Help and Hope for People Pleasers

By Rachel Puryear

In a recent post entitled Are You a People Pleaser; we discussed the difference between healthy giving and excessive people pleasing – the latter involving letting others take advantage, and not voicing needs; because of a low sense of self-worth and a strong need to win approval of other people.

In this follow-up post, we will now discuss how people pleasers can help themselves better assert their needs, set boundaries with others, and cultivate a better sense of self-worth so that they don’t constantly need validation from others.

Waves on the beach, and “Time for change” written in the sand.

Accordingly, here are some things that chronic people pleasers can do to make their lives work better for themselves; and shift their giving towards only those who actually love them, and give something back:

(1) Learning to Say “No” Takes Practice

So practice it, again and again. You will improve with practice.

Of course – only say “no” when you genuinely want to say no. This doesn’t mean you have to do so arbitrarily. But there will be enough opportunities to say “no” and truly mean it.

Blue neon sign reading, “Say It Louder!”

(2) Reciprocity is Key to Relationships

Reciprocity is what to aim for in your relations with others. Accordingly, you don’t have to stop being a giver – just limit your giving only to those who also give back to you. Don’t keep giving to people who just take.

It’s not a bad thing to be a giver – just use it to attract fellow givers, rather than takers.

(3) Take Your Time in Making Decisions

When someone wants to rush you into a decision – particularly where there’s no good reason to do so, and it seems kind of one-sided – that’s concerning in and of itself.

Someone who respects you and has your interests at heart will understand if you need to think about things when they ask you for something. Someone who gets angry and wants to rush you is not someone you should trust.

Person thinking, deep in thought. By Kevin Turcios.

Besides, having time to think about things tends to result in better decisions, anyway.

(4) Assess Your Own Values and Priorities

This will help you make decisions that are better for you, rather than better for people who are mainly interested in what they can get out of you.

You may not be in the habit of thinking much about what matters and is important to you.

Therefore, this is a great exercise to help you get to better know you, and to make fewer decisions you’ll regret later.

(5) Put Some Time for You on the Calendar

With pen, not pencil. Metaphorically speaking – most of us use calendar apps nowadays.

Calendar on a table, which says, “Life is short. Do stuff that matters.” By Manasvita S.

Anyway, specifically carve out time for the things you want and need to do, and stick to it. It’s important.

(6) Don’t Apologize Unnecessarily

If you truly hurt someone or failed to meet actual obligations to them, then an apology is probably merited.

Otherwise, though, there’s no need to be sorry for all kinds of things, all the time; which are not your fault, and that are not your responsibility.

Stop automatically apologizing without thinking about it first.

(7) Be Mindful of Bad Behavior

Try to notice toxic and otherwise harmful behavior of other people – don’t be so quick to just ignore or excuse it.

By becoming more aware of things like this, you’re doing a couple of important things – you’re cultivating more of your own values and priorities (as described above), and you’re also better noticing traits of the kind of people who aren’t good for you, and who will only take advantage of and exploit your people pleasing tendencies.

(8) Do Inner Examination, to Think About Why You Might Be Prone to People Pleasing

Is it a habit you learned early on in life? Something you developed as a coping mechanism against the various difficulties of life, and in order to avoid all the drama that comes with conflict?

You may not even remember right away. But with time, and thinking it over, it might come to you – little by little.

Hand holding drawing of lightbulb with brain pattern.

Maybe even with some meditation, or with talking about it – with a safe and trustworthy person, of course. If you can find someone who’s also overcome being a people pleaser, that would be great.

Only you have the answers. No one else can give them to you.

The good news is, if you’re willing to self-examine, then the answers are available to you.

(9) Create Boundaries

In practicing saying “no” as described above, you can use that to help implement boundaries with other people.

Practice not letting people take more of your time, resources, mental energy, and efforts than works for you. Furthermore, surround yourself with people willing to reciprocate where feasible.

This is an important, lifelong skill.

(10) You Won’t Please Everyone – Nor Should You

You don’t need to always please everyone. That’s not the way of things.

Sometimes others will be unhappy with you, and it’s something you must learn to accept. And – even if that’s the case, things can still turn out okay.

Furthermore, there are some people you should never aim to please – as in, toxic takers, and other bad-news kinds of people.

Healthy conflict can be a good thing. It can help you better understand those close to you, and – again, as described above – help you set better boundaries.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

(11) You Matter, Too

Always remember that your feelings, opinions, and ideas are important, too. You are not lesser than, or inferior to, anyone else. What you have to say deserves to be heard and listened to as much as what others have to say, too.

Furthermore, develop your own interests, passions, hobbies, and routines. You may need time to even learn what those are, if you’re so used to doing what others want that you haven’t even thought much about what you’re really into.

Child hugging himself, and holding a book.

Cultivating and giving attention to your own interests and so forth is good, in and of itself. It also helps you better get to know you, and what you want in life.

(12) Consider Getting Help

Sometimes, we all have some problems that we cannot solve on our own. People pleasers, as much as they might do for other people, tend to have a lot of trouble asking for help for themselves.

As a society, we tend to think of the “tough,” acting-out types as mainly being the ones having trouble asking for help, and being too ashamed to do so.

I believe, though, that people pleasing types have at least as much trouble with this skill as anyone else. In fact, they might have some of the most trouble of all with asking for help from others.

People pleasers often feel like a burden or failure for asking for help, or like they don’t deserve it.

None of those things are true, however. They can do and ultimately give more when they get help. They’re courageous and honoring their own values when they get help, and they also absolutely deserve to get all they help they need and want.

Therefore, people pleasers having trouble making the changes they want to make, or who are otherwise struggling should definitely reach out for some help.

Want to make that first step, and talk to someone online who can help, in the privacy and comfort of your home? Check out qualified online therapists here, and get a discount on your first month!

Laptop on couches in virtual counseling office. By Joyful.

Power to you!

Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to reciprocity, and balanced and healthy relationships. 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 It’s about personal finance, freelancing and remote work, current events, and traveling and the RV life.

Note: We have affiliate relationships with vendors promoted on this site. As such, we earn from qualifying purchases.

3 responses to “Help and Hope for People Pleasers”

  1. This is a wonderful article for those who tend to give a lot to those who are important to them. I really liked the bit of recognizing toxic traits and also realizing when you’re giving more than the person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sara! Appreciate your reading and sharing your feedback. 🙂


  3. […] and concessions to them will go unappreciated, unacknowledged, and definitely unreciprocated. They’ll still […]


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