If you consistently do these 9 things, you’re being a people pleaser (without realizing it)

There’s a thin line between being nice and being a people pleaser.

Being nice includes considering others’ feelings, but it doesn’t mean you always put them before your own.

But when you’re a people pleaser? You’re constantly bending over backwards to make others happy, often at your own expense.

If you find yourself consistently doing certain things, you might be being a people pleaser without even realizing it.

In this article, I’ll share the 9 telltale signs so you can spot if you’re falling into the people-pleasing trap.

1) You rarely say no

There’s an enormous difference between being agreeable and never disagreeing.

If you find yourself always saying yes, even when you should be saying no, you might be a people pleaser.

This could manifest in many ways. From accepting every social invite, to taking on more work than you can handle, to agreeing with opinions that you don’t share.

It’s perfectly normal to want to avoid conflict and keep the peace. But if this behavior is consistent, you could be compromising your own needs and values to keep others happy.

Remember, it’s okay to say no. In fact, sometimes it’s the most respectful thing you can do for yourself and others.

This isn’t about being selfish, but about understanding your own limits and respecting them. And crucially, it helps others understand and respect your boundaries too.

So, next time you’re tempted to automatically say yes, take a moment. Ask yourself if it’s what you really want or if you’re just trying to please someone else.

2) You feel responsible for others’ happiness

I learned this lesson the hard way.

A few years ago, I was planning a surprise party for my best friend. I wanted everything to be perfect – the décor, the food, the guest list. I was so caught up in making sure everyone else would have a good time that I ended up stressing myself out to the point of exhaustion.

When the party finally came around, I was so worn out that I could hardly enjoy it. And the ironic thing? My friend would have been just as happy with a simple gathering and less fuss.

That’s when I realized – I was placing the responsibility of everyone else’s happiness on my shoulders. And it was draining me.

If you consistently find yourself feeling responsible for how others feel, you may be a people pleaser. It’s great to want to make people happy, but remember that their emotions are ultimately their own responsibility, not yours.

3) You apologize excessively

Apologies are important. They demonstrate empathy and understanding when we’ve made a mistake. However, people pleasers often find themselves saying ‘I’m sorry’ when it’s not necessary.

This could be anything from apologizing for things outside of your control, to saying sorry when someone else bumps into you.

Did you know that, according to a study published in Psychological Science, women tend to apologize more than men? Not because they’re more often at fault, but because they’re more likely to identify a need for an apology in daily situations.

If you’re constantly apologizing, even when you’re not at fault, it’s worth considering whether you’re doing this out of a desire to keep the peace and avoid conflict. Being mindful of this habit can help you break free from the cycle of over-apologizing and reclaim your self-confidence.

4) You prioritize others’ needs over your own

This one is subtle, but it’s a telling sign.

As a people pleaser, you might find yourself habitually putting others’ needs before your own. Maybe you give up your lunch break to help a coworker, or you neglect your hobbies to spend time with others.

It’s a noble trait to be considerate and thoughtful. But when you consistently put others first, you’re often left feeling drained, resentful, or even overlooked.

It’s not selfish to prioritize your own needs. In fact, it’s critical for your wellbeing.

Next time you’re about to put someone else’s needs before your own, pause and ask yourself: “Am I doing this because I genuinely want to, or because I don’t want to disappoint them?”

Your answer might surprise you.

5) You avoid conflict at all costs

phrases even well intentioned people say that can ruin someones day If you consistently do these 9 things, you’re being a people pleaser (without realizing it)

Conflict is part of life. It’s a way for us to express our differences, clear misunderstandings, and grow.

But if the mere thought of conflict sends your heart racing, you might be a people pleaser. You might find yourself going to great lengths to avoid disagreements, even if it means suppressing your own thoughts and feelings.

This doesn’t just lead to resentment, but it can also prevent you from having meaningful conversations that deepen relationships and lead to personal growth.

It’s okay to disagree. It doesn’t mean you’re being difficult or causing trouble. It simply means you’re standing up for what you believe in.

6) You seek validation from others

There’s something deeply human about wanting to be liked and appreciated. But for a people pleaser, this desire can become an overwhelming need.

If you find yourself constantly seeking validation from others – in your work, your relationships, your personal achievements – you might be a people pleaser.

But here’s the truth: your worth is not determined by the opinions of others. It comes from within. From knowing who you are, what you stand for, and acknowledging your own strengths and accomplishments.

You are enough, just as you are. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone else.

7) You struggle with decision-making

I’ve always had a hard time choosing – whether it’s picking a restaurant for dinner or deciding on a career path. I would always worry about disappointing others with my choices.

Over time, I realized this wasn’t just indecisiveness. It was a symptom of people-pleasing. I was so focused on choosing what I thought would make others happy, that I lost sight of what I wanted.

If you find yourself struggling to make decisions, especially when others are involved, you might be a people pleaser. You might fear making the ‘wrong’ choice and upsetting others, so you avoid making a decision at all.

But remember, it’s your life. You have the right to make choices that align with your desires and values, even if others might not agree.

Next time you’re faced with a decision, take a moment to tune into what you truly want. It’s okay to choose yourself.

8) You feel uncomfortable when someone is upset with you

It’s natural to feel a bit uneasy when someone is upset with you. But if that discomfort turns into anxiety or distress, you might be a people pleaser.

People pleasers often go above and beyond to fix situations or smooth over conflicts to avoid feeling this discomfort.

But here’s the thing: it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. Disagreements and misunderstandings are a part of life.

So instead of trying to immediately rectify the situation, try to sit with the discomfort. Understand that it’s okay for people to be upset sometimes, and it doesn’t always reflect on you personally.

9) You’re not true to yourself

At the heart of people pleasing is a departure from authenticity.

When you’re constantly shaping your behavior to cater to others, you might lose touch with who you truly are. You may start suppressing your true feelings, desires, and needs in an effort to keep others happy.

But living a life that’s not true to who you are can lead to feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction.

The most important thing you can do is honor your truth. It’s okay to prioritize your needs, share your opinions, and make decisions that serve you.

You are enough, just as you are. And that’s something no amount of people pleasing can ever change.

Final thoughts: It’s about balance

At the heart of being a people pleaser is often a well-intentioned desire to make others happy. But as we’ve explored, this can often come at the expense of your own happiness and well-being.

The good news? It’s possible to strike a balance.

To quote the renowned psychologist Dr. Brené Brown, “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your needs, to say no, to express your feelings openly, and to make decisions that serve you.

You do not need to be everything to everyone. You are enough, just as you are. And that’s a truth worth holding on to.

Picture of Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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