How to Stop Being a People-Pleaser

April 28, 2015 Fay Agathangelou

Tired of being a people-pleaser? Being a people-pleaser is a drain on your self-esteem. It's different from helping someone. Here's how to stop people-pleasing.

Being a people-pleaser is a sign of low self-esteem. If you’re a people-pleaser, you go out of your way to make other people happy. Your choices or actions might be based on what others think, want or expect from you. Your self-worth is probably dependent on the approval from others, and it most likely reflects your personal insecurities. It’s okay to be kind and helpful to others, but to a point. Excessive people-pleasing is unhealthy and it can worsen your self-esteem. The good news is that you can stop being a people-pleaser.

The Consequences of Being A People-Pleaser

Excessive people-pleasing means always, or usually, putting other peoples' wants or needs ahead of your own. Your own needs are neglected and you might lose your sense of who you are as an individual.

If you’re a people-pleaser, you probably find it hard to say no or speak up for yourself. You might also have trouble with setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries. These things make it easy for others to take advantage of you. Additionally, you might become overwhelmed and burnt out from trying to do everything and by not looking after yourself.

The idea of people-pleasing is distorted thinking. It’s unrealistic and it’s a recipe for disaster. People-pleasing is disempowering and it can impact on your overall wellness. It's, therefore, important to stop being a people-pleaser.

Ways to Stop Being a People-Pleaser

  • Understand that your self-worth does not depend on approval from others. Your self-worth is your own perception of yourself and that depends on you. You don’t need external approval to be a worthy person. Tired of being a people-pleaser? Want to know how to stop being a people-pleaser? Read on.
  • Realize that you’ll never please everyone. If you please some people, you’ll naturally disappoint others.
  • Know that you can’t control what others think. It's unrealistic to believe you can change someone's thoughts. You can't make someone happy unless they want to be. The only person you can control is yourself.
  • Realise that people won’t notice, or care as much as you think. Why waste your energy?
  • Practice being assertive. Practice speaking up for yourself and learn to say no.
  • Have healthy boundaries. Make sure you have healthy boundaries in your life and stick to them.
  • Look after your own needs. It's important to make choices that are good for you rather than what's expected, or to please others. Do the things you enjoy and practice self-care.
  • Learn to love yourself. Love yourself unconditionally, as you are right now. Treat yourself as you would a best friend and respect yourself.
  • Believe that self-care is not selfish. Self-care is essential for your own wellbeing, and it will benefit the others around you as well.
  • Address your insecurities. It's important to address the underlying issues and to work on your self-esteem. Don't be afraid to seek mental health help if you need it.

These are just a few tips on breaking the habit of people-pleasing. As with anything, change requires effort and persistence. When you stop being a people-pleaser it is likely that you'll notice improvements in the quality your life and it's well worth the effort.

How To Quit Being a People Pleaser And Get Control of Life

In this self-esteem video, I talk about people-pleasing and ways to stop it.

You can find Fay Agathangelou on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and her website.

APA Reference
Agathangelou, F. (2015, April 28). How to Stop Being a People-Pleaser, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Fay Agathangelou

David farbutts
June, 19 2016 at 12:07 am

Also I needed to know I mattered after all the tears of never feeling good enuf.
If I just try harder to please and they accept me then somehow im good enuf and I can accept myself...
I don't need anyone to accept me first before I accept myself...
If they don't like me too bad.

David farbutts
June, 19 2016 at 12:04 am

I had to let go of all the hindrerences.
I wanted to only please others. Never thinking of myself. It's almost a brainwashing to think I should selfishly forget myself.
Who will care for me if I don't?
I need to put me first.
Who is going to take care of me but me??
I just have to learn how to put me first again.
Why can't I put myself first.
Who will I serve?

May, 5 2016 at 11:39 am

I have also been a victim of people pleasing for almost all my life. At the age of 19 is when I reached my breaking point and fell into a deep depression for a while. Since then I can proudly say that I have greatly improved and have a strong sence of self identity.
Articles like these greatly helped me on this journey .
Thank you for this article. You're really helping many people.
God bless you

April, 5 2016 at 6:30 pm

Reading this made me feel so much better, and has given me insight on what I need to do to help overcome my overly accommodating nature. Ever since I was very young, I've felt an overwhelming need to make others happy even if it's at my own expense. It has only gotten worse with age, and I'm finally at my breaking point. I've spent years doing volunteer work and making other commitments that I don't enjoy because I felt like I owed it to the world to give back in any way that I can. I recently gave birth to twin girls, and that along with caring for my disabled son has left me no time for anything other than my kids. Suddenly being unavailable has made me realize how unhappy I was, and how I only did things because I wanted others to like me. I've spent 30 years doing what I thought others wanted and expected of me, and now I'm not sure who I am as person. Pleasing others was all that I was, and now I'm not sure what truly brings me joy. I will always be kind and generous to others, but I'm so ready to also start being kind and generous to myself.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 7 2016 at 9:26 am

