You laugh even when you don’t get the joke
Do you laugh when others do? That’s fine if you’re laughing because you get the joke. On the other hand, if the humor has passed you by, perhaps you’re laughing just to go along with the crowd. After all, it can feel vulnerable to be the only one not chortling.
You go to every party you’re invited to
Everyone likes a party, don’t they? Actually, not necessarily! It’s a rare kind of person who’d enjoy any type of party with any group of people. Accepting invitations to parties you don’t really want to attend is a classic sign of not wanting to feel like you’ve let someone else down.
Your opinions depend on what others think
Part of becoming an adult ought to be learning to have – and to stand up for – your own opinions. Whether it’s politics, fashion, music or even where to go on vacation, you’re sure to run up against those who disagree with you. If you reshape your preferences and opinions to fit those of others, perhaps you’re too much of a people pleaser.
You ditch your own values to fit in with other people
Perhaps you’re not much of a drinker and you’d really prefer to spend your evening watching a movie or trying out a new restaurant. However, when your friends suggest a bar crawl, you fall in with their suggestion so as not to feel left out or to ask them to alter their plans to accommodate you.
You pretend to be interested even when you’re bored
Feigning interest in something that bores you is quite a skill. At times, it can also be a valuable one. Make a habit of it, however, and it could be time to think about who you’re spending time with, why, and what you’re getting out of it.
You feel responsible for keeping other people happy
No one likes to see someone else being sad or miserable. However, everyone is entitled to their emotions and it’s not your job to assume total responsibility for other people’s happiness. Of course, you’ll almost certainly do what you can but there’s a point at which the buck stops with them.
You apologize for the smallest things
Apologizing because you’ve been rude to someone is one thing. Apologizing because your plane is late or you’ve cooked a meal that’s your favorite, not your partner’s, is another. The first example is you expressing regret for a poor decision. The second examples are you taking unnecessary responsibility for something that either wasn’t your fault or that was a choice you were entitled to make.
You worry when others are cross with you
If you find yourself bubbling over with anxiety because someone else is mad with you, ask yourself if your reaction is proportionate. Whether it’s justified or not, most people get cross with others some of the time. Learning to ride that out is part of learning not to be a people pleaser.
You offer to help even when it inconveniences you
Do you jump in with offers of assistance when a friend is moving house, your neighbor wants you to water their plants for a week, or your sister needs someone to help paint her house? It’s nice to help where you can but, if it means completely rearranging your schedule or exhausting yourself, perhaps you should think twice.
You never say “no”
The ultimate giveaway of a people pleaser is perhaps the person who never says “no”. If, no matter what you’re asked, you always say “yes”, ask yourself why you’re so agreeable. Do you genuinely want to do whatever you’re asked or are you worried that people will stop asking you at all if you reply with the occasional “no, thanks.”
You take on extra work
Are you a workplace people pleaser? You might be if you volunteer for a heavier workload when you’re already busy. And, while your motives might be entirely honorable, your co-workers might not see it that way. To them, it might seem as if you’re currying favor from the boss to try and advance your own career.
You say you like something when you don’t
Perhaps it’s your sister’s new sweater or your friend’s haircut. Worse still, it might be the earrings your husband bought you for your birthday. Whatever it is, if someone else has chosen it, you’ll say you like it even if you don’t. After all, you can’t possibly hurt their feelings by telling them the truth.
You need other people to like you
If your self-esteem hinges on other people’s opinions, you could be a people pleaser. Worrying about what others really think about you may mean you over-focus on coming up with strategies to avoid rejection. Ask yourself, however, why it matters if a co-worker doesn’t like your new lipstick color or your mother criticizes how you raise your kids?
The saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person” could have been written for you. Or could it? Do you say “yes” to so many things that either you can’t get them all done or fulfilling your commitments leaves you exhausted? Either way, it could mean you’re a people pleaser.
You don’t advocate for your own needs
Do you say you’re fine even when you’re not? And if you need help, will you ask for it? Perhaps you think not asking for help is a testament to your coping abilities – and maybe this is true. However, it’s also a possible sign that you are a people pleaser at the expense of your own needs.
You wear something just because it’s fashionable
There’s a difference between fashion and style. Sometimes it’s possible to be both fashionable and stylish. Much of the time, however, it is not. If you pick your clothes simply because you’ve seen them on an influencer’s blog, you could be in danger of wearing something just because you think your choice will please someone else.
You have no free time
Are you busy, busy, busy? And, what’s more, is your time filled with doing things for other people? Sometimes this is inevitable, especially if you have kids or other caring responsibilities. However, everyone needs some time for themselves. Not having any free time could suggest you lean too heavily towards pleasing others at the expense of your own wellbeing.
Arguments really upset you
It’s natural to find arguments upsetting. Likewise, it’s natural to avoid them where possible and to try to smooth them over where they do occur. However, if you stew about them, brood on them and would do anything to avoid them, you might be less of a peacemaker and more of a people pleaser.
People take advantage of you
If you’re the sort of person who never says no, you’re probably at risk from others steamrollering over you. They might not do this consciously and you might not mind helping them out. However, whatever the motivations, the underlying reason could be the same: you’re a people pleaser.
You’re burned out
Do you feel overwhelmed, tired, alone and cynical? If so, you could be suffering from burnout. This is a condition recognised by mental health professionals but not always easy to spot in oneself. It has a number of possible causes but one relates to the demands a people pleaser places on themselves.
