Are you a people pleaser?

Do you worry about how you are perceived by others?
Do you worry that you will not be accepted by others?
Do you take on too many tasks/favours in order to stay on the “good side” of others?

If so, you are likely to be a people pleaser.

A people pleaser allows others to dictate what they should be doing and when they should do it.  People pleasers are more succeptable to being “played” with – manipulated if you like. A people pleaser goes all out even when it is to the detriment of their health and well-being, finances and personal time. Whilst there is nothing wrong with giving your time, money and expertise to others, your reasons for doing so should not be to seek their approval. 

If we are honest, we all enjoy being liked.  We are human and want to be accepted by our family, friends, peers and acquaintances. How far are we willing to go to be accepted, to gain recognition? What happens in the event that we cannot be there for someone- do we suddenly become redundant?

Looking back at a few friendships I had in my teens/early twenties, I was certainly a people pleaser. I gave far more than I received which was due to my low self-esteem and my need to “keep” the friendship.  I felt I always had to be giving in order to be accepted – that me alone was not enough. The danger is friendships can become unbalanced. The other person makes no effort and leaves you to do all the running which of course you do as you are “grateful” for the friendship. You then become resentful and your self esteem takes a knock.

In order to move away from being a people pleaser one must first identify the root of the problem. There will be one, perhaps stemming back to childhood, early adulthood, an unhealthy friendship/relationship.

One can then work on their self-worth in the following number of ways (please note these are only my suggestions);

1. Prayer

2. Self-help books

3. Treat yourself once weekly to do an activity you enjoy

4. Spend time with people who encourage and inspire you

5. Let go of unhealthy relationships

Once you move away from being a people pleaser, you are no longer bound by others. You have no need to feel guilty when you cannot commit or fulfil a request.  You can be at ease with who you are knowing you are accepted whether you are doing or not doing. 

Are you a people pleaser?
Were you a people pleaser? How did you make the break?
What advice would you give others who are struggling in this area?

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24 thoughts on “Are you a people pleaser?”

  1. I, too,agree with Lenie. When I was growing up I had low self-esteem and would say I was a people-pleaser. Now that I’m older, I don’t care much what other people think about me. I’m grateful for friends and family. I don’t have or want negative people in my life because they can sap all the energy out of you.

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  2. I have noticed those who like to please people do so, except with themselves.
    They put so much time into other people they seem to resist putting time into themselves. I think they believe it selfish to do so.
    Thanks for a wonderful post.

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  3. I do like to keep people happy but at the same time, I am not afraid to tell my opinions, in a friendly way of course – and only when it is asked for.

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  4. I was definitely a people pleaser growing up. I really let myself be used because I wanted people to like me. It really does take some self-esteem building to break that. Now, I can fall into moments of people pleasing, but it isn’t a way of life for me anymore.

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  5. Sad to say, I am. Or should I say, I have been. Slowly but surely learning to change that. Learning it is not greedy of me to say “no” if someone asks me to do something that every fiber of my being revolts against. In the past, I would often cave in because it was easier than fighting with others. Now I know caving can cause long-term, irreparable damage. Sometimes, you NEED to fight.

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    1. Redemption – thank you for your comment. You are aware you have a tendency to please others. This is your turning point. I recommend informing others you will let them know if you can do a task rather than hastily jumping in.

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      1. It wasn’t so much related to tasks as it was related to things like, “Okay…if I go to my martial arts class after work instead of straight home to my girlfriend, she will be mad. I really want to go to class though, so…I’ll just head straight home.” Meanwhile I cheated myself out of that much more in-class experience. Who knows how good I could have been by now if I hadn’t been out to avoid a fight? Why stay with people who keep you from what you love? (That is a question for a whole other blog though!)

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      2. Thank you for sharing this. There should always be room for people to pursue their hobbies, whether in a relationship or not. Perhaps if you had informed your girlfriend of the class in advance she would have had time to accept you will be home late one/two nights a week.

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      3. To be honest, that was an example from long ago…and just as a PS to that story: no, no amount of warning would have been acceptable. LOL Now I am in a much better place (mentally), so if someone has a problem with it, I just say, “I’m sorry this upsets you. I don’t quite understand why, but I am doing this for my own happiness…to take care of myself.” And if they have a problem with me doing it after that…well, then there are much bigger issues going on! 🙂

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  6. Not even close! I have however worked with people pleasers so I know it is not an easy thing to deal with, so good for you for identifying the issue and pulling through to a better place.

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  7. I’m with Lenie, the older I get the less I care what anyone else thinks about me. If they aren’t my friends, then they don’t affect me. If they are my friends, they’ll be honest with whatever and I’ll take their input under advisement. I care most about how the way I behave and what I say is seen through God’s eyes. Not people. (He has a lot of work to do in me!)

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    1. Rose Mary – what God thinks should be of more importance to us than what people think. I am learning to care less about what others think of me. As long as I am living my life right before God.

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  8. No, I’m not a people pleaser. Never have been and never will be. Probably because I have high self esteem. Having said that I don’t behave like a bull in a china shop unless it’s essential to put my foot down.

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  9. I think being a people- pleaser is a learned practice, starting at home. If you do something kind your parents will praise you, leaving you to do that more often. But the older I get, the less I care what others think. An elderly lady in a store asked me what I thought about the blouse she was looking at – she loved it but was afraid her daughter wouldn’t approve. I told her that since she was the one that was going to wear it her opinion was the only one that mattered. She smiled and bought the blouse.

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