9 red flags you’re a people pleaser who gives too much of yourself to others

Welcome to the people-pleasing club.

Our number one goal is to be liked. Our number one strategy is to send out enough nice energy to cut every possible conflict at its roots.

Our way of life is to give. And give.

And then give some more.

Sounds familiar? These are the 9 red flags you’re a people pleaser who gives too much of yourself to others.

1) You’re not allocating your time effectively

Time is an unsustainable resource. It has an expiry date.

Unfortunately, people pleasers tend to spend it on other people’s needs more than their own, catering to everyone and anyone in the vicinity.

The world is always buzzing with voices that ask for favors. “Would you cover my next shift, please? Are you free tomorrow? Can you stay in late?”

The difference between people pleasers and others lies in your reaction. More often than not, people pleasers will go to great lengths just to fulfill everyone’s expectations – even if it makes them want to tear their hair out.

The result? You allocate very little time to yourself, leaving you exhausted.

If you think about it from an economical perspective – i.e., the way in which you’re using your number one resource – you’re running a doomed business.

You’re simply giving your time away, without funneling anything back.

2) Your behavior is 100% relationship-driven

One of the primary reasons you give so much of yourself to others is because you’re so relationship-focused.

This isn’t bad in and of itself – as research shows, the quality of our relationships is the driving factor behind our long-term happiness and health.

The problem comes when you prioritize conflict-free relationships above everything else.

And by that, I mean everything – work, self-care, mental and physical well-being, sleep…these all go out the window the moment a relationship with someone could use a bit of attention.

In all that chaos of caring for as many people as you possibly can, you forget that there is one relationship that needs you more than any other: the relationship you have with yourself.

3) You care too much – and take pride in it

Of course, people pleasers aren’t running around trying to please everyone for no reason.

Many consider caring for others their number one source of satisfaction and pride. They like to feel needed, and every time an opportunity pops up for them to showcase just how much they care, they grab it by the horns.

This is because people pleasing is rooted in the desire to prove your worth by demonstrating just how helpful and nice you are.

However, caring can quickly turn into excessive fussing, backfiring on you completely – especially in romantic relationships.

Sometimes, being there for someone is enough. There’s no need to go the extra mile if all they want is quiet support.

4) You let yourself get dragged into uncomfortable situations

While too much care can easily cross someone’s boundaries if you’re not careful, your own boundaries could also use some work. They’re way too flexible.

Imagine a friend’s been begging you to go on a rollercoaster with them.

You hate rollercoasters, but the idea of their sunken face and their cheery mood completely ruined is enough to make you go.

As the rollercoaster’s going up, up, up, the regret is slowly dawning on you, and you start to panic.

Too late. You’ve already said yes. You can’t quit now.

If you’re a people pleaser who gives too much of yourself to others, this feeling is very familiar. You’re so scared you’ll ruin the relationship that you say yes to everything, even when it terrifies you.

The trick lies in realizing that expressing clear boundaries isn’t a good enough reason for a relationship to shatter. If the other person reacts negatively, they’re probably not a good friend to keep around in the first place.

5) You don’t protect the sanctity of your space

Things people pleasers do that assertive people dont 2 9 red flags you’re a people pleaser who gives too much of yourself to others

Speaking of going outside your comfort zone just to please someone else, letting people crash your safe bubble is just as common among people pleasers.

You might have friends who come over to your house uninvited.

You might let your partner join your trip with the girls even though it was supposed to be a man-free space.

You might show your secret favorite place to someone just because they asked one too many times.

Whatever it is, you’re letting others into your sacred space even if it makes you very uncomfortable.

In situations such as these, remember that a simple “I’d prefer to be alone today, how about we meet [suggest a different time and place]?” will go a long way.

6) You feel super anxious when you say “no”

Easy for me to say, right?

It sounds so simple, yet it’s so incredibly difficult to actually say the word out loud. As soon as you decline an invitation or refuse to do someone a favor, anxiety spikes through you like an electric current.

What if they’ll change their mind about you? What if this destroys the friendship? What if it leads to a fight? Were you rude? Should you go back on your word and do it? Is there still time?

Unsure of what to do, you spiral.

Here’s the deal, though. You don’t owe anyone anything. You’re not responsible for how they feel.

Speaking of…

7) You feel like you’re in charge of the relationship

Sometimes, people-pleasing is a symptom of the anxious attachment style. As explained within the frame of the Attachment Theory, an anxious attachment style is all about the fear of rejection.

In other words, you’re so terrified of losing someone that you hold on too tightly. You care too much. You give too much of yourself even if no one asks you to.

What’s more, you strive to feel in control. Who cares if you give 90% and the other person 10%? You’re a collector of scraps, happy with the bare minimum.

If you’ve found yourself in a situation like this, remember that each relationship should be 50/50. Yes, it’s possible that sometimes it’ll be 40/60 and other times 60/40.

But if one person is giving in so much that they basically carry the whole relationship on their shoulders, they’re in a one-sided dynamic.

When you think about it, how good is a relationship if most of it is you? That’s just being alone next to another person.

8) You never voice your needs and wants

Keeping a relationship from falling apart on your own is one thing. Never asking the other person to pull their weight is another.

It can be difficult to gauge the state of a relationship if one party never communicates their expectations. Unfortunately, people pleasers are amazing at keeping all their desires and wishes to themselves, feeling like they’d be too much of a burden otherwise.

But just as loosening up a bit of your control is vital, so is standing up for yourself. Say what you want. Then give the other person enough space to act on it.

If all you hear is crickets, it might be time to focus on other, more nourishing relationships.

9) You’re resentful and exhausted and “just done”

If you put all the above-mentioned things together in a shaker, what do you get?

Two things: burning resentment and emotional drainage.

Not a shake I’d want to drink, that’s for sure.

You’re done. Completely done.

So why is it that you keep on giving?

The truth is, the cycle never ends until you say it does. Remember what we said about time? You only have so much of it.

So what if someone doesn’t like you? So what if a couple of friends change their opinion of you?

The next time you can feel “yes” climbing to your tongue even if your mind’s screaming “no”, I invite you to say the same thing to yourself.

“So what?”

Time’s too precious to ignore the greatest friend you’ll ever have. And if you’re still wondering who that is… look in the mirror.

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Picture of Tina Fey

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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