13 Ways to Stop Being a People-Pleaser
There's nothing inherently wrong with being nice or kind to someone else. In fact, it's a pretty valuable trait. But it can also be something we do to avoid disappointing others or put pressure on ourselves to live up to an ideal image. A lot of people-pleasers consciously choose to act this way because they are afraid of upsetting others. It is a great way to avoid conflict, but in the long run it will leave you feeling drained and unhappy. It's hard to be true to yourself when you're always changing your actions and words based on what you think other people want.
It becomes easy to focus the majority of your energy on pleasing other people rather than focusing on providing yourself with happiness. As a result, this kind of behavior inevitably causes low self-esteem, feeling like there are too many expectations on you, and the development of poor coping skills.
Here are 13 tips that will help you stop being a people-pleaser, accept yourself, and become a much happier human being.
Be true to yourself instead of trying to fit in.
The most important thing to remember about your behavior is to stay true to yourself. Avoid doing something just because it'll make you look good in someone else's eyes, and stick to what you know is right for you. If you've been put on the spot and asked to do something that you don't feel comfortable with, don't be afraid to stand your ground. It shows that you are strong enough to make your own decisions.
You can stop being a people-pleaser, but not by changing who you are. Instead, be true to yourself, and people will respect you for it.
Learn to say "NO"
Yes, this is a hard one.
Sometimes people-pleasing can become such a deeply ingrained habit that you have to tell yourself that it is okay to say "no". It's okay to put yourself first and say "no" if someone asks you for something you don't want to do, or if they ask you for something unreasonable or impossible. You also need to stop saying "yes" when you not getting anything out of the task at hand and are just doing it because the other person is asking you for help.
The most important part about this is reminding yourself that saying "no" when you mean it isn't being selfish, it's taking care of yourself.
Set healthy boundaries.
People-pleasers are often unaware of the boundaries they need to set in their lives. But you can start by noticing what you are doing.
This might seem difficult at first, but it is important that you start noticing what is happening and identify things that need to change. Make a list of the things you are doing that make you feel unhappy or used, like getting coffee for a coworker, and rank them in order of importance with the most significant items on top.
This simple strategy can allow you to remain true to yourself without feeling the need to please everyone. Boundaries give you the ability to say "no" when another person asks for help or takes advantage of your time. Remember, you are not selfish--you are just confident enough in who you are that you know it's okay not to agree with someone's requests all the time.
Stop making excuses.
The moment you stop making excuses, you'll have more time and energy to do what you really want to do. You'll feel more in control of your life and less of a victim to other people's demands.
If you make an excuse every time someone asks you to do something for them -- as in "Sorry, I'm afraid I can't do it, because..." -- then it can lead to a lack of work-life balance and leave little time for personal pursuits. (In other words: You'll get burned out.) It also means that people will start taking advantage of your good nature -- and there's nothing more frustrating than being used and taken advantage of!
Next time someone asks for a favor or asks you to do something that takes up your time or energy, just reject their request without an excuse. If they ask why, tell them that you are in the process of working on your own personal development and would like to focus on that right now, or something similar. It's okay if they don't understand at first, because chances are they will eventually see why it's important for you.
Listen to your inner voice.
Life is a journey, and on that journey you will meet many people who will want things from you. You may find yourself becoming someone else's doormat in order to get them to like you. The problem with this is that it will stop you from being able to be happy and make your own decisions.
If you want to stop being a people-pleaser, then start listening to what your inner voice is telling you. This voice may be telling you that certain people are toxic and that they aren't worth it.
You could also use meditation as a way of strengthening your inner voice so that it doesn't get drowned out by the loud voices of those around you. Meditation can help give clarity on what your true desires are and how to achieve them more easily on your own.
Spend some time alone.
Spending time alone is essential for your mental and physical health. Many people are afraid of being alone as they worry that they will become lonely, bored, or anxious.
All these are wrong ideas that come from modern society with its hyper-connected world. When you are alone, there is no one to please but yourself. You don't need to worry about what other people will think about you while you're enjoying solitude.
Spending time alone can help us understand our own thoughts, feelings, and needs better. It can also help us find out what makes us happy or unhappy. Being able to know ourselves better can be very helpful in many ways.
There are many benefits of spending time alone that make it worth trying out, even if just for a little while each week.
Remember that you can't please everyone.
It is a tough pill to swallow, but you have to understand that you can't make everybody happy. The simple truth is that you can't please everyone all the time because people's needs are different from person to person. Acting a certain way to please one person may upset or offend someone else.
