Signs of chronic people-pleasing
Why we become people pleasers
How to manage people-pleasing
- Learn self-compassion: People-pleasers are often forgiving of others but very harsh on themselves. Behavioral self-compassion focuses on identifying actions that provide nurturing. Start by asking yourself: “What is one thing that will help me feel soothed?” It could be taking a walk or drinking a cup of tea. Or it might be calling a friend or spending time with your beloved pet.
- Practice saying no: I encourage my patients to practice saying no, especially in situations where they feel safe. This could be a friend’s last-minute dinner invitation or a neighbor’s request to help them move. You might say: “Thank you for asking, but I can’t make it this time,” or “Thank you for asking, but I can’t help you this time.” Remember, you don’t need to over-explain or rationalize your answer. While saying no usually takes practice, many of my patients find it energizing and even liberating.
- Seek support: Try to identify when your people-pleasing tendencies light up. Does it happen when you sense a conflict brewing or in situations where you really want to be liked? Or maybe it pops up every time you interact with a difficult family member or with a powerful person such as your boss. Once you pinpoint people-pleasing’s origins, you can seek the support you need to overcome it. A therapist can help.