What is a People Pleaser?
A person who has the emotional need to please others at the expense of his/her own needs and desires is known as a people pleaser. They go out of their way, sometimes even waste their time and resources, just to make others happy. By doing so they assume that they will be valued by others. Unfortunately their efforts go unreciprocated. Resulting in them being physically and emotionally burnt out.
People pleasers have been known to have low self-esteem and high insecurity. They also try to be perfectionists. Owing this behavioural pattern to their past traumatic experiences and toxic relationships.
There is no specific personality type that is prone to people-pleasing. Although, trauma may lead to the individual reaching out for constant validation and prioritizing other’s needs as coping mechanisms.
What are the Signs of a People Pleaser?
People pleasers generally have a history of low self esteem and relational trauma. Their common characteristics may include:
- Cannot say “No”
- Sensitive to other’s opinions
- Unnecessarily apologize
- Afraid of setting boundaries
- Unable to express their own feelings
- Never prioritize themselves
- Sense of personal responsibility for others feelings
- Afraid of rejection and being abandoned
- Feel stuck or exhausted while doing things for others
- Adjusting their behaviours to fit into a group
- A habit of overachievement
- Feeling guilty for others low moods
- Needing praise for each task
- Avoid confrontation and don’t admit being offended
Effects of Being a People Pleaser?
People pleaser’s have been facing the consequences of their choices but their compulsion to please others continues adding to those consequences, which include,
- Since they are always present for help, they are often taken for granted, their time may not be valued.
- Eventually, their relationships are based on their favours for the other person. In case they fail to provide for the other person’s request, their relationship gets hampered.
- People pleaser’s say yes unwillingly. They do things they do not wish to which causes regret and ill feelings for others as well as themselves.
- Suppressing their own wishes and opinions often gets them habituated to relying on others for validation and decision making. This may result in them being highly dependent and incapable of making even minor decisions for themselves.
- Persistently trying to keep everyone around happy drains the energy out of them. They suffer emotionally and mentally.
- Prioritizing other’s needs impacts the achievement of their own needs and goals. Which in turn hampers their growth and development.
How to Stop Being a People Pleaser?
It is natural for each individual to want to be accepted by the people around them. Although people pleasers will go out of their way and do things that will make others like them. This may include doing favours, getting gifts or running errands for others and even changing their choices and beliefs to fit into the group.
Often this behaviour exhausts the people pleaser physically and emotionally. Albeit their exhaustion, people pleasers find it difficult to stop living up to other’s standards. Many of them have been called out for their behaviour and advised “don’t be a people pleaser, it might harm you one way or another”. This behaviour, if overdone, leads to people pleaser syndrome.
People pleaser syndrome shapes the individual’s pleasing personality which is known as pleaser personality.
The main question people pleasers have is “how to stop being a people pleaser?”. Here are a few ways that can help people pleasers:
Recognize The Habit
Introspect and accept that you have a habit of people pleasing that is harming you in some way. Give yourself the benefit of doubt and plan ways in which you can overcome this habit henceforth.
Saying no when asked for a favour can be a nightmare for people pleasers.They are unable to refuse help because they feel saying no will make their friends and family dislike them. Social validation being important for them, they cannot afford to lose people.
Start by saying no to small requests or over messages. This will help you start small but will give you the confidence required for it. Saying no for things you are unable to do or not willing for is justified.
It is important to set boundaries between your personal life and social life. Make your boundaries known to those around you.
For instance, receive calls only up to a certain time. Do not entertain calls late at night if you are not comfortable with it. Attend meetups only if you have the time for it rather than change your pre-scheduled plans to attend meetups.
Give importance to your work, health and yourself. Saying no and setting boundaries will help you realize what is to be prioritized. If giving others your time and doing things for them is draining your energy, rethink your priorities.
When you have a lot on your plate, decide what needs to be done when. This will give you a clear picture of the value of others in your life.
Prioritizing yourself is one of the key steps towards not being a people pleaser. Hence, stop apologizing for it.
Also, someone else’s mood is not your responsibility. Do not take it on yourself to make them happy. It is not necessarily your fault that they are sad, disappointed, angry or frustrated. Do not apologize for the mistakes you have not made.
Analyze The Request
Another problem people pleasers face is, they are taken for granted and manipulated often. Every time someone asks something of you, analyze what they are requesting, do they really need help or are they trying to get their work done from you.
If it is the case of manipulation, practice saying no to avoid feeling burdened and used.
Take Your Time
It is not necessary to give a confirmation immediately. May it be a request or an invitation, you can take time to think about it and either say a definite yes or a clear no after weighing out your options.
Social approval and validation does give us confidence. But, it can not always be relied on. At times when there is no support or appreciation from others, you have to believe and motivate yourself.
People pleasers usually spend all of their time on others. This leaves them with no time for themselves. Make sure you reserve time to pay attention to your own needs and not compromise with that schedule.
Seek Professional Help
As mentioned above, people pleasing comes from a series of traumatic experiences. The wounds of that trauma have to be healed for you to stop people pleasing. Professional therapy administered by a psychologist or a licensed psychotherapist can help you deal with those wounds.
Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you feel you are unable to deal with the issues by yourself.
Being a people pleaser is not easy to overcome, taking into account the insecurity and trauma. But with firm intentions of changing and the right approach it can be worked on.
Have you ever caught yourself doing things to please others at the expense of your own freedom and peace? If your favours for others are causing you harm, continue to overcome your behaviour.
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