It can be a truly great feeling to make others happy.
Whether you’re doing it altruistically or even to gain favor, pleasing other people is not usually a bad thing.
The problem is how much you’re doing it and the effects it might have on you.
If you work hard to make others happy at the expense of your own time, happiness, or sanity, then eventually, you’re going to find that things simply aren’t balancing out.
And there are definitely things you can cut down on or cut out of your life completely.
Trust me, if you’re doing these ten things, you’re trying too hard to please others, and it’s high time to start reassessing your actions.
1) You keep your opinions to yourself.
I have to admit right from the start that I am something of a people pleaser myself.
It’s probably because I have a highly agreeable personality or maybe because I feel happier when social situations are as smooth as silk.
To give you an example, I think I actually have quite a unique perspective on a lot of things. And yet I rarely make my opinions known.
I much prefer to listen to others express themselves and take in their opinions to help me think more about mine.
But do I open my mouth to share?
Not very often, and especially not when I think my opinion will either contradict or even offend the people I’m talking to.
Maybe I’m just trying too hard not to rock the boat and make anyone else feel uncomfortable.
2) You always agree with everything and everyone.
Yeah, that’s true!
There I go again.
Personally, I don’t always agree with other people. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty much 50/50.
However, that’s on the inside.
What I mean is that I listen to what others are saying, whether they’re offering opinions or giving suggestions, and I definitely decide whether I agree or not.
But that’s in my head.
On the outside, I tend to be quite vocal when I agree about things and simply stay quiet when I don’t.
Does that sound a bit like you, too?
I usually feel that it’s just not worth it to get into a disagreement about most things.
Or if it’s a suggestion I’m not really all that into, I usually think, “Why not just go along anyway and see how it turns out?
I normally choose trying new experiences over sticking up for what I’d prefer, even if things often don’t turn out so well in the end.
3) You hide your feelings away.
Much like keeping your opinions to yourself, people pleasers often keep their – I mean ‘our’ – emotions out of reach.
And the reasons are very much the same.
It’s normally about wanting to keep things smooth and harmonious. Not rocking the boat.
But this does come with a price.
When you’re rightfully angry about something, you might feel you have to swallow it down to keep things peaceful, only to see that anger bubble up somewhere else later.
If you’re down and everyone else is up, then you might just pretend to be up, too.
But this kind of ignoring or even suppressing your true feelings can end up causing you problems in the long run.
4) You never say no.
Hey, that’s right!
This isn’t just about people’s opinions or invites.
I mean, you basically don’t say no to anything.
If you’re busy, but a friend asks for a favor, you’ll drop what you’re doing and help out.
If you really want to stay in and have some “me time,” but your partner asks you to go out to do something, you’ll go along.
It’s great to be so helpful and to be there when people need you.
But being unable to say no has a big negative side.
One issue is that when people know that you can’t say no, they can use this to start taking advantage of you, which can obviously have negative consequences for you.
The other thing is that by not saying no, you’re not creating or respecting your own boundaries.
You should, of course, have limits to what you like and don’t like and what you’re willing to do, and these can be trampled on every time you say yes when you really mean no.
5) You take on too many things at once.
I know you know what I’m talking about here!
Can you help me move on the weekend? Sure!
Do you have time to pick me up at the airport? Of course!
Could you find time to help me make this video? No problem!
You say yes to every request that comes your way.
After all, you don’t want to let anyone down, do you?
But eventually, you end up with a big problem – burnout.
Whether it’s at work, at home, or in your social life, taking on too many tasks and favors, and projects is inevitably going to lead to you being overworked and stretched too thin.
But if you’re going to make everyone happy, the only thing you can do is sacrifice yourself to keep afloat.
You’ll lose sleep, skip meals, fall behind on your own work, and generally lose track of your own priorities, all in the name of pleasing others.
6) You apologize excessively.
I’m sorry for pointing this out.
And for some people (sorry, Canadians, I’m talking to you!), this might be more cultural than anything.
But people who try too hard to please others will find themselves apologizing way too often and over small things that don’t make much difference to anyone.
You’re not supposed to cry over spilled milk, and you probably don’t have to apologize for it, either.
At least not excessively.
But people-pleasers will go out of their way to express regret for the smallest things, sometimes so much that it can be grating.
Sorry for pointing that out.
7) You squirm when confronted with anger.
When someone else is angry, it makes me feel really uncomfortable, even queasy.
I simply don’t like it when other people are angry, and I always try, if I can, to smooth things over.
The problem is that people have a right to get angry, and if it has nothing to do with me, then it’s probably not my business.
And what do people hate more than anything when they’re angry? Someone else telling them to calm down!
I know deep down that, a lot of the time, the anger is justified. You know, like when a person is betrayed by a friend or treated unfairly.
But it still makes me feel so uncomfortable that I really can’t stand it.
So I try to dispel the anger because I’m a people pleaser, but in doing so, I often find the wrath shifts and falls on me instead.
8) You feel responsible for other people’s feelings.
When other people are having negative emotions, people pleasers often feel responsible.
They don’t have to have had anything to do with the reasons why that other person is sad, angry, or jealous.
They simply feel like it’s their duty to get that person back to a state of positivity as soon as possible.
Do you do this?
If you’re constantly trying to smooth things over, tell people there’s nothing to worry about, and try to shift their attention onto more positive things, it’s because you’re trying to please them.
And it could even be a sign of dependent personality disorder.
9) You always laugh at jokes and listen intently to stories.
Do you always laugh at people’s jokes, even if you don’t find them all that funny?
How about stories – do you listen intently and try to seem interested, even if they’re boring you to tears?
If you do, you’re probably not doing anyone any favors.
You’re denying your true self by keeping your feelings bottled up and being fake.
And that other person is probably going to feel you’re being phony anyway.
You’re just trying too hard.
10) You do things that aren’t in line with your values.
Of all the things people pleasers do, this is probably the most damaging.
They might lie, cheat, or break the law just to go along with what others want them to do.
But if these things directly oppose their values, they’re going to really cause problems.
The people pleaser will start to feel that they’ve betrayed themself, and this can be a huge blow to their self-esteem.
What About You?
Do any of these behaviors sound all too familiar? If so, you may be a people pleaser who’s trying too hard to make others happy. Instead, it’s time to take a look at why you do these things and what damage you might actually be doing to yourself.