How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Опубликовал Admin
15-05-2019, 20:00
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Updated: March 29, 2019 If you're a people pleaser, then you probably tend to put other people’s needs ahead of your own. Maybe you want approval from others or have been taught to always give to others. It’ll take some time to adjust, but start by saying “no” to some things instead of “yes” to everything. Create some boundaries and make your voice heard and your opinion matter. Above all, make time to care for yourself.

Saying “No” Effectively

  1. Recognize that you have choices. If someone asks or tells you to do something, you have the choice to say yes, no, or maybe. You don’t have to say yes, even if you feel like you do. When someone asks you something, take a moment and remember that how you respond is your choice.
    • For example, if someone asks you to stay late on a project, tell yourself, “I have the choice to say yes and stay or to go home and say no.”
  2. Learn how to say "no." If you tend to always say “yes” to things even when you don’t want to or when situations cause you stress, start saying “no.” It might take some practice, but let people know when you can’t do what they want. There’s no need to make excuses or talk your way out of it. A simple “no” or “no thank you” will do.
    • Start small by finding something small to say "no" to and say it firmly. For example, if your partner asks you to walk the dog yet you are exhausted, say, “No. I’d like you to walk the dog tonight, please.”
    • You can also do some role play with a friend to get used to saying “no.” Have your friend ask you to do things, and then respond “no” to each of their requests. Make sure to pay attention to how you feel each time you say “no.”
  3. Be assertive and empathetic. If a flat “no” seems harsh to you, be assertive while also being empathetic. Show your understanding for the person and their needs, yet also be firm in saying that you cannot help them.
    • For example, say, “I know how much you want a nice birthday cake for the party and how much that means to you. I’d love to provide one, but I’m unable to do that at the moment.”

Creating Boundaries

  1. Take some time to think about it. Your boundaries are like your values. They help you to determine what you are and are not comfortable doing. You don’t have to respond right away when someone asks you for something. Say, “let me think about that” and get back to them. This will give you some time to think it over, ask yourself if you feel pressured, and think about possible conflicts.
    • If the person needs a quick response, say no. Once you say yes, you’re stuck.
    • Don’t use this as a way to avoid saying no. If you want to or need to say no, just say it without making the person wait.
    • If you are not sure what your boundaries are, then take some time to reflect on your values and rights. Boundaries can be material, physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or spiritual.
  2. Set your priorities. Knowing your priorities can help you choose what to say yes to and what to decline. If you feel trapped in a decision, choose what’s more important to you and why. If you’re not sure, write a list of your demands (or options) and place them in order of what’s most important to you.
    • For example, taking care of your sick dog might be more important to you than attending a party you friend is having.
  3. Speak up for what you want. There's nothing wrong with voicing your opinion, and it doesn't have to mean you're making a demand. Simply reminding people that you're an individual with your own preferences is a big step forward. If you tend to please people by going along with other people want instead of voicing your likes or dislikes, speak out.
    • For example, if your friends want Italian food and you want Korean food, say that you want Korean food next time.
    • Even if you go along with something, say your preference. For example, “I prefer the other movie, but I’m happy to watch this one.”
    • Avoid being defensive. State your needs without being angry or blaming someone. Do your best to be assertive, calm, firm, and courteous.
  4. Set a time limit. If you agree to help someone, set a time limit. You don’t have to justify your limits or make excuses for why you need to leave. State your limits and let that be that.
    • For example, if someone asks you to help them move, say, “I can help you between noon and three.”
  5. Compromise when making decisions. Compromising is a good way to get your voice heard, maneuver within your own boundaries, and meet someone halfway. Listen to what the other person wants, then explain what you want. Come up with a solution that will meet both people.
    • For example, if your friend wants to go shopping but you want to go on a hike, start with one activity, then do the other.

Taking Care of Yourself

  1. Build your self-esteem. Your self-worth isn’t based on what other people think of you or the approval of others. It comes from you and nobody else. Surround yourself with positive people and recognize when you feel low about yourself. Listen to how you talk to yourself (like calling yourself unlikeable or a failure) and stop beating yourself up for your mistakes.
    • Learn from your mistakes and treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
    • Note if you have people pleasing tendencies. This is often a sign of low self-esteem.
  2. Practice healthy habits. Neglecting your needs can be a sign of a lack of self-love. Looking after yourself and taking care of your body isn’t selfish. If you tend to neglect taking care of yourself to take care of others, carve out some time each day for your health. Eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, and do things that make your body feel good. Above all, make sure you get enough sleep each night and feel rested each day.
    • Aim to get 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep each night.
    • When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to help others.
  3. Give yourself some care. Taking good care of yourself will help you feel better and help you cope with stress. Spend time having fun with friends and family. Treat yourself with a little pampering now and then: get a massage, go to a spa, and do something that relaxes you.
    • Do activities that you enjoy. Listen to music, journal, volunteer, or take a daily walk.
  4. Recognize that you cannot please everybody. The only approval you need is your own. No matter how hard you try, some people just cannot be pleased. You can’t change what people think or feel to make them like you or approve of you. It’s up to other people to make those decisions.
    • If you’re trying to win the approval of a friend group or you want your grandmother to see what a good person you are, you may not be able to do this.
  5. Get professional help. Struggling with people pleasing can be difficult. If you’ve tried to change things yet it’s stayed the same or only gotten worse, it might be time to see a therapist. A therapist can help you enact new behaviors and stand up for yourself.
    • Find a therapist by contacting your insurance provider or a local mental health clinic. You can also find a therapist by getting a recommendation from a friend or physician.


  • Ask yourself if you tolerate things other people wouldn’t tolerate. Learn to identify and label unacceptable treatment from others and set limits on their behavior when they violate your boundaries.
  • Be persistent. If this is a lifelong habit, it will not be easy to overcome. Maintain enough self-awareness so that you realize when you are being a pleaser.
  • Helping others should be something you want to, not something you feel you have to do.
  • Don't worry about what other people think of you.
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