Instead, try to act authentically and people who like the true you will appreciate you for who you are.
Learn to be assertive and stand up for yourself.
There are times when people don't know that they're bothering you. They might be your friends or family, and they might have good intentions. But if you've had enough, it's time to take a stand.
You can tell them in any number of ways, whether it's bluntly and up-front, or more subtly, for instance by changing the subject. You can also use body language to get your point across. It takes a little practice, but being assertive is an important life skill for everyone to master.
It's important not to let others dictate how you live your life and how you feel about yourself. Being assertive will help you set boundaries and make sure that those boundaries are respected by others around you.
Ask others for help.
Asking for help is an important step in overcoming people-pleasing. It's not going to be simple, especially if you are used to being the go-to person in your circle of friends and family. But it is healthier for you and for those around you to start asking others for help, rather than trying to do everything yourself.
Start by asking a person close to you, such as your spouse or best friend, for feedback on how often they see you doing too much. They might also be able to give a helpful perspective on how they feel when people say no to them, so you can see that it is not as scary as you thought.
Society often tells us that our flaws are undesirable and make us less perfect.
When you give in to people-pleasing, you lose touch with who you are. You start to believe that your value can be measured by what other people think of you. But this is not the case. Accepting your flaws is difficult.
The more time and energy you spend trying to please someone else, the less time and energy you have for yourself or the things that matter most to you. The best way out of this situation is to stop caring about what others think of us and fully accept ourselves as we are.
It's okay to not be perfect. You're a human and you're going to make mistakes, but as long as you learn from them and are honest with yourself about what you can do better, it's okay to keep moving forward.
Part of accepting yourself is acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and using them to your advantage. When you accept yourself for who you are, everyone else will eventually follow suit.
Be more honest about your feelings.
Being honest is the best policy! In life you will face rejection at some point, and you should be ready for that. However, if you are honest with people, it will open up new doors for you.
When dealing with family and friends, honesty is a virtue. It's always better to say what's on your mind than to harbor feelings of resentment or anger. When communicating about your feelings with someone else, it is important that they know about your true intentions and motivations behind what you say. Being open about your feelings also helps other people understand you better as well.
Don't dwell on your past.
Dwelling on the past will only bring about negative feelings and emotions. You will likely feel regretful or maybe even guilty. This is not something you should allow yourself to do.
The best way to start over is by letting go of the things that are weighing you down and holding you back from being your best self. You may even need to cut ties with toxic people in your life or with those who have been taking advantage of your kindness for too long now.
If you want to stop being a people-pleaser, don't focus on your past regrets. Only think about the actions you can take right now that will make you happy.
Make yourself a priority - it's totally normal
It is important to know how much can be given for free before being taken advantage of or feeling resentment towards the people who take up so much of our time. The time has come to stop being a people-pleaser.
It is about understanding what you want out of life, making that your first priority, and then getting it by not letting other people's needs come first all the time.
People-pleasers are often unhappy and stressed. They never seem to know when to stop being so accommodating. It can be hard to break the cycle of pleasing others, but it's important if you want to be happy and healthy.
You should make yourself a priority by putting your needs first, even if that means disappointing someone else who has asked something of you that is difficult or feels like more than you can handle.
Make Yourself Happy!
Being a people-pleaser is not a healthy way of living and it can lead to feelings of exhaustion, stress, and even depression.
It's important to control your life and know that you are important too. People-pleasing can start to feel like a habit and difficult to break out of. But with time, patience, and perseverance, anything is possible.
So when you're feeling anxious or exhausted because of the people you've been trying your best for, remember that you deserve happiness too. You're not just fulfilling other people's needs. You have your own needs as well; don't forget about them!
Super eye opening and helpful to me.
This has been very helpful to me. I feel that I have been reading about myself. Quite incredible that I can see myself in every situation mentioned here.
I would like more help with this. I want to change my behaviour not to avoid and enjoy others happiness but to stop making myself tired and stressed. I can see now that I am a people pleaser.
Hi Kathleen I was like that but i had to pull myself together and stop its extremely unhealthy, the way I did it I told myself I’m a kind human being decent in many ways, I started slowly saying no to ridiculous situations, it took me time but now i am happy I stand up for myself when I need to, I’m still kind but I dont let people take me for granted, Practice saying no in the mirror a few times
I am having hypnotherapy so my therapist and I are dealing with various issues, including ‘people pleasing’ behaviour. A hypnotherapist can help you identify where this behaviour began so that your adult/logical mind can change your beliefs and behaviour. etc. I am finding it incredibly helpful.
