Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser

By Jennifer Noble | Apr 28, 2017

You worry about what others think of you, your work ethic and everything about you. You make every attempt to do what other others want or what you think they want. You wear your heart on your sleeve and want to help others; however, there are times when people take advantage of that. You risk your own happiness in your career, personal life and other realms of your life.


Does this sound like you? Then, you could be a people pleaser. Here are some tips to stop being a people pleaser and reach your own levels of happiness, on your own terms:


Set your own schedule.

While it could be important to you to do what your boss, parents, significant other, children and others around you want, it’s also incredibly important that you set your own choices and priorities. You could feel pressured to say “yes,” although you have a million other things on your plate and can’t fit that request into your timeframe. Learn to tell people “no.” After all, you have that choice; learn to be comfortable with putting your needs first. If you do agree to do something, then be sure to put a time limit on it. It could cause discomfort on your end and the others’ end, but you will be happier in the long run. You will be focusing on what really matters to you.


Create — and use — your own personal mantra.

Sometimes, our biggest naysayer happens to be ourselves. So, if you’re uncomfortable with saying “no,” then create your own how-to guide to not people please. Create your levels of importance, the chain of command in your own life. What is important to you? Be sure that each action is falling within at least one of those categories. When you’re pressured into people pleasing, either through your own mind or others’, then remind yourself, “I don’t want to do that because it doesn’t fit into my mantra.”


Don’t give excuses.

Honestly, people don’t really care why you’re saying no. So, stop giving excuses. As long as you know the reason internally, then keep your explanations short. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that because I have to take my dog to the vet, go to the grocery store, meet five deadlines for work, make dinner for my family, take out the trash, etc.,” try a different approach. Say something like, “That timeframe doesn’t work for me, but can we schedule another time?” If it’s something you absolutely do not want to do, then be brief and semi-apologetic. But, don’t say “I’m sorry” over and over because creating a blanket apology is also a form of an excuse — and it’s really not your fault.


Be assertive.

This is especially helpful when you feel like another person is manipulating you in your work or personal situation. Tell them what you think with authority. If your friend says something like, “You plan the best parties with all of the best food, decor and activities. Will you plan my child’s birthday party for me?” This is a form of manipulation because your friend is using manipulation to win your favor and get you to do something for her, even if she is not meaning to do so. You could be the best you know at something, but try to not fall for flattery if someone is trying to persuade you to do something for him or her. Don’t be afraid to tell the person “no.” Try your best to not be passive-aggressive.


Talk with a mental health professional.

We may not know how to handle our people pleasing or its root cause. Talking about it with a mental health professional and recognizing the symptoms of anxiety and its affect on our people pleasing will help us work through it.

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