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How to stop people pleasing tendencies?

It is taught to us right from childhood to be kind and helpful at all times. These virtues make us good humans, but sadly, many people take for granted the kindness we show to them.

We tend to recognize such people very easily but still struggle to control the urge to please them anyway.

The question is why? How do we stop it? There is no need to worry, as this article covers everything you need to know about people-pleasing behavior, its causes, and how to get rid of it.

Who is a people pleaser?

Those who are people pleasers are driven by the thought of others liking them. They start to change their attitudes, thinking and personality just to be accepted by people at the cost of their own comfort and desires.

There's a slim difference between being kind and a people pleaser. Helping a friend or even a stranger should always come from the goodness of one's heart. When one starts to do things for others in order to be liked, helping then becomes a necessity and later a liability, something you can't get out of, because you care about people calling you selfish or self-serving.

Science says that people's pleasing tendencies arise from lower self-esteem. You crave others' validation and feel insecure, always concerned about which word out of your mouth will offend the person near you.

Exaggerated expressions, fake laughter, and cajoling words become your ideas for getting people to like you. While being a sweet talker can get people to like you, you will start to feel trapped really soon.


So here are people-pleaser signs to watch out for-

  1. Frequent apologies.

  2. You can't say NO even when you are uncomfortable doing favors to others.

  3. People constantly bossing you around

  4. Obsessing with others’ perception of you.

  5. You will start to feel anxious when people leave you hanging.

Be real, and know that not everybody will like you,

Even though it may be hard to swallow, you can't keep people enamoured of you forever. While being a sweet talker can get people to like you, you will start to feel trapped really soon.

Truth be told, you can move a mountain, but people who are rude and selfish will always look for some reason to point out your mistakes or even your insecurity. Therefore, you should be honest with yourself and with others.

If something bothers you, voice it and confront the person rather than building hatred inside of you and put your best smile to please them.

Don't be afraid to say NO

Understand that you do not have to explain yourself to everyone. If somebody constantly asks you a favor and it doesn't benefit you or if your heart is not into doing any favors for that said person, simply say no to them and move on.

You are not required to explain or make excuses. Be careful not to say yes to a request and then spout lies and defend your actions later. It might not appear so, but people can look straight through lies and this can lead to even more strained relationships.

When you keep things inside, your hatred grows and you become more likely to hurt those close to you.

How to say No

Be firm with your boundaries

If you relate to the things you read above, you know by now that you also have a hard time with setting your boundaries.

Communicate your preferences, dislikes, limits, and needs, and real friends will appreciate your boundaries. You are your own person who should not always be worried about disappointing others.

Recognizing your worth

''The duty that we owe ourselves is greater than that we owe others'' seems fitting here. When you don't appreciate yourself, why should you expect others to value you? As soon as you accept yourself as you are, you stop trying to fit in.

Don't be afraid to dress for yourself, put on bold lipstick, wear the dress you were afraid to wear, and respectfully disagree if their opinions don't meet your standards. You are your own individual, and know that you are lovable even when you are confident enough to say NO to other people. Don't feel burdened by others' feelings.

Take time to prioritize your tasks

Answer truthfully to yourself, do you think that pleasing everyone is worth the time you could invest in grooming yourself? So unless you want to win that miss congeniality crown, stop letting people boss you around and

assert yourself when required.

Your time is valuable, so invest it in your personal development. You can read a book, invest time in writing, personal care and much more. Learn to live and love alone, ''you are enough, a thousand times enough.''

Don’t apologize unnecessarily

cute apology

When you say sorry incessantly you only doubt yourself more and your apology starts to lose its meaning. People around you get more and more comfortable with hearing sorry from you which makes you look nervous and clumsy with words.

Be assertive

Speak your mind. Never be afraid of expressing yourself. Stick to your point. It makes people aware of your confidence. Listening to your inner voice relieves you of the mounting stress.

People start to see the real you and even when their mentality will not align with you, they will appreciate your boldness. Asserting yourself can install leadership qualities and, over time, you can start to feel changes in the people surrounding you too. You will no longer feel like a puppet just nodding along with their every move.

In summary

At last, it can be said that people-pleasing habits can be much more serious than you think. It can have a devastating effect on your mental health like stress, depression, and lower self-esteem. However, it can be reversed if you start to understand its pattern, why do you seek others’ opinions so much?

You can practice self-love, have more faith in yourself and stop trying to always fit in. Preserve your authenticity because you are one of a kind, your realness will attract positive people. Stand up for yourself and be assertive. You are not some scared cat who relies on others for your happiness. A cat may have nine lives, but you only have one, so live it to the fullest.

About the author

Priti Kumari Rajak is a new content writer with an English major. She was born on May 26, 2003, in Kharagpur, West Bengal, and is currently in Bhubaneswar for her graduation. She reads a lot and could probably talk about books all day. She is always eager to learn new skills and never cowers away from hard work. She is a dedicated and orderly individual who has a passion for writing.

Reach her at

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