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People Pleaser: 21 Signs You’re One & How to Stop People Pleasing

We all want to be loved by everyone. But if you sacrifice your own wants, needs, and happiness for other people, then you are a people pleaser.

people pleaser

Wanting to make people happy is a strong trait of the youth. In our younger years, we can’t wait to fit in with people that we admire. And in the course of doing that, we don’t mind changing a wee bit of our personality just to appear *cooler* in front of others. But somewhere along the way, your absolute craving to fit in may have turned into a people pleaser.

But how far would you go to please someone else? And what would you be willing to give up just to make others happy? 

And most importantly, does this youthful trait exist within you even now?

[Read: 25 important life lessons you need to learn to have a happy life]

Who is a people pleaser?

A people pleaser is a person who gives a lot of importance to pleasing others. And in the process, their primary intention is to be liked and appreciated in return by the people they try to please.

A people pleaser is never a bad person.

They’re not really manipulative, nor are they cheaters. But in their keen pursuit of trying to please everyone around them, they could go to any extent to win someone’s love or affection, even if that means arm-twisting someone or subtly manipulating someone else.

Now everyone has a tinge of people pleasing in them. Almost all of us try to please someone, in the hope of being labeled a “nice person” or getting a favor back in return from them someday.

But for most of us, we know where to draw the line.

But an overeager people pleaser has no principles that explain where the boundaries of pleasing others stop. [Read: How your self respect affects your relationship with others]

What makes someone a people pleaser?

How does someone become a people pleaser? Is it something that is just natural in their biology, or is it a behavior that is learned?

Believe it or not, a lot of the reasons someone might become an excessive people pleaser is how they grew up. Their parents had a lot to do with how much they want to make other people happy. [Read: Why do people ignore me? 20 possible reasons you need to think about]

On one hand, someone’s parents might have been abusive in some way. As a child, perhaps they could never gain the approval of the mother or father – or both. Because of this, they go out of their way to do nice things for people because, subconsciously, they’re always trying to get the approval and love of their parents.

This effort is misdirected, however, because it’s not always aimed at their parents. And people probably don’t even know that they are doing this. All they know is that they feel that they have to please others all the time.

Another huge reason someone becomes a people pleaser is because they have low self-worth. Since they don’t love themselves very much, they are always seeking the love from outside – through other people. [Read: How to be mean to people without turning into a mean person]

So, in order to feel better about themselves, people pleasers will do just about anything to get other people to love them. Some are so extreme about it that they completely sacrifice their own wants, needs, and desires for other people’s. In fact, they might not even know who they are anymore because they never look after themselves.

The kinds of people pleasers

There are two kinds of people pleasers.

The first people pleaser is the kind where they go out of their way to be nice or help others, because they feel like it’s their moral obligation to help others. They can’t say no, and they’re terribly afraid of offending others. [Read: How to learn to say no, stop pleasing others and love yourself more]

The other kind of people pleaser is the kind where they try to help others all the time or constantly compliment others, in the hope of getting the same treatment back from their friends.

In both these types, the underlying reason is the same, low self confidence and low self esteem.

People pleasers need others in their lives because they’re terribly scared of being alone. They need attention and care, and will do anything or say anything to get it. [Read: How to be emotionally independent and stop using others for happiness]

Is people pleasing really bad?

People pleasing is not bad. All of us kiss ass now and then to get what we want, or to be nice to someone we want to impress.

But there’s a thin line differentiating someone who pleases with a motive now and then, and someone who does it all the time.

And one fine day, when your people pleasing attitude crosses the line, either all your friends will take you for granted and use you, or they’ll see the fake person you really are and start avoiding you. [Read: 20 signs of insecurity people can’t hide when they feel insecure]

The biggest problem with people pleasers is the fact that they have no principles in life. They change like a chameleon all the time, and become a completely different person depending on who they’re spending time with *just to fit in*.

