September 8, 2021

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

By Katelyn Redfoot

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If you’re a people pleaser, you typically put other people’s needs ahead of your own. You might do this because you don’t want to burden others. You might be afraid that they will become upset or won’t like you if you say no.

It’s important to realize there is nothing wrong with wanting the approval of others. Still, there is a difference between being nice and being a person who excessively seeks it and agrees with others. This is the first boundary you must acknowledge if you are ready to know how to stop being a people pleaser. 

The following practical tips will help you learn how to stop being a people pleaser. They will also help you ease the guilt and stress associated with it.

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser by Understanding the Possible Causes

First of all, you will want to understand the possible causes of your behaviors. Some of the most common causes that lead people to become people-pleasers include:

Low self-esteem: many people-pleasers seek external validation (approval and acceptance) because they lack confidence. 

Perfectionism: some people-pleasers behave this way because they just want everything and everyone to be a certain way. 

Past painful or traumatic experiences: people who have experienced abusive behaviors may please people because they believe agreeable behaviors will help them bypass it.

Insecurity: some people engage in people-pleasing behaviors because they fear others won’t like them unless they go the extra mile for that person’s happiness.

Understand How People Pleasing Affects You

As a result of being a people pleaser, you may struggle with anxiety or depression. You may feel constantly worried that there is something wrong with almost every situation. Not only that but an issue that you are responsible for fixing. In addition, people-pleasing severely undermines your confidence and independence. It limits your ability to make decisions without considering how others will respond. 

It’s good you’re here seeking advice on how to stop being a people pleaser. It’s time to stop thinking about everyone else, and consider the impact of your people-pleasing thoughts and actions on your wellbeing.

Continuing in this direction may result in self-sabotage, unfulfilled desires, and other negative impacts down the road.

Start by saying “no” to small requests.

By practicing saying “no” to small requests, you can build up your confidence and get more comfortable a little bit at a time. This way, you’ll be less likely to over-commit yourself again and regain a sense of control of your life. 

Practicing how to stop being a people pleaser doesn’t only mean saying “no.” Sometimes, it simply means expressing your opinion. Other times it means asking someone for a small favor.

Help Others Because You Want to

There will always be someone who wants something from you, and you can’t say no if your main goal is to please other people.

If you take away one thing about how to stop being a people pleaser, it’s that this is your life. You are free to live it however you choose. That includes who you help and when. 

Stop Making Excuses

Anytime you say “no” to someone, do not blame your answer on some other obligation or excuse.

How often do we feel obligated to continue a conversation with someone? How often do we make excuses for why we can’t hang out with them? You are allowed to say “no” to someone at any time without providing a reason or excuse.


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About the author

Katelyn Redfoot is an independent content writer based in North Carolina who offers ghostwriting, copywriting, blogging, and social media services. As a health and wellness advocate, she loves learning from and helping clients across the world share creative, relatable, and helpful content. Her goal is soon to take her writing on the road, traveling in a van with her fiance, Jason, and their dogs, Max and Summit.


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