Are You a People Pleaser?

By Rachel Puryear

Sure, you like to make others happy. What decent person doesn’t, at least every now and then?

The human species has survived many enormous challenges over the millennia; in large part because of the willingness of many among us to give, to help, and to sometimes put others before themselves.

I think it’s fair to say humans have survived the remorseless takers amongst us, thanks to the generous givers who are also amongst us. Accordingly, if you are a giver, you are part of a proud heritage, no matter who you are.

However, sometimes people can get into a habit of giving in a dysfunctional way, where they give too much, for the wrong reasons, and to the wrong kind of people (the wrong kind are particularly the ones who don’t care or give anything back). This can bring about harmful consequences.

This can happen where someone is a people pleaser.

How does one know if they are a people pleaser? Here are signs that someone is a people pleaser, and is therefore at risk of being taken advantage of frequently in life:

Animated image of man bowing down, and lifting his hat.

It’s Hard to Say “No”

You find yourself saying “yes” to lots of things when deep down, you know you shouldn’t; because you’re afraid of how people will react if you say “no”.

Maybe you’re mad at yourself later. Maybe you feel resentful about doing things you didn’t really want to do, but felt bad about saying “no” to.

You feel overburdened by others’ demands and expectations, and wish they would consider your needs more – and are secretly angry and resentful when they don’t.

You Need Others’ Approval

You crave validation from others, and go to great lengths to get it.

Maybe you pretend to agree with opinions you don’t really agree with rather than disagree, because disagreeing with others might upset them.

You might spend a lot of time, energy and resources to look, act, and be something you’re not in order to fit in, because you can’t stand for others to disapprove.

Maybe you often fantasize about winning others’ approval.

You’re Afraid of Being Seen as “Selfish”

You cringe at the thought of someone calling you “selfish”.

So you go to extremes to give in to others at your own expense, just so that no one can ever call you selfish. You pay a high price to never have anyone think you’re at all selfish.

You Have Low Self-Esteem

You have a low opinion of yourself, and view yourself as less than others around you. You feel like you don’t deserve good things in life.

You feel that your needs, feelings, opinions, and ideas are less important than others’.

You Consistently Listen More Than Talk, and Don’t Honestly Share About Yourself

You let others dominate the conversation, and listen and pretend to be interested far past the point where you actually are.

You feel bad about interrupting anyone, ever, even when someone else is clearly steamrolling others.

You Feel Guilty About Doing Anything for Yourself, or Having Limits

You feel like having anything for yourself means that someone else goes without, and you can’t stand that.

Or, maybe you’re worried about others’ resentment, jealousy, disappointment, and so forth. Maybe you feel bad about setting limits with people, because they might feel let down by you.

You Apologize for Things You’re Not Responsible For

You find yourself constantly saying, “I’m sorry!” for things that are in no way your fault, and that you owe no apologies for.

Maybe you’re afraid that others will blame you nonetheless, and hope to assuage others’ anger that way.

You’re Conflict-Avoidant, and/or Overly Accommodating

You cannot stand when others are upset with you. Your preferred way to deal with conflict is to not do so.

You may avoid difficult topics altogether, and constantly make excuses for doing so.

You might also give in to the other person too much, in order to avoid a fight.

Deep down, though, you’re secretly stewing because you know it’s unfair; but you don’t want to deal with a fight, you so just swallow it.

You Let Others Take From You Without Reciprocation

You give and give, but don’t expect or insist that others also give back to you. You allow one-sidedness to continue, to your disadvantage, because you don’t want to deal with the conflict and disagreement.

You Feel Responsible for Fixing Other People, Even Where You Have No Obligations to Them

No project is too big, or requires too many emotional and other resources for you to handle alone, when it comes to other people who need to be fixed. You may even be drawn to broken people, wanting to rescue them, and it typically ends up leaving you burned.

You’re Sensitive to Criticism

None of us like criticism.

But for you, it’s particularly painful – because it makes you feel as though you don’t have the approval of others, which is something you deeply crave.

It can be difficult for you not to take criticism personally, even when it’s not intended that way at all.

You Don’t Ask for What You Need

You have trouble asking for what you need.

Part of that is because you don’t want to offend others, and worry that having needs and asking for them will do so.

Part of that is also because you don’t know how to ask for your what you need, either. Probably because you’re so inexperienced at actually doing so.

You Put Yourself Last

What you want and need constantly gets pushed aside, in favor of endless demands of others. Maybe you try to do things for yourself, but that gets quickly bumped when others ask you for something.

It’s been a while since you did what you wanted to do.


If at least some of these things are sounding a little too familiar to you, you likely struggle with being a people pleaser – to a degree that compromises your ability to care for yourself and tend to your own needs.

If that’s the case, though, don’t despair – people pleasing is a habit that’s learned, and it can be unlearned, too.

And no, you don’t need to go the opposite way and become a thoughtless jerk to do so – you can learn healthy boundaries, and to balance your needs with those of others around you.

Therefore, watch out for another upcoming post on this blog, about how you can help yourself if you’re a people pleaser. Stay tuned!


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to taking care of yourself, and others. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo

Check out my other blog, too – Free Range Life, at https://freerangelife.net. It’s about personal finance, freelancing and remote work, current events and political commentary, and traveling and the RV life.

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One response to “Are You a People Pleaser?”

  1. […] a recent post entitled Are You a People Pleaser; we discussed the difference between healthy giving and excessive people pleasing – the […]

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