Are You a People Pleaser?

People pleasers are more interested in pleasing others than in taking care of their own needs and concerns. They usually say ‘yes’ when they really mean ‘no’, because they’re afraid of letting others down or upsetting them.

Plenty of guys that I talk with fall into this category of people pleasers. They’re the ones that usually are so attentive to the needs of others, most especially intimate partners, that they neglect themselves. People pleasers who spend their time and energy trying to make others happy – to the detriment of their own happiness – are on a crash course for unhappiness.

People pleasers usually end up stuffing their anger, or intermittently exploding on others, or both. Anger and frustration builds up, and, over time, it needs an outlet. It usually comes out periodically, when it should have a ongoing release valve in the form of good communication with others.

Learning to say ‘no’ is essential for people pleasers. This is the hardest part. Saying ‘no’, for people pleasers, risks a rejection by others who people pleasers think don’t want to hear their ‘no’. It’s a risk. In the mind of the people pleaser, it can be terrifying to say ‘no’. But, like many other things, the reality is often quite different from our fantasy. Usually, people can accept the ‘no’ you give them, once you summon the courage up to finally spit it out.

Here are some more tips to stop people pleasing:

  1. Draw a line in the sand: Develop healthy boundaries, and learn what you will do, and what you won’t. Assert those boundaries without compromise.
  2. Spend less time with people who drain you: “Takers” are attracted to “people pleasers”, and vice versa. Part of recovery from people pleasing is renegotiating friendships that function on you giving and them taking. Relationships need to be about mutual giving and receiving, and if you feel like it’s only one way (going their way!), it may be time to drop the friendship or spend less time with them. Why hang out with takers or energy vampires anyways?
  3. Learn what you want: So you can be firm with others and take a stand to get what you want.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’: You probably won’t lose friends if you try, and if you do, don’t worry – see Tip #2.
  5. Communicate more effectively: You don’t need to get angry to communicate to others what you want or don’t want.
  6. Know this cycle can be broken: It’ll take time, effort, and a commitment to doing things differently from now on, but it’s changeable.

We learn how to people please at an early age, and just because we’ve been dealing with this for most of our lives, it certainly doesn’t mean we have to continue to. There is help, and recovery is possible. I know. I used to be a people pleaser, and not doing it is a hell of a lot better.



About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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