There are people out there who’s primary goal is to make your life as good and comfortable as possible, regardless of their own thoughts, needs, and feelings.
Yet, this fawning behavior can have severe negative consequences when taken too far.
That’s why we need to learn how to stop being a people pleaser. This is how to do it.
Realize and admit you have a problem
You can’t stop being a people pleaser if you don’t realize that you’ve got an issue.
This step is the hardest one and the one you’ve most likely already achieved, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So good job! Admitting you are guilty of people pleasing behavior means the hardest part is already done.
It’s no easy task acknowledging to yourself that something in your life is causing you problems, and that your life could be better if you had the courage and knowledge to do something about it.
Figure out and formulate what your own needs are and what you want in life
In order to change something in your life and to defend those changes to other people, you’ll need to figure out what your needs are first.
Formulate your own demands and desires as clearly as possible in order to devise a vision for the future and to know exactly what you want in life. If you don’t even know what you want from this existence, then you can’t defend and go after these needs either.
Figure out and formulate what you wish to avoid
Closely related to the previous point. You need to figure out what it is exactly that you wish to avoid.
Chances are you are reading this because there are already some things you know you should change and thus, wish to change about yourself to improve your life.
So chances are that you are already suffering from some things you wish to avoid in the future. This is very important because it can remind you of the bad things that can still happen if you do nothing about your troubles. In turn, it can motivate you to change yourself for the better.
Realize that you can’t, and don’t have to please everyone
Learning how to stop people pleasing is only possible when you realize that you don’t have to satisfy everyone, and that it’s an impossible task to accomplish.
Part of the reason some people have a hard time being assertive is probably because they are too agreeable, and because they feel the want to put other people’s needs first.
Because of this, the people pleasing everyone probably expect other people to do the same for them, which is often not reciprocated.
It’s also possible that people pleasing behavior is due to being afraid of the social repercussions if one stood up for themselves. Or maybe some try fawning others just because they don’t like conflict at all.
However, it’s not possible to please everyone. Even if you tried your hardest and put aside your own wants, some people still wouldn’t like you for the simple fact that you’re trying to please other people.
People have to like you for whom you truly are. The right people will stay if you are authentic, and the wrong ones will go away.
Understand that you can’t help everyone, even if you’d like to.
Learn to negotiate on your own behalf
If you want to stop people pleasing behavior then you need to learn to negotiate on your own behalf.
That means that you will have to consider your own needs and that you will have to learn to stand up for yourself by saying no to others from time to time.
Yes, there will be conflict. But you shouldn’t view conflict as something bad. It’s absolutely necessary to have respectful conflict with each other in order to solve problems in the short and long term!
If you’ve been pleasing other people for a considerable amount of time and wish to stop doing so, then chances are people are not going to respond well if you’re suddenly being more assertive and standing up for yourself.
Yet this is exactly what you have to do. Others have no right to use you for their own benefits. You have to put your own needs first sometimes.
Learn to take care of yourself
Treat yourself like you’re someone who matters. You can’t help other people optimally if you’re unhappy.
This means that you have the moral duty to make yourself someone of worth. In order to do this, you must first treat yourself like you’re someone of importance, and continue striving to become a better person every day.
So invest some time into yourself and in your personal development. Investing time into yourself does not make you selfish, it makes you a responsible human. Being the best possible version of yourself will not only improve your life, but that of other people in society as well!
Is your current strategy working? What is going right and more importantly, what is going wrong or can be improved? These are all possible questions that can help you to figure out what’s currently going well, but more significantly, what is going wrong or suboptimal.
Regularly evaluating yourself and your plan allows you to stay on the right track without getting lost on a side road.
Try to analyze yourself like an outside person would. This means as objectively as you possibly can.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What does being a people pleaser mean?
A people pleaser can be defined by always putting other people’s needs and feelings before one’s own needs, thoughts, and feelings. They go out of their way to satisfy the desires of others.
They please others for a multitude of reasons. It could be that they want to make the other person’s life as good and comfortable as possible. Other possible reasons could be because they are averse to conflict, to get into the good graces of other people, because they are afraid other people won’t like them, and to get external validation.
Even though they are often incredibly well-meaning, it can lead to people taking advantage of them. The pleasers are also at risk of not guarding and going after their own needs and desires.
Why being a people pleaser is bad
Not satisfying your own needs
Putting other people’s needs first is often seen as a good thing by society.
Can make you angry and vengeful
In the worst case, not putting yourself first from time to time can make you resentful and vengeful.
That’s of course not to say that you shouldn’t consider other people’s needs and occasionally put them before your own. The key word here is occasionally, and not always. Balance is key to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
They regularly expect the same behavior
The problem with people pleasing behavior is that they often expect the same kind of treatment in return from other people because “it is the right thing to do” or “I did the same thing for them.”
Of course, every person is different and has a varied mentality. Logically, this means that this kind of behavior is (luckily) not always reciprocated.
People really should stop pleasing everyone out there, because it’s not possible, not sustainable, and most certainly not healthy.
What are the positive traits of a people pleaser?
What is a people pleaser personality?
Are certain people more at risk for becoming a people pleaser?
People who are agreeable, which is a personality trait, are more at risk to become people pleasers.
That’s because they have the habit of putting other people’s needs and feelings before their own. Agreeable people are often kind, sometimes a bit too trusting of others, and unassertive.
This makes agreeable people inclined towards a people pleaser personality due to their genetic predisposition.
Is it healthy to be a people pleaser?
It can cause low self-worth, issues with setting boundaries, having a difficult time with making their own choices, and can even induce a fear of rejection.
Is being a people pleaser a toxic behavior?
Whether people pleasing is a toxic behavior or not depends on the severity, and how often we employ said demeanor.
What we must keep in mind is that we have a sense of altruism, and thus it’s not abnormal to want the best for others, and to help them achieve happiness.
Nevertheless, it can lead to serious health issues such as depression and poor self-esteem when taken too far. That’s why we should never take our people pleasing behavior to the extremes.
Is a people-pleaser insecure?
That’s why they’re employing pleasing behavior to seek out external validation and the approval of others.
They’re uncertain that their authentic personality will be good enough for those around them, and that they will be liked for whom they truly are.
Is people pleasing a trauma response?
What is people pleasing a symptom of?
They’re too scared to put their own needs and desires first, and have an extreme need for external validation and approval since it makes them feel better, more valuable, and most importantly, accepted.
Every individual is someone of inherent worth. We all have different needs and desires, and it’s not wrong to admit this.
In order to stop being a people pleaser, we must learn a few new skills, or at least improve a few abilities we already possess partially. We must realize what it is we want from life exactly, and that conflict is necessary to resolve problems.
Perhaps the most important thing is to recognize that you as an individual matter greatly and that you must learn to take care of yourself. It’s also everybody’s personal responsibility to become happy and fulfilled. You are not responsible for the contentment of others.