So, if you’re a people pleaser, that’s something you need to worry about. In your constant pursuit of pleasing people all the time, you’re losing your principles in life.

And one fine day, you’ll realize that you don’t even know who you are or what you want from your life because you’re constantly changing just to fit in all the time. [Read: 18 honest reasons why you don’t have true friends that really care about you]

21 signs you’re an overeager people pleaser

Think about these signs with an open mind, and ask yourself if you can relate to them. You may think you’re not an overeager people pleaser, but try to look deep within yourself to understand the real person within you.

After all, there’s nothing worse than living in denial. [Read: How to stop lying to yourself and see the world the way it should be seen]

If you find yourself relating to most of these signs of a people pleaser, there’s a good chance you are one.

1. You crave for compliments

You’re very liberal with your compliments when you’re around friends or colleagues in the hope of getting a compliment back from others. Sure, everyone likes getting compliments, but people pleasers crave them because they can’t compliment themselves. [Read: Attention seeking behavior and why some people go looking for drama]

2. You want to be noticed

You get upset if no one notices your new haircut or the new shirt you’re wearing to work. If no one compliments a dress you’re wearing, you assume it looks bad on you even if you loved it when you bought it at the store.

3. You lie about your opinions

You don’t have your own identity, and you constantly say you like something even if you don’t enjoy doing it, just to fit in with your group of friends.

Your likes and dislikes change all the time depending on the people that are around you. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life?]

4. You can never say no

You don’t like offending anyone because you’re afraid they may think badly of you if you refuse to help them with something. And because of this, you overextend yourself by always saying “yes” to people.

Maybe a friend wants you to help her move, but you have a family gathering. You tell her you will help only because you don’t know how to say no. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted by people in your life]

5. You don’t care about your loved ones

You pay a lot of attention to your new friends or colleagues, and work very hard to please them because you want them to think highly of you.

But at the same time, you take the people that truly love you for granted, because you know they love you unconditionally and will always be there for you regardless of how you behave around them or treat them. [Read: Am I selfish in the relationship? 19 signs you’re being a user]

6. You’re active around new friends

You always shirk responsibility or avoid giving your input when you’re with people who know you very well. You work harder with new friends you’re trying to please, but you get lazy when it involves just you or someone who already likes you.

You may think you’re being yourself with people you know well, and don’t need to impress them. But you need to remember that your loved ones will always feel like you’re taking their love for granted because you’re always nicer to people who don’t care about you. [Read: Are you making all the wrong people a priority in your life?]

7. You always have a smile

As a people pleaser, you never get angry with your friends or colleagues even if they do something that’s extremely upsetting.

Instead, you force all that rage within yourself in the form of implosive anger.

8. Being loved is top priority

You want people to like you wherever you go, and you want everyone you meet to think of you with warm affection.

In fact, you always try to show your best side to anyone you meet and you constantly hope that everyone you meet remembers you fondly.

9. The opinion of others mater too much

The opinion of other people matters a lot to you and your own decision making. You make your decisions based on other people’s desires.

You ask all your friends to share their opinions with you, and you give more thought to what they say than what you believe is right. [Read: How to stop being so needy. – Why people become clingy and how to fix it]

10. You like attention all the time

You fear losing friends and you care too much about being liked by everyone. And you can’t ever imagine being hated by others or being lonely.

11. People easily hurt your feelings

You get hurt very easily when your friends neglect you or go somewhere without involving you.

Of course, you want to feel loved all the time, but you can’t stand it when someone thinks you’re not important in their life. [Read: How to stop being so sensitive about everything all the time]

12. The big sacrifices

You sacrifice your own happiness just to please someone else and win their approval, or to get a compliment from them. In fact, you probably don’t even know what makes you happy because you are always too concerned with making other people happy.