You have insomnia
Insomnia has many possible causes. Most people tackle the symptoms – the inability to fall asleep, the poor quality sleep and so. However, dealing with the root cause can be far more effective. One possible cause is worrying about other people and sometimes that worry can stem from a tendency towards people pleasing.
Family and friends are frustrated with you
It’s not always easy to identify problems in ourselves. Sometimes others are quicker to spot them. If your family and friends are frustrated with you, one of the possible reasons could be that they see your tendency to focus on pleasing others at the expense of yourself.
You fear rejection
Few people are naturally well equipped for rejection. However, with life experience, it usually gets easier to manage. If you continue to struggle with the idea of rejection, it might not be because you lack the tools to deal with it. Instead, it could be to do with why you fear rejection – and this might be because, at heart, you are a people pleaser.
You have experienced trauma
Whatever its cause, trauma can have lifelong consequences. Recognizing this is usually the first step towards dealing with it – and starting to heal. Part of this process will inevitably include examining how your trauma plays out in your daily life. Excessive people pleasing is a common manifestation of trauma. As with other consequences of trauma, seeking help from a mental health professional can be useful.
You can’t put yourself first
Not putting yourself first is something many of us learn as a child. It’s a form of social conditioning that is deeply entrenched. Left unchecked, it can result in a person who doesn’t value their own needs or wishes. Instead, they may seek validation from others and, though it might horrify the individual concerned, this is a form of people pleasing.
You won’t see a therapist
Accepting we need help is a difficult step for many of us to take. Although you might recognize that certain elements of your behavior or thinking are unorthodox, it’s still a big jump to move on to acknowledging that you need professional help. This could be because some issues, like being a people pleaser, are not necessarily seen as problematic – at least at first.
You have no “me time”
Do you have a hobby that you have no time for? Friends that you never see? Are your luxury bath pearls unused because you always take a quick shower instead of a long bath? If you recognize yourself in this, do you know why this is? One possible answer is that you give too much time to pleasing other people.
You mimic those around you
If you’ve ever realized that you’ve adopted the accent of the person on the other end of the telephone, you could be a people pleaser. This is a form of flattery that may stem from an unconscious wish either to make someone else feel more comfortable with you. It could also be because you believe they’ll like you more if you adopt some of their traits.
You feel flattened by your commitments
Are you always at the bottom of the mountain of your commitments? Worse, do you feel as if, at any moment, those commitments are going to slide down on top of you? This may well not be because you are an ineffectual person who can’t do anything right. Instead, it could be because you are a people pleaser, who has taken on too much.
You fantasise about being ill
You don’t necessarily have undiagnosed Munchausen’s Syndrome just because the idea of being laid up in bed for a few days, waited on hand and foot by others, sounds appealing. Your fantasy could have more to do with the emotional and physical effort of tailoring everything you do towards pleasing others.
You depend on praise
Most of us enjoy praise some of the time. However, some people have gone far beyond appreciating genuinely deserved praise. Instead, they crave and depend on praise to validate who they are, what they do and what they’re worth in the eyes of others. Once again, this can stem from people pleasing.
You won’t admit to hurt feelings
Do you feel as if you’re not entitled to have hurt feelings? If you recognize yourself here, perhaps you’ve already gone a step further and won’t ever admit to the fact that your feelings are hurt. More particularly, you might struggle with telling those responsible for hurting your feelings because, deep down, you are a people pleaser.
Your boss’s mood defines your day
Even with the most enlightened boss, it’s inevitable that their mood will, to some extent, affect you. However, if it completely defines your day, it’s worth checking to see whether they are, in fact, a psychopath. Assuming they’re not, perhaps you’ve slipped in sycophancy and are devoting too much energy to second-guessing what they want. This is people pleasing in the workplace.
Your children rule the roost
The days of children being seen and not heard are long behind us. Nowadays, many of them are more like little kings and queens, with their parents fulfilling the role of their abject subjects. If you indulge your child’s every whim, are you letting them rule the roost? Are you a people pleaser, at least where they’re concerned?
You’re on every committee
We all know someone like this: an individual who’s on every committee and every community working group. They volunteer for even the most unpleasant tasks, and they probably do them very well indeed. If this is you, perhaps your motives are your sense of civic responsibility. However, have you ever asked yourself if you might also be a bit of a people pleaser?
You can’t delegate
You might think no one can do things as well as you. You might also think it’s not fair to ask someone else to do something that you can do, especially if the task in question is unpleasant. Finding delegation hard, no matter what your motives, is a possible sign that you’re a people pleaser.
You have no boundaries
Knowing when to say “no” and why you might need to do so is an essential life skill. So too is knowing when you need to step back and let others take over. If you find these things difficult, you might be a people pleaser who has problems enforcing appropriate personal boundaries.
You are a social over-thinker
There’s a difference between wanting everyone to have a good time at a party or event you’re hosting and going all out to ensure that this happens. Ultimately, you’re not responsible for other people’s happiness. Giving yourself that responsibility makes you a social over-thinker and, just possibly, a people pleaser.
You crave “likes” on social media
Are you one of those people who tots up “likes” on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok? If your pictures or videos don’t attract enough attention, do you worry that there’s something wrong with you? Do you worry that your friends and followers are slipping away from you? If so, perhaps you are a people pleaser.
You think other people are selfish
If you’re a people pleaser you’re more apt to regard other people as selfish. In reality, they almost certainly just maintain better personal boundaries than you do. Looking upon others as selfish is a quick route to resentment, which can lead you towards feeling more put-upon than ever.