20 Signs You’re a People Pleaser But Don’t Really Know It

Wanting to be liked by the people around you is normal and is part of human nature. However, too much of anything can be detrimental to you and your well-being. When you live your life constantly trying to gain approval from others—to the point that you forget to prioritize yourself—you may be walking on a thin line toward people pleasing. This can be draining and impact you negatively, so to help you assess whether you need to rethink your priorities, we’ve compiled the top 20 signs indicating whether you’re a people pleaser or not!

You Find It Hard to Set and Maintain Boundaries

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Boundaries exist to help you, as a person, have control over your time, space, and self. When these crumble and you let others cross your boundaries, it’s as if you’re letting them step all over the limitations you’ve set to preserve your well-being. This will then drain you and burn you out. Sadly, people pleasers find it difficult to be firm when maintaining boundaries because they don’t want to disappoint others.

You’re Afraid to Disagree with Others

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If you’re a people pleaser, then you aim to please. Therefore, for you, disagreeing with what others say can seem like you’re going against them and fighting them. In many ways, this can feel disheartening and scary for a people pleaser.

You Have a Low Opinion of Yourself

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People pleasers give and give and give, and they rarely receive. They put others before themselves just for the sake of their approval. Erika Myers, a therapist from Oregon, was quoted by Healthline, saying, “People pleasers often deal with low self-esteem and draw their self-worth from the approval of others. ‘I am only worthy of love if I give everything to someone else’ is one common belief associated with people pleasing.”

You Fear Being Authentic and True to Yourself

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People pleasers often struggle with authenticity because they feel they have to act in a particular way to get validation from others. When this goes on for long periods, a people pleaser may get disconnected from their true sense of self, leaving them unable to become authentic. Aside from this, people pleasers are afraid of rejection and criticism, and they believe exposing who they truly are to others will only lead to disappointment.

You Avoid Confrontation and Conflict

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People pleasing doesn’t happen overnight. It’s driven by a strong desire to avoid conflict and rejection. People pleasers believe their relationships will crumble if they encounter friction with any community member.

You Feel Like You Have to Be Responsible for Others’ Feelings

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If you’ve been brought up in a negative space, it’s easy to foster thoughts of self-blame when confronted with other people’s negative emotions. When they get angry or frustrated, it could be easy for you to ask if it’s your fault or if you could have changed the outcome. This is a marker of people pleasing. After all, though a person can influence other people’s emotions, at the end of the day, they shouldn’t take responsibility for it.

You Apologize Even When You Aren’t to Blame

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Similar to taking responsibility for other people’s feelings, people pleasers also tend to apologize and take the blame when something goes wrong—even if it clearly wasn’t their fault. This is because they feel anxious about being judged or getting into a fight with other people. Thrive Global states, “A person who is a pleaser will always be remorseful and will take the blame for others.”

You Have an Intense Need for Others to Like You

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This is one of the main giveaways that show that you’re a people pleaser. If you have that intense need to be liked by others and feel like you’re not successful if you aren’t, then you’d better start rethinking your priorities. You might begin to lose sight of yourself and slowly become someone who lives for others.

Your Personality Changes Based on Who You’re With

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People pleasing is fueled by an intense desire to be liked by others. So, if you’re a people pleaser, you change your attitude and personality depending on who you’re with, so you’ll be liked. This mainly shows if you have different groups of friends with different likes, traits, and more.

You Feel Resentful

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When you’re a people pleaser, you’re considered a “yes person.” This is someone who struggles to go against others just to make them happy. However, constantly agreeing with others can make you feel emotionally and physically burned out. This will later lead to resentment—both toward yourself and other people.

You Need Praise to Feel Good

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People pleasers thrive on others’ praise. However, while you constantly sacrifice yourself for others’ benefit, remember you’re also draining yourself. The Counselling Directory notes, “People pleasing may initially bring positive outcomes such as praise and acceptance, but over time, it can have negative effects on individuals and their relationships.”

You Always Feel Anxious

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It’s hard to live constantly pleasing others. You’ll never be able to relax because you always have to stay on guard. You question every little thing, afraid it will negatively impact your relationships with others.

You’re a High Achiever and a Perfectionist

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People pleasers aim high because they feel they will never measure up to others. They feel as if their best isn’t good enough, and so they need to do more to improve and become perfect.

You Agree Even When You Really Don’t Want To

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When you’re a people pleaser, you fear that others will not accept you for who you are. So, no matter what other people say, you agree quickly, even if you feel or think differently. People pleasers usually say, “You’re right,” or, “What a great idea,” although they might have a completely different thought process or opinion.

You Don’t Have Meaningful and Genuine Relationships

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Genuine, authentic relationships thrive on one’s sense of worth and ability to be true to themselves and their partners. So, as a people pleaser who fakes what they think and feel, finding a relationship that truly resonates with you could be tricky. VICE quoted Yuri Ohlrichs, a sexologist, saying, “Relationships—whether long or short—often display this imbalance, where one person adapts more to the other.” When this imbalance persists, the person who is adapting more to the other can become exhausted or resentful.

You Never Have Time for Yourself

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This is a normal thing for people pleasers to experience. After all, they spend every waking moment trying to satisfy those around them, leaving them with no time for themselves. You don’t have boundaries, so you let others take up all your time.

You Are Hesitant About Sharing Your Feelings With Others

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People pleasers fear being honest with others about their feelings will lead to ridicule, rejection, and criticism. They are also reluctant to do so because they feel their feelings don’t matter to others. Instead, they believe what they think or feel is more important than theirs.

You Act Like the People Around You

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People pleasing makes people adapt to those around them because of their fear of conflict and rejection. Psych Central explains, “People pleasers may have challenges distinguishing their likes, dislikes, and hobbies from others.”

You Don’t Want to Be Labeled as Someone Selfish

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For people pleasers, simply having an opinion can be deemed selfish. When you say what you need and do what you want, there’s that nagging fear that you’re driving others away because of your selfishness. Acceptance is the main thing that matters to people pleasers, and to gain the acceptance they need, they’re willing to sacrifice everything they have just so they’re not labeled selfish.

You Feel Like You Need to Be Nice All the Time

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Everyone on this planet goes through good and bad days. However, people pleasers typically try their best not to let anything negative about them show. They feel pressured to be nice all the time because they believe they’ll lose friends and relationships the moment they show any form of disagreement toward them—even if it means sacrificing their emotional well-being.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.