13. You can’t take criticism

A people pleaser will change their behavior, but they will never accept that they’re flawed because it makes them lose their self-esteem even more. That’s why it’s difficult to hear criticism when it’s aimed your way. [Read: Am I toxic? How to tell if you’re the toxic one and not everyone else]

14. You’re a liar, even though you will never admit it

You’re not honest about who you are, not even to yourself about your own likes and dislikes. Your beliefs and values change all the time, just as long as they match that of your new friends whom you’re trying to impress.

Even though you feel like something is wrong, you convince yourself that it’s right because your friends are all doing it. [Read: Care less – stop giving a damn about what other people think]

15. You hate anyone who doesn’t like you or sees you as a fake

A people pleaser doesn’t try to question themselves as to why someone else may have this opinion about you. Instead, you just hate them or speak ill of them because you don’t like seeing yourself in bad light.

Your self-esteem is low, so you don’t like it when other people also have bad opinions about yourself. You get defensive. [Read: How do people become self-centered and stop caring about others]

16. Ps and Qs

You say ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ without even thinking. You just like saying it because it makes you seem more accommodating and nicer.

Being polite is really nice, but not when you are excessively and unnecessarily polite. Polite language actually gives away your power. For example, if you say, “Oh I’m sorry, am I bothering you?” then you give the other person the power to say, “Yes you are! Get out of here!” [Read: 15 reasons why nice guys finish last all the time]

17. You hate confrontation

You spend several sleepless nights over the smallest argument with a new friend. And you do whatever it takes to make up for it, even if it’s not your fault. But you wouldn’t do the same for the people you’ve already taken for granted.

18. You’re too guarded

You don’t like losing control of yourself, especially when you’re having a drink. Or maybe you have too many secrets, and none of your friends know all your secrets.

You hide the person you really are, because you don’t want anyone to see your flaws or your negative side. [Read: 17 signs you’re an attention seeker even if you can’t see it]

19. You give too much too soon

And many a times, people take you for granted. You try too hard to please your new friends, and you do whatever it takes to ensure that they have a good opinion about you.

But almost always, these new friends may end up using you and taking advantage of your niceness. [Read: When should you end a friendship with someone?]

20. You always fall for flattery

A people pleaser can’t resist flattery. And manipulative people know how to use flattery very well. The flattery could be genuine, but they fall for any kind because it feeds their low self-esteem.

When you come in contact with a manipulator, they’ll learn to use you and squeeze you dry all the time by using their flattery-request line. “You’re so good at doing this. Can you do it for me too?” [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

21. You don’t draw boundaries

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the world who will take advantage of you if you let them. They will push and push and push those boundaries until you say “no!”

And if you don’t ever say no, they keep taking and you keep giving. So, people pleasers don’t know how to draw boundaries and communicate that to other people. “Don’t cross this boundary or you’ve gone too far” never comes out of their mouths. [Read: How to set boundaries with friends without hurting or using them]

Your self-respect and your people pleasing attitude

Being a people pleaser may feel nice because it makes you feel appreciated and loved all the time. And as long as you’re getting those compliments, you may not think twice about bending over backwards for anyone.

But when you’re a people pleaser, you’re not really creating any true relationships. You’re only putting on a fake facade that others want to see in you.

Start believing in yourself more. And most importantly, understand that you’re an individual and you are who you are. You don’t need anyone’s approval or compliment to make you feel more worthy. [Read: How to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you]

When you truly believe in yourself and love yourself for the person that you are, you’ll invariably lose your people pleasing cravings.

And for the first time in your life, you’ll start caring more for the people that truly care about you instead of taking them for granted.

[Read: How to love yourself – The 23 best ways to find self-love and happiness quickly]

Use these signs to find out if you’re a people pleaser. And if you find that people pleasing streak in you, start believing in your own abilities and stop depending on the opinions and compliments of others. That makes all the difference.

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Jessica Dawson
Jessica Dawson is guilty of using way more emojis than are necessary, and is a lover of all things British. And when she isn’t working on mastering a fake Bri...
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