People-pleasing involves doing whatever you can to make others happy, even when it interferes with your life. Being kind is a good trait. But it can cross the line to where you feel deplete your own self-worth. Pleasing others and putting their needs and wants before yours is can harm your well-being
Learning why people-pleasing doesn’t help anyone can help you overcome the situation. You might convince yourself that doing what others want makes life easier, but that’s not the case. It doesn’t help anyone involved and can cause more issues than you realize.
Being a people-pleaser won’t make your life better. It won’t help build friendships or relationships. Stay in control of your life, and don’t say yes to anything you don’t want to do.
Meeting people’s expectations might make you feel like avoiding conflict, gaining approval, and being a good person. However, these perks can backfire and worsen the situation.
Defining People-Pleasing and the Causes
People-pleasing occurs because people learn that doing what others want brings rewards. You get taught to put other people first, ignoring your needs and wants. This situation might work for a while but eventually creates conflict and negative feelings.
You’re a people-pleaser anytime you prioritize someone else’s needs instead of your own. Being viewed as helpful, kind, and agreeable seems like a good idea, but it creates problems. Studies show that you’ll struggle to advocate for yourself, leading to self-neglect and self-sacrifice.
A people-pleaser does whatever they can to make other people happy. They go out of their way, wasting time, energy, and resources, to make things happen for others.
It often happens due to insecurity and a lack of self-esteem. People-pleasers want people to like and appreciate them, and they think this is the only way to make it happen.
For other people, people-pleasing occurs as a way to feel validation. Another cause is that people-pleasers want everything to be perfect, including the feelings and thoughts of others.
Sometimes this situation occurs because of a personality trait called sociotropy. This trait makes you focus on pleasing others and earning approval. It can also be a symptom of mental health conditions, including the following:
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Nineteen Signs of People-Pleasing
If you’re unsure if you’re a people-pleaser, there are some characteristics to watch for. Some signs include:
- Not being able to say no
- Feeling guilty when you do muster up the courage to say no
- Being afraid that people will think you’re mean or selfish
- Wanting people to like you and doing things to earn their approval
- Frequent apologies
- Being overly preoccupied with what people think
- Experiencing low self-esteem
- Agreeing to things you don’t want to
- Taking the blame when the situation isn’t your fault
- Neglecting your needs to take care of other people
- Lacking free time because you fill your days with helping others
- Pretending to agree with comments you feel differently about
- Poor self-image
- Needing to feel in control
- Overachieving tendencies
- Feeling unable to admit your feelings
- Needing praise to feel valuable
- Feeling responsible for other people’s happiness
- Avoiding conflict at all costs
How Being Nice is Different from People-Pleasing
Sometimes you might confuse being friendly with pleasing others. Being nice includes doing things you want to do to help someone, return a favor, or feel good. If your reason for doing something nice is different, you might be trying to please other people.
It’s people-pleasing if you only do something because you’re afraid someone won’t like you otherwise. Only do things because you want to, not because you feel the consequences will be dire otherwise.
Twelve Reasons Why People-Pleasing Doesn’t Help
Being kind and helpful isn’t bad, but crossing the line into people-pleasing is detrimental. If you are a people-pleaser, learning why it doesn’t help anyone gives you a chance to make a positive life change.
1. Pleasing Others Erodes Your Self-Worth
When you constantly try to make other people happy, it only hinders your sense of self-worth. You’ll be unhappy and pull yourself away from your goals and dreams. It also causes you to lose authenticity, meaning, and passion, further eroding your self-worth.
2. People-pleasing Weakens Relationships
Putting too much effort into meeting other people’s expectations is detrimental to your relationships. It can make you feel resentful of the same people you strive to help. People-pleasing can also make other people take your kindness for granted.
Sometimes the people you help don’t realize they are taking advantage of you. They know you’ll be there if they reach out and do it without thinking about your well-being. These issues can weaken your relationships and make you feel alone.
