5 Quick and Easy Ways to Stop Being a People-Pleaser


Are you a people-pleaser? Wanting other people to be happy is not a bad characteristic. It’s the sign of a highly moral and compassionate person. 

The problem occurs when you put everyone else’s needs before your own. That’s not healthy.

 It’s common to want everyone else to like you, but being a people-pleaser is not the way to do this. The other extreme is narcissism, and that’s not a good choice, either. 

Instead, you need to find a healthy balance between being considerate of others and making sure your own needs are met. It sounds like common sense, but it can be hard to set boundaries. 

You can do it, though! Follow these steps to stop being a people-pleaser and start living a healthier, happier life!

1. Look at the Effects on You 

The first step is to really look at your life. Are you running around trying to keep everyone else happy while your own feelings suffer? 

Is the stress of trying to squeeze all of your tasks into the day keeping you up at night? Trying to do everything for everyone can cause you to run yourself ragged if you’re not careful. 

In the meantime, ask yourself:

Who is trying to please you? Are you the one caring for everyone else while no one takes care of you? If so, it’s time to reevaluate that system, for sure.

Being a people-pleaser can be exhausting, with little benefits for you. You’ll quickly feel better as you eliminate those tasks you really don’t want to do. You can do this by setting boundaries for yourself.

Think about the places in your life that you get the least satisfaction for the most work. Where do you need to set boundaries to limit the physical and mental effect it’s having on your health?

2. Pay Attention to Who Deserves Your Time 

Everyone will be attracted to your energy, but not all of those individuals are deserving of it. You’ll quickly learn who is and who isn’t as you start saying no and setting boundaries.

Some people will still like you even if you’re not always trying to please them. Those are your true friends. They are the ones that you can bend a little for when they really need you. But you can turn to them for help, too.

Others will try to manipulate you as you set and enact your boundaries. They are the ones who weren’t worth your effort and energy in the first place. Let them walk away. It may be hard to see them go at first, but it won’t take long for you to find peace in their absence.

3. Learn the Difference Between Pleasing Others and Doing Good 

Being kind naturally makes us feel good about ourselves. But there’s a difference between doing good deeds and trying to please others.

We are taught young to be ‘be nice.’ Nice, however, does not mean being a doormat. 

What we really are supposed to do is to be kind. Kind means using manners and compassion towards others. It does not mean always trying to please them.

Kindness shows up in acts of service, such as volunteering to pick up someone’s kids when they are struggling to get there in time. Acts of service will always have a double benefit on you and the receiver. They won’t make you feel drained or unappreciated.

On the other hand, pleasing others with no benefit to you is a toxic act. If it doesn’t make you feel good about doing it or it’s not crucial to someone’s health, don’t do it. 

4. Put Your Self-Care First

You don’t have to head out for a spa day every week or become a “me first” narcissist. But you do have to prioritize your own sanity.

Even on airlines, they teach you that you must put on your own mask before that of your loved ones. You can’t take care of them if you’re unable to breathe.

Take some time each day to do something that rejuvenates your mind. Take up a hobby with your new, boundary-enforced time. Get to know what you like to do, instead of what others like for you to do.

Make time for your wellness, too. Plan meals that let you eat healthily. Insert time in your schedule to exercise regularly. Take walks and embrace nature. 

You’ll notice quickly that taking care of yourself lets you take care of others. These activities that, at first, make you feel guilty or annoyed will, over time, be as important to you as eating.

5. Build Coping Strategies That Work For You

One of the reasons we fall into people-pleasing mode is that there is something in our lives we have to deal with but would rather ignore. 

Sometimes this problem is obvious, like financial difficulties or an unhappy home environment. Other times, you might not even know what it is until you make the time to slow down.

Dealing with problems that come hand-in-hand with difficult emotions is never fun. But working through them by using coping strategies will help you recover from being a people-pleaser and the other negative results of your issues.

With coping strategies, you can navigate through your complex emotions. Everyone’s strategy is different, but there are many avenues you can attempt until you find what works for you!

Journaling, counseling, or regular talks with a close friend may be just what you need. These activities allow you to learn where you’re missing boundaries and how to set and keep them.


No matter how long you’ve been the people-pleaser of your family or social group, you can stop it. Hoping for others to change is a surefire way to be disappointed. 

Instead, you can stand up for yourself and live a more enjoyable, healthy life by taking these steps to stop the people-pleasing routine you’ve gotten used to.

About the Author

Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the conventional housing industry and works with The Ruckus on a daily basis to help them with their marketing efforts.

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