11 Signs You’re A People Pleaser

by Ann deBruyn

Signs Youre A People Pleaser

People pleasing is the action of saying yes when you really want to say no.

For example, let’s say your girlfriends ask you out to dinner on Friday night. You want to say no so you can rest, but you think you can’t say no. So you internally are a “no” but you say yes anyway.

People pleasing comes from a place of fear, anxiety, and lack. It’s thinking you have to behave in a certain way in order to make other people happy. This leaves you feeling exhausted, busy, resentful, and disconnected from yourself and others.

Even worse—as women, we’re conditioned from a young age to people please (i.e.: to be a “good girl” and say yes).

The first step to stopping people pleasing is to see if you’re in the habit of doing any of the following behaviors, all of which create a people-pleasing mindset.

How To Tell If You’re A People Pleaser

People who are in the habit of people pleasing will also be in the habit of these 11 specific behaviors below.

1. You struggle to say no.

When someone asks you to do something, do you always say yes? And do you cringe at the thought of saying no?

This is a red flag that you’re in the habit of people pleasing. Being able to say no (respectfully, of course) is an important part of maintaining your own identity and relationship with yourself.

If you say yes to everyone else’s requests, you’ll lose sight of who you are, create a lot more anxiety, and likely not make progress on your goals.

Resources:

  • When To Say Yes And When To Say No (podcast)
  • 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Moms (free class)

2. You’re chronically busy.

When you say yes to everyone else at your own expense, you fill up your calendar so much that you leave zero time for yourself—whether that’s going for a walk, practicing self care, or reading a book.

You’ll see that there’s no time, ever, to just chill out because you’ve obligated your time away from yourself, to everyone else.

This state of busying around leaves you exhausted.

CLICK HERE for my Time Management Tips For Busy Moms Free Class.

3. You feel anxious when someone asks you to do something.

Notice if you feel uneasy (anxious) when someone asks you to do something. This is a sign that you’re thinking, “I don’t want to do that but I can’t say no.” The thought of doing something that you don’t want to do and being unable to say no creates feelings of anxiety for you.

People pleasers are notorious for having a worried mindset when someone makes a request because they’re so fixated on what other people will think, feel, and do.

4. You think you can control how other people think and feel about you.

While it’s kind to be considerate of other people’s feelings, people pleasers take it too far insofar as they think their response creates someone else’s feelings.

For example, you don’t want to say no to your sister in law when she asks you to babysit because you don’t want her to think you’re not a good sister in law. You want her to think you’re the best and really helpful.

When you take action to try to control someone else’s feelings, it’s not only people pleasing, it’s manipulative (and I say that will all the love in the world—don’t go beating yourself up over this!).

Resources:

  • 10 Mindset Shifts For Moms (podcast)
  • Podcast Directory (free download)

5. You change your personality depending on who you’re around.

If you want to be liked by everyone, then you’ll change your opinions and how you act depending on who you’re around.

Now to some extent we all do this in the sense that we don’t act the same around our grandma as we do around our kids as we do around our high school friends. But what I’m referring to is beyond the appropriateness of the conversations and actions.

It’s you agree with everything your dad says about politics and everything your neighbor says and each of them have completely opposite opinions. You do this because you want to be liked and accepted (which is understandable!), but you do it at your own expense (it costs you your relationship with yourself).

Resources:

  • 75 Journal Prompts For Moms (free download)
  • Thoughts Vs. Facts (podcast)

6. You’re constantly looking for external validation.

Do you constantly look to others to know what to think about yourself? A people pleaser is disconnected from her own thoughts about herself. She doesn’t know what she likes about herself. So instead, she looks to everyone else to tell her how to think and feel about herself.

Nothing wrong with getting a little extra excited over a compliment. But when taken too far it can become addictive, where you are constantly seeking approval outside of you to find your worth (instead of giving it to yourself).

7. You never practice self care.

If you say yes to everyone else’s requests, not only do you have a full calendar that doesn’t have space for self care, but on top of that, you don’t think you deserve it. When you people please, you think everyone else is worthy and better. You think that you need to do more for others and that you don’t matter.

You may not consciously say to yourself “I don’t matter” but when you prioritize everyone else’s needs above your own, that’s exactly what you’re saying.

Resources:

  • Your Self Identity (podcast)
  • Thursday Inspo (weekly email)

8. You don’t know what you like and dislike.

If you’re living in other people’s minds, you’ve left your own. This means you don’t know what you like and don’t like. You’ve lost the relationship with yourself. You have no idea what type of flowers or eggs you like. Instead, you know what the likes are of other people and you try to be like them.

You have an attitude of apologizing for being you, instead of thinking “I’m not supposed to be everyone’s flavor. I love me.”

Resources:

  • How To Become A More Mindful Mom (free class)
  • Mommy Wine Culture (podcast)

9. You don’t enjoy being yourself.

There’s this sense that you aren’t enough. While it’s normal to doubt yourself (all healthy humans do this), a people pleaser takes it so much further than normal doubt. A people pleaser genuinely struggles to comfortably say all the things she likes about herself—because, well, she doesn’t like herself.

If you find yourself struggling to be a good friend to you (and have your own back), this is people pleasing.

10. You have a difficult time sharing your opinion.

Are you able to disagree and maintain a connection with someone? For someone with people pleasing tendencies, this is nearly impossible. Even for little things.

For example, if someone wants to go to dinner at restaurant A are you comfortable saying, “actually I don’t eat sushi, but I’d love to try out restaurants B or C if you like either of those?”

As you overcome your people pleasing tendencies, this will get easier and easier (I promise).

Resources:

  • How To Deal With A Challenging Relationship (free class)
  • How To Feel Better (podcast)

11. You think you have to say yes in order to be good.

Check in with yourself and see if you think that saying no = you’re bad.

This is really at the heart of people pleasing. It’s thinking that to be “good” you need to say “yes” to others.

While helping out and obliging from a genuine desire to want to is a good thing, saying yes from a place of fear and obligation is a bad thing.

If you struggle with people pleasing, know that it is so normal. It’s your brain wanting peer-approval. Your brain thinks this is necessary for your survival. What you can do is reprogram your thinking so that your mindset prioritizes you, while maintaining connection with others.

A Final Note

If you have people pleasing tendencies, you are normal! We’re raised to be people pleasers.

Yet, this doesn’t have to be the way moving forward. You can retrain your mindset to think differently, so you break the habit of people pleasing.

This is the process we do inside Grow You, my mindfulness community for moms. CLICK HERE to learn more about Grow You.