True. Pleasing people makes us more weak .
This in nice all 13 tips is very helpful to me💕 thank you I’ve been here
My girlfriend suffers from depression and she is a huge people-pleaser, and her “friends” often do pretty bad things to her like touch her body and make terrible or good comments on it, which she prevents to stop because she has the issue of not saying “no”. When she gets the chance, she’ll often come crying to me saying what they did, complaining about it. I want to help her but I haven’t known how until I came across this page. Wonderful advice, thanks!
i tried being nice to people and over friendly and as a result got smacked in the face and robbed never again keep myself to myself and do not go out much or in busy crowds
Truely iam looking at myself as the only character in this whole chapter of a movie.. to be sincere here all that is been said sums up my entire life and it’s exactly how things have been and still are with me.
However henceforth my life my needs and my self esteem deserves to be on the front page of all things.
Iam indid so honoured to have come across all this.
Thanks alot 🙏
I people .please with my demanding daughter in law …..rarely say no to babysitting …even though she has kicked my son out and started dating she still asks …I really need to say no next time …..for my son’s sake and mine ….
How can we distinguish the difference between being a people-pleaser and having great customer service? I work in customer service/sales department and it can be hard sometimes to work with people and pleasing customers to keep them happy in the business.
I know my problem.. but i didnt know ways to come out of it.. i will practice fully from people pleasing mode, to self priority mode..
Thank you and thank you a million time…
Such practical advice, appreciate your taking the time to post this article. This is such self-damaging behavior yet challenging to overcome.
My Dad told me that the ‘surest way to fail is to please others; you have to please yourself’. As much as that has stuck with me, I battle the disease of people pleasing at 60. Probably developed it from trying to please our Mom so she wouldn’t torment us & probably low self-esteem from that too; so it’s a struggle & these tips are helpful; thank you.
I can empathize — I’m 66 and a people pleaser. I’m too nice and I let people take advantage of me
It’s better to know where you stand with people.
I make too much of kernels of affection to prove I’m somehow lovable.
If I do things for you or I’m really nice or I try to hard — will you like me.
Right now — I feel I’m changing — stepping back and looking at each relationship — individually.
It feels like each one is me doing the majority of the work.
It doesn’t feel good
Hi your comment sounds like me.. at 54 I still try to people please my mother and don’t know how to stop. It’s caused me such bad depression. Have you been successful in learning to say no? Would love to hear how you’ve progressed at all
Thank you for sharing your wisdom Kim! I’m 53 and only this morning the penny dropped for me, and things that I’ve known for years made sense. Yesterday was one of the lowest days of my life, where my poor choices in behaviour came to a halt in an intense couples psychotherapy session. I can’t believe what trying to people please has driven me to do! There’s too much to write here, but I feel ashamed, embarrassed, destroyed, and yet hopeful that with this new awareness I will be able to make better life choices which will hopefully help me heal from childhood trauma, PTSD and PNES (psychogenic non epileptic seizures -developed due to repressing my voice). My new challenge in life will no longer be only about my business, study, hopefully saving my marriage or having the courage and strength to know when to walk away (though these will no doubt be very challenging), it will be about rediscovering who I really am, how to respect myself, ways to prioritise myself and most importantly to forgive myself for all my wrong doings without harsh judgement. ❤️☀️
You saved my life, thank you so much
Thank you so much for these helpful ideas. I am 65 years, now retired, and have fully realized that I am a People-pleaser. Looking back,, my Father came from a troubled past, was a tough task-master, and had a “flaring” temperament. I became a “favorite” child, but didn’t always his wrath. I was in a profession for 26+ years, working for Rehab companies as an Occupational Therapist Assistant, took care of each of my parents until they died,, and then experienced a form of burn-out called ‘Compassion Fatigue’. As a teen, and in early 20’s, I’d been in emotionally abusive relationships and have lived with many regrets. No more!! Your recommendations are clear & to the point…Thank You again for your valuable insight!
I’m crying reading this. Speaks all about me. Thank you for bringing me to life again. 💜
This subject is so relatable to, I’ve been enslaved for many years in trying to please others all the time.
Very inspiring and life changing words. I am truly encouraged. Thank you very much. God bless you gift of words.
It’s feels like reading my own life story. This is such a big help for me. I have been through depressions over and over but upon reading this I realized so many things that i’ve been doing wrong in my life. I am old but still learned a lot from this. Thank you!