How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Krystal Emerson

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

There is a big difference between being a people pleaser and being kind. A person who does not want to disappoint others may go out of their way to do things for them, but there will likely come when they realize that they have been neglecting their own needs and wants to please everyone else.

We've all been there. You're sitting in a room of your friends or alone at home when you get that urge to call someone and talk for hours on the phone. You don't know why you feel this way, but it's almost like an addiction, and it won't stop until you find someone who will listen to what is on your mind.

If you find yourself needing to be around people, it could mean that you are someone who needs a lot of validation. You need approval or love from others to feel worthy and lovable.

When this becomes an addiction for too long, it can lead to depression because when none of your "friends" seem interested anymore, you start to feel worthless. You may find yourself isolating yourself from your loved ones and withdrawing into a shell of loneliness, which can lead to all sorts of problems like alcoholism or drug addiction.

In this article, we will look at why some people become people-pleasers, the signs that you may be putting the needs of others ahead of your own, the cost of doing so, and how to establish healthy boundaries with friends, family, and co-workers.

Understand your desire to please others

Do you ever feel like your needs and desires are always put last? Do you feel like people want to be around you for what they can get out of it?

If this sounds familiar, then the chances are that being a people pleaser is taking over your life. The first step in understanding how to stop being a people pleaser is by examining the reasons why we're so eager to please other people and do things for them.

Many people are unaware of the fact that they have a desire to please others. They think it's just an inherent personality trait or something they were born with. This couldn't be further from the truth. We learn how to please other people in our childhood, and we can unlearn this behavior by understanding what causes us to do this.

Recognize the signs of people-pleasing

It's hard to recognize the signs of people-pleasing when you think that it is a good thing. You may find yourself feeling like you are always putting others before yourself and then realize that sometimes this can cause unhappiness in your life. 

Do you often feel like you're giving too much of yourself to others without receiving anything in return? Do the people around you seem unhappy with your help or even angry that you offered it? You might be living a life pleasing others. It's important to recognize the signs of being a people pleaser because it can cause unhappiness, frustration, and unexpressed anger.

Evaluate the cost of being a people pleaser

Have you ever felt like you are constantly doing things for other people? Constantly going out of your way to do favors or avoid hurting their feelings. Have you ever lost sight of what is important in life because all the energy went into being a people pleaser?

You've probably met someone like this. They're the one who always says yes to every request, no matter how much time it takes away from their own life or what they want to do with it.

They often put themselves last on their list of priorities and are more concerned about pleasing others than meeting their own needs. It might sound harmless enough, but being a people pleaser can have some serious consequences in both your personal and professional lives that you should know about before you find yourself trapped in this unhealthy cycle.

Learn to establish healthy boundaries

In a world where everyone needs to be liked and accepted, it can be difficult to say "no" when you want to. It's not easy when people use guilt as a weapon or try to manipulate you into doing things for them because they know that you will do anything for the sake of being liked. You may think that if you are too nice or accommodating, people will like and accept you better; however, this is not always the case.

Do you have a hard time saying no? Do your friends take advantage of you? Is it difficult to trust others because they always let you down in the end? You may be suffering from codependency. Codependency is defined as having an unhealthy dependence on someone else, typically a partner or family member, for emotional support and decision making.

If you are someone who often feels like they are giving more than their fair share of themselves to the people around them or feeling guilty because you have not been able to please everyone in your life, it is time for a change. It may be difficult to establish healthy boundaries and say no when needed, but this will help you find yourself again and live a happier life.

Learn how to say "no" effectively

There's an old saying that goes, "A man with a 'yes' in his mouth can't say 'no.'" Saying "no" is hard for most people. After all, we are social creatures who like to please others. However, there comes a time when you need to stop and think about your personal boundaries and what you're willing to sacrifice for someone else.

The word no doesn't have to be negative, but it is often taken this way because we fear the consequences. We fear saying "no" will lead to disappointment or anger from others. But what if there was a method to say "no" effectively? What if we could learn how to refuse requests without feeling guilty and still maintain an amicable relationship with the person who made that request?

There are some ways to say "no" that doesn't have such a negative message attached. Saying, "I'm not sure if I can commit to this right now," or, "That's not what I want at the moment," will give you more time without feeling like you're disappointing someone else. They might be disappointed for a little while, but they will get over it eventually.

Additionally, there are some ways to say "no" that can actually be seen as a gift. If you're not free at the moment for childcare or housekeeping services, explain how much you appreciate what they do and offer an alternate time slot so they don't get discouraged from being turned down in general.


At the end of the day, you must accept that you are not responsible for other people's feelings, and therefore, it's not always necessary to put the needs of others before your own.

Work to understand your desire to please others. Take time to learn about yourself and what you want out of life. Set healthy boundaries and take care of your own needs first to maintain good relationships with your friends, family, and loved ones.

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