnout

This is connected to my previous point. Actually, all the points above. 

That constant effort to be liked and meet other people’s expectations make you take on too much. You juggle multiple commitments and responsibilities, all for the sake of making everyone happy. 

The result? You feel drained and overwhelmed. That’s how it is when you’re not living life according to your desires. When you’re not living authentically. 

As a former people-pleaser, let me tell you: living life on your own terms is bliss. I’m not saying it’s super easy and stress-free, and for sure, you won’t be pleasing everyone. But the bottomline is that it’s infinitely lighter and freer. 

For me, that’s worth the disapproval of certain people. In fact, when you stop people-pleasing, you quickly learn which friends truly love and accept you for who you are. I’ll take that any day over the ones who only value me for what I can do for them!

Final thoughts

As you can see, being a people pleaser might seem like a positive trait on the surface, but it can come at a cost. I’ve learned that putting my own needs first isn’t selfish – it’s necessary for my overall well-being. 

If any of these signs on this list resonate with you, take some time to reflect on your habits and consider implementing changes to ensure a healthier, more balanced life. 

Remember, it’s okay to prioritize yourself, and doing so will ultimately make you better equipped to support those around you.

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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