Good for commenting! Courtney you are a role model and I'm so happy you shared your story. perhaps its sharing your story that will help you feel joy? I think the more you focus on the small things that make you smile and bring you happiness the easier it will be to find out what fuels your soul. Thank you for writing and keep us posted on your progress!
Take Good Care,

February, 17 2016 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for your wisdom and guidance. I use to try to please my family. Me trying to keep everybody happy at a young age was, because I wanted my parents validation as good child ,but when I didn't receive the praise I wanted I felt neglected and when I seen my siblings receive attention that I wanted I felt worthless.Now I realize that trying to make other people happy will only make me fell worse ,so in order to move forward I must focus on the only thing I can control my on happiness. May God Continue To Bless You With His Knowlegde And His Wisdom : )

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 17 2016 at 1:54 pm

Thank you Clayton. So glad it helps and glad you are putting yourself.
Take Good Care,

January, 2 2016 at 3:00 am

Great article,it's really helpful.I am a people pleaser,i keep everyone else's needs before me ignoring and neglecting myself.It has a great impact on my self-confidence and self-esteem.It has made me more vulnerable,i was even bullied for not pleasing nor saying 'no'.From now onwards,i'll never be a people pleaser.
Thanks for the article.

November, 29 2015 at 4:14 pm

I quit being a people pleaser because all it did was feather their egos. Now I just be myself and talk to whoever wants to talk. The egoists can just talk to their buddies and pat themselves on their shoulders for how great they are. Not me. The simple life is the good life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fay Agathangelou
December, 1 2015 at 8:35 pm

Hi John, that's fantastic. I'm glad you quit being a people pleaser because it's an unhealthy way to be. It's definitely in your best interest to do what's right for you. Thanks for sharing that with us :)

November, 27 2015 at 9:49 am

Hi. I feel empowered now! I have to find myself again after more than 10 years of people pleasing but I'm excited to find what truly makes me laugh and happy again. I see how this empowerment will filter out alot of negative people from my life, that unfortunately we're only there for what I could do for them...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fay Agathangelou
December, 1 2015 at 8:30 pm

Hi Lacey, thanks for sharing your experience. It's wonderful that you're feeling empowered now and doing what makes you happy. I'm glad you've stopped being a people pleaser, that makes a huge difference. Good on you :)

September, 9 2015 at 7:11 am

Hi Fay, thanks for this article, it's great. I am a people-pleaser and taking action to come out of this self distractive and self-hurting behavior. You sound very confident in your video, thanks for your guidance.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fay Agathangelou
September, 10 2015 at 12:28 am

Hi Selene, thanks very much, glad you found the article useful. Good on you for taking action, I wish you all the best with it

Michael Zander
May, 22 2015 at 8:09 am

People-pleasers are vulnerable to other people, because they form a co-dependent relationship with others. People can take advantage of this trusting and needy relationship by abusing the person emotionally and physically. They may also manipulate you into doing things that are against the law or your best interest.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fay Agathangelou
May, 23 2015 at 2:52 am

Hi Michael,
Thanks for your comment. It can certainly be easy for others to take advantage of people-pleasers. It really highlights the importance of stopping the people-pleasing.

May, 18 2015 at 7:02 am

I just read this article and watched the video. I have discovered over the past year that I am a people pleaser and that my self esteem is probably the cause of it. I am vowing to stop trying to please others at my own expense. I have been trying over the past couple of months, to stop being used, and it's funny but I have gotten a couple of comments from people asking me if everything is okay... it seems like something is wrong...
I find it difficult to explain that I'm not trying to hurt you, but I need to take care of myself. These people have no idea that they are imposing, because I have never let them feel that way.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fay Agathangelou
May, 18 2015 at 5:29 pm

Hi Donna,
Thanks for sharing your experience. It's great that you're recognising people-pleasing and that you're taking action, good on you! It's understandable that other people would react to the change. That's to be expected and the challenge is how to handle it. When you're used to people-pleasing, you'll naturally be concerned about what others think. It's important to look after yourself and make changes that are good for you. People who genuinely care about you will want the best for you too. As with any change, it will take some getting used to.
Glad you're making the change and wishing you all the best with it :)

April, 30 2015 at 12:57 am

Great article Fay. I need to take notice of this as I can get a bit caught up being a people pleaser.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fay Agathangelou
April, 30 2015 at 1:21 am

Hi Julie,
Thanks very much for your comment and for sharing your experience. Glad you found the article useful :)

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