3. Creates a Lack of Willpower
When you use your energy making others happy, it leaves you with little willpower for personal endeavors. You won’t have the energy or determination to work on your goals. Plus, you’ll struggle to force yourself to do anything for yourself.
Experts indicate that your willpower is limited, and you can deplete it. You won’t have anything left to give yourself, and you’ll miss many opportunities and experiences.
4. Interferes with Healthy Boundaries
Doing everything to make other people happy makes it impossible to have healthy boundaries. You’ll keep quiet about things you’re uncomfortable with, jeopardizing your well-being to keep the peace. It makes it hard for you to speak up because you don’t want people to dislike you or feel bad.
5. Pleasing Others Eventually Causes Frustration or Anger
You might start wanting to help others, but it’ll eventually create frustration. When your desire to help turns to obligation, it’s easy to become angry. You’ll get mad that you’re being taken advantage of, but you won’t speak up or stop helping.
6. You Can’t Please Everyone
If you want to please people, you set yourself up for failure. You can’t meet all the needs of another person, and if you keep trying, you’ll feel defeated. Everyone is responsible for their happiness, and you can’t fulfill it for someone who doesn’t help themselves.
7. You Can’t Be Yourself When Your Are Pleasing Others
Using all of your energy to please others leads to being who you believe they want you to be. You don’t let others get to know you because of your lack of self-disclosure.
It also causes you to lose sight of who you are. Everyone in your life gets an edited version of you, hurting your ability to find people who care about you.
8. You Lose Focus
People-pleasing causes you to lose focus on the people and things that matter most. Pretending to be someone you’re not consuming so much energy that you might be unable to focus on your work. It interferes with all areas of your life, hindering your life progress.
9. Increases Negativity
Your self-control diminishes, making it harder to regulate your emotions and control your reactions. It can lead to aggressive or risky behavior and makes it hard to manage your time.
You’ll lack the ability to plan or organize, making you feel stressed and behind on your tasks. All of this negativity can lead to unhealthy eating and other detrimental habits.
10. People-pleasing Causes Stress and Anxiety
Spending all your time and energy making other people happy can interfere with your mental health. You’ll experience stress and anxiety, which will only worsen if you continue your people-pleasing habits. Eventually, the overwhelming stress can lead to health consequences.
11. It’s a Form of Control
People-pleasing usually makes you think of someone who gives too much. However, it’s subconsciously a form of manipulation because you’re trying to gain something. You behave this way to get others to like you, controlling the other person and the situation.
12. Pleasing Others Might Have a Boomerang Effect, Making You Less Likeable
You can’t fool people forever, and they’ll eventually figure out that you’re not being authentic. They will know that you’re only trying to get them to like you, and your insecurities become clear. Once people recognize your dishonesty, they won’t like you as much.
How to Stop People-Pleasing
Now that you know people-pleasing doesn’t help, it’s time to make a change. You can stop prioritizing the needs of others and focus on yourself instead. Some of the ways you can stop include:
- Establishing boundaries
- Starting small by asserting yourself in minor situations
- Setting goals
- Prioritizing your life and well-being
- Focusing on positive self-talk
- Pausing before answering a request
- Assessing whether a request is something you want to do
- Avoiding excuses and focusing on honesty
- Remembering that relationships and friendships should have reciprocation
- Helping only when you want to
- Recognizing when you’ve done too much
- Practicing self-acceptance
- Being authentic
- Letting go of the past
- Recognizing when someone is manipulating you or taking advantage
Final Thoughts on People-Pleasing
Being a people-pleaser makes your life difficult while interfering with your health and well-being. Find a way to stop people-pleasing so you can live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Remember that you can’t please everyone, so it’s best to prioritize yourself instead.
You deserve to live a good life and have your needs met. Don’t miss out on doing what’s best for you while you’re taking care of others. People-pleasing doesn’t help, so let go of the need to control the situation.