Are you unsure if you’re a people-pleaser or not? You’ve heard this term a few times, feel a little intrigued, or maybe someone called you a people-pleaser at one point in your life.
But is that really you?
People-pleasing in the most basic sense is pleasing other people. Additionally, it’s pleasing other people and putting others’ needs before your own at the expense of yourself. You value others and their opinions more than your own. You may find that to be a form of selflessness, but there’s a difference between being selfless and generous, and losing yourself from always focusing on other people.
If you’re still on the fence (or maybe have no clue!), here are five sneaky signs that you’re a people-pleaser:
Putting Others’ Needs Before Your Own
It’s one thing to occasionally help other people, but when you are consistently saying “yes” to anything asked of you, even if it’s something you don’t feel comfortable with, you’re crossing a line. You’re no longer paying attention to what you need and what you want in life. Your life is being dictated by other people because all of your focus is on what they want from you.
Why is this? You care too much about what other people think, and you don’t want to let anyone else down. In the meantime, you’re ignoring what’s happening inside of you. You’re ignoring your need for rest, the need to prioritize your own to-do list, and always saying “yes” to other people.
Craving Approval From Other People
Why are you saying “yes” all of the time? You’re craving their approval. You want more and more opportunities to help prove to them that you’re worthy, reliable, and a good person. (Or whatever other reason you may have deep down when seeking approval for others.)
If someone has a negative opinion about you or is disappointed in you? It’ll ruin your entire day. Why don’t they like you? What could you have done better? These are a few questions that you most likely have running through your head if you know you don’t have someone’s approval. Whether you crave approval from family members, managers, coworkers, friends, or anyone else in your life, depending on that much assurance from the opinion of other people is a dangerous habit to form, and a surefire sign that you’re a people-pleaser.
Feeling Deep Shame From Failure
How does failing make you feel? Is the thought alone of failing even causing your stomach to feel woozy? You’re not alone. Fear of failure and feeling shame from failure is extremely common in our society. Who could blame us? At a young age, we started learning that failure was “bad” in school, whether with letter grades (no way you wanted to get an F on your exam) or with simple “Pass/Fail” grades, and everything else in between. School taught us that failure equals bad. That’s it. Done.
The reality? That’s not the case in the real world.
Failure is simply redirection, or a learning experience for how NOT to do something next time you try. However, even if you’re aware of the truth behind failure and have been trying to work on this kind of mindset, that doesn’t shake the fact that you tend to feel deep shame when you experience failure, especially as a people-pleaser.
This is because you don’t want to disappoint other people or seem unreliable. Failing at something when you’re helping someone else not only comes with facing your own high expectations for yourself and your natural inclination to fear failure but with the full reality that you may have disappointed another person. Which leads me to our next sign…
Scared to Disappoint Anyone
Disappointing other people is the literal opposite of pleasing them. Your entire goal is to make other people happy, and when that doesn’t happen? Your world is shattered.
If the other person isn’t happy with you, or not satisfied with your help, what was the point? What are you good for?
You are worth so much more than just pleasing other people. I know your heart means well, but you forget that no matter what you do, you can’t control the thoughts and opinions of other people. Plus, other people’s opinions are simply that — opinions!
Sure, you may value someone’s opinion more than the next person, but you need to unhook from this dependency and learn to trust your own instincts and thoughts.
Your opinions matter.
Do you find yourself saying “sorry” in almost every conversation? Whenever you ask for something, call customer care on the phone, or simply write an email at work?
You feel like you’re inconveniencing other people as you go about your day, especially if you do something for yourself. This is a classic sneaky sign that you’re a people-pleaser. So much so, that you might not even notice how much you’re saying it throughout the day!
You are NOT a burden.
Keep an eye on how much you apologize. Are those apologies really necessary? It’s okay to ask for help from other people, or request something from someone when it’s literally their job. You are not a bother, and you deserve to feel like you are worth being a valuable part of this world beyond being dependent on other people.
Bonus: Overwhelmed From Doing What Everyone Asks Of You
What happens when you start saying “yes” to everyone and forget to take care of your own responsibilities and health? You’re overwhelmed!
Time management is especially hard for people-pleasers because you’re taking on so much, and still have trouble saying “no” or prioritizing what needs your attention most. You’re overstretching yourself, and finding balance is almost impossible. Plus, you’re saying “yes” to things you can’t handle, simply for the sake of people-pleasing at the risk of missing out on time you need to save for yourself.
If even one of these signs sounds like something you’re experiencing, that’s okay! The first step is recognizing that you’ve developed these habits because it’s the best way you can figure out how to unlearn them and grow. You deserve to put yourself first, take care of yourself, and set meaningful boundaries with those around you. You’re allowed to say “no” if you have too much on your plate.
Your next step? Unlock free access to my ultimate Self-Discovery Toolkit for People-Pleasers. You’ll have unlimited lifetime access to ALL of my freebies to help you along your personal growth journey: worksheets, masterclasses, workbooks, previously recorded webinars, and more!
Fill out the form below to get started right now:
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Playing Big by Tara Mohr
- Episode 9: My Story – 6 Ways I Completely Changed My Life in One Year
- Self-Care to Confidence Masterclass
- Unlock access to the Self-Discovery Toolkit for People Pleasers
- Episode 11: How to Face Your Fear of Failure
- Episode 5: 6 Steps to Conquer Your Busy Schedule
- Submit a question for Sara to answer in a future episode!