People who try too hard to please others usually display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

Trying too hard to please others often ends up being a disservice to oneself. The desire to be liked can lead us to suppress our own needs and desires, often without even realizing it.

The crux of the matter is self-awareness. People pleasers can go about their lives, bending over backwards for others and not even recognize the pattern they’re stuck in.

It’s not about becoming selfish or uncaring, but recognizing when you’re sacrificing your own wellbeing for the sake of others. And the first step to breaking free from this cycle is identifying the telltale behaviors.

In this article, we’ll delve into 8 behaviors commonly exhibited by people who try too hard to please others. And the best part is, once you’re aware of these signs, you’ll be better equipped to break free from this harmful pattern.

1) Saying yes, even at their own expense

It’s one of the most common traits of people who try too hard to please others – saying yes when they really want to say no.

This isn’t about being kind or helpful. It’s about feeling obligated to agree to anything asked of them, even if it’s inconvenient or detrimental to their own needs or wellbeing.

Why is this so common among people pleasers? It often stems from a fear of rejection or conflict. They worry that saying no might upset someone or make them less likable.

But the problem with this is that it can lead to burnout, resentment, and a loss of self-respect. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to say no sometimes. After all, your needs matter too.

So if you find yourself always agreeing, even when it’s at your own expense, you might be trying too hard to please others.

2) Over-apologizing

Here’s a personal experience that might sound familiar to many. I used to apologize for everything – from things that were my fault to things that were completely out of my control.

I remember once, I was at a coffee shop and someone bumped into me, causing their coffee to spill. Instead of them apologizing to me, I found myself blurting out a “sorry” before they could even react.

This constant need to apologize was a sign of my people-pleasing tendencies. It was as if I felt the need to take responsibility for everything around me, just to avoid any potential conflict or negative feelings.

Over-apologizing is a common behavior in people who try too hard to please others. It comes from a place of wanting to keep the peace and avoid conflict at all costs.

But the reality is, not everything is our fault or responsibility. And it’s crucial to understand that we don’t need to apologize for things beyond our control.

3) Struggling to express personal opinions

People pleasers often find it difficult to voice their own thoughts or opinions, especially if they feel it may clash with those around them. This behavior stems from a deep-seated fear of offending others or being seen in a negative light.

Research has shown that this tendency to suppress personal opinions for the sake of maintaining harmony can actually lead to increased stress and reduced wellbeing.

The irony here is, while people pleasers are trying to create a comfortable environment for others, they’re often causing discomfort and harm to themselves.

Expressing one’s opinion doesn’t have to be confrontational. It’s about respect – both for others and more importantly, for oneself.

4) Constantly seeking validation

Another common behavior exhibited by people who try too hard to please others is the constant need for approval and validation. They often rely on others’ opinions and feedback to gauge their own worth.

This can manifest in different ways. It could be seeking compliments for their work, asking for reassurance about their decisions, or fishing for positive feedback in conversations.

The problem with this is that it places one’s self-esteem in the hands of others. It becomes reliant on external validation, rather than internal self-belief.

Remember, your value is not determined by how others perceive you, but by how you perceive yourself. It’s crucial to develop a strong sense of self-worth that isn’t dependent on the opinions of others.

5) Neglecting their own needs

In their quest to keep everyone else happy, people pleasers often forget about the most important person – themselves.

They’re always ready to lend a hand, to listen, to go the extra mile for others. But when it comes to their own needs and desires, they frequently put them on the back burner.

They might skip meals, lose sleep, or miss out on activities they enjoy because they’re too busy catering to others. It’s not that they don’t have needs or desires of their own, but rather, they prioritize others’ above their own.

It’s a heartbreaking reality for many people pleasers. But remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary. Because only when we are at our best can we truly be there for others. You matter too, and your needs are just as important as anyone else’s.

6) Feeling responsible for others’ emotions

For a long time, I found myself taking on the emotional burdens of those around me. If a friend was upset, I felt it was my duty to cheer them up. If a family member was stressed, I thought I had to be the one to calm them down.

It was as if I believed that I had the power – and the responsibility – to control how others felt. And if they weren’t happy or content, then somehow, I had failed.

This is a common trap for people pleasers. They feel an intense obligation to manage others’ emotions, often at the expense of their own.

But the truth is, we can’t control how others feel, and it’s not our responsibility to do so. Everyone is responsible for their own emotions. It’s okay to offer support and empathy, but remember, you’re not responsible for other people’s happiness.

7) Fearing criticism

It’s normal to not enjoy criticism. No one likes to hear negative feedback about themselves. But for people pleasers, this fear can be paralyzing.

They often go to great lengths to avoid criticism, even if it means suppressing their own needs or desires. It’s because any form of disapproval or negative feedback can feel like a personal attack.

But here’s the reality – no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and have room for improvement. Criticism, when constructive, can be a valuable tool for growth and learning.

So if the fear of criticism is holding you back, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s how we learn, grow, and ultimately become better versions of ourselves.

8) Rarely saying “I want”

The most telling behavior of people who try too hard to please others is their inability to express their own wants and needs. They’re so focused on what others want that they rarely, if ever, say “I want.”

They may feel that expressing their desires is selfish or burdensome to others. But the truth is, it’s neither. It’s simply a way to honor and respect one’s own needs and desires.

Understanding your own wants and needs, and expressing them openly, is not a sign of selfishness. It’s a sign of self-respect and self-love. And it’s the first step towards breaking free from the cycle of people-pleasing.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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