What is a People Pleaser?
A people pleaser is someone who often puts someone else’s needs ahead of their own to gain approval and make others happy. People pleasing is associated with anxiety and depression, borderline personality disorder, avoidant disorder, and codependency, or dependent personality disorder.
Signs of People Pleasing
- You are committed to more projects or tasks than you have time for
- You have difficulty saying “no”
- People are constantly coming to you for help
- You do not consider your own needs
- You think that people will like you if you do things for them
- You worry a lot about what others think of you
- You do things that you don’t like or don’t want to do
- You worry that people will think you’re selfish if you say no
- You regularly inconvenience yourself or go out of your way for others
Long Term Effects of People Pleasing
- You feel frustrated, angry, and resentful at those who are asking favors of you, because you never wanted to do it in the first place
- You feel anxious, stressed, and burnt out taking on more than you have time for and not taking time to care for yourself
- People might start to take advantage of you without even realizing it if you are always going out of your way to help. They may not realize that you are stretched thin and accept your help because they have become so accustomed to it
How to Stop
- Start small. Decline a smaller request, practice with someone that you feel more comfortable saying no to or saying no via text or email rather than in-person
- Establish boundaries with others. If someone is asking for too much, it’s okay to say that you won’t be able to accommodate them. You can also set limits on when you are available to others, which could be “I can’t help you right now, but I have 15 minutes at 3:00”
- No is a complete sentence. It’s okay if you can’t help! You are not obligated, and there are other people that could lend a hand
- Tolerate the discomfort. It will feel uncomfortable to say no at first, and you may have to learn to sit with that feeling rather than temporarily feeling better by saying yes.
“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm” -Unknown
If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how people pleasing is affecting you, please feel free to book a session with our Provisional Psychologist Katie Laird.