10 Signs Of A People Pleaser And It’s Draining Your Life

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“When you say yes to others, make sure you aren’t saying no to yourself.”- Paul Coelho. One of the obvious signs of a people pleaser is how often they tend to gloss over this statement.

Canceling your plans to meet up with the demands of friends, denying yourself certain privileges to make people around you feel better. The actions above seem like you are being kind and considerate, which is true.

However, when you consistently place the requests and demands of others before your needs, there is a high tendency that you are exhibiting the signs of a people pleaser.

People pleasing is accommodating the psychological needs of others even to the detriment of yours. A people pleaser feels the need to go all out on behalf of others while putting their needs aside.

Even when there might never be reciprocal actions from others, a people pleaser doesn’t mind placing themselves in harm’s way to assist people.

Therefore, when a person shows signs of a people pleaser, you will realize that their actions are performed in the hopes of receiving some form of acknowledgment from others.

Most times, the actions of a people pleaser are hardly reciprocated. Thus, they end up harboring feelings of bitterness, resentment, and sometimes hatred towards others.


Do People Pleasers Have Low Self-esteem?

A common question that mental health experts answer is, “Do people pleasers have low self-esteem?”
90% of people pleasers have low self-esteem.

They struggle with a sense of inadequacy and believe that their actions will provide them with feelings of satisfaction. The desire and eagerness to please most people stem from self-worth challenges.


Does Personality Type Relate To People-pleasing?

Sometimes because of how consistent it is for certain people to exhibit people-pleasing habits, many often ask about what personality types are more prone to pleasing people.

People pleasing is a habit that anyone can pick up, and it is usually a psychological response to traumatic occurrences in childhood.

This is why most people pleasers usually have a long history of mental health challenges ranging from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Although there are no specific personality types that are prone to people pleasing, it is clear that most have negative experiences or suffer relational trauma at a young age.

Since trauma can be a very influential factor in forming a person’s personality and behavioral pattern, it is not surprising that victims of such usually adapt to pleasing people as a coping strategy/mechanism.


Is Being A People Pleaser Bad?

We must tackle one crucial question: “Is being a people pleaser bad?” Being a people pleaser has a truckload of side effects that are not healthy for the mental health of anyone.

Apart from being emotionally burned out, people who show signs of a people pleaser don’t attend to their own needs because they invest most of their time, energy, and resources attending to the needs of others.

There is also a high chance that a people pleaser might struggle with feelings of inadequacy and a lack of fulfillment. Therefore, behaving like a people pleaser is unhealthy and will deprive you a lot.

Apart from the fact that others might take advantage of it, your self-worth is left at the mercy of the validation of the people around you. People pleasing is wrong and can potentially destroy a person’s self-image and mental stability.


10 Obvious Signs Of A People-Pleaser

Most people mistake the behaviors of a people pleaser as being kind, gracious, and benevolent. Most people who exhibit the signs of a people pleaser think they are being self-centered when they put themself first.

However, some behaviors separate the acts of being kind from being a people pleaser. Here are 10 simple behaviors that can help you or anyone else identify a people pleaser.


1.  Terrible Esteem/Poor Self-image

The urge or desire to please others stems from a need to be validated. A people pleaser feels that for their sense of worth to be strengthened, they must be approved by others.

And so, they depend on every compliment or praise from their colleagues to support their already fragile esteem. This makes them slaves to the desires of other people.

The efforts of a people pleaser are wired toward getting the necessary attention to fuel their self-esteem. Hence, when that validation is unavailable, they fall into a sad or depressive phase sponsored by a belief that they are not valuable or needed.

One of the many signs of a people pleaser is poor esteem. If you check properly, you will realize that people with such signs suffered some trauma due to emotional abuse from an authoritative figure in their childhood.

Children who are only commended or complimented when they meet the demands of their parents have higher chances of demonstrating people-pleasing syndrome.

Having terrible esteem indirectly means that a people pleaser also has little or no confidence in themselves or their abilities.

The poor esteem of a people pleaser runs in a cycle of trying to look good in front of others while disregarding your own opinion of who you are and what you can do.

To build a healthy self-esteem and gain back your self-worth, read about the checklist to build self-esteem here.


2.  A Constant Need For Validation

As a result of a poor sense of self-worth, people pleasers have to depend on the opinions of others to feel good about themselves.

For a people pleaser, the opinion of others holds more value than what they think of themselves. Hence, the need for validation is a response to the absence of self-worth and poor esteem.

Most people pleasers go as far as breaking their principles and going against their personal beliefs to fit in and to be accepted by others. People pleasers adjust their personality because they feel good about themselves only when the people around them applaud them.

Behaviors like this are a typical proof or one of the many signs of a people pleaser. One of the reasons why people pleasing is terrible is because it puts you in this position where accepting and seeing your opinions as necessary becomes difficult.

Instead of looking within for your validation, you look outward, making it difficult to believe in yourself and hold on to your convictions even when everyone disagrees with them.

If you notice that you depend on the words of others to accept your looks, ideas, or actions, there is a huge probability that you might be a chronic people pleaser.


3.  Poor Boundaries

signs of a people pleaser

Boundaries are decisions and life principles that we live by. They allow us to filter things, people, and occurrences concerning our needs and priorities. The proper boundaries are like massive walls around a powerful city.

They protect us and prevent us from being influenced easily by external factors. An example of how boundaries are helpful is choosing not to accept disrespect or asking others around you not to do certain things you are uncomfortable with.

For people pleasers, the case is different. Most people pleasers either do not have boundaries or struggle with sticking up to them.

Due to their internal need for validation, they feel that standing up for themselves might spark conflicts, allowing others to have their way.

The fear of being rejected or treated differently cripples them. So they allow things they are not happy with to happen simply for “peace to reign.”

This places them in a situation that makes it easy for others to prey on their low esteem, exploit them and use their resources in any way they want.

There are many signs of a people pleaser that can be identified. But one of the many that stand out is an inability to set and enforce boundaries no matter the odds and consequences.


4.  Apologizing For Things That They Aren’t Responsible For

Do you have a habit of saying “sorry” when things do not go as planned? Often, we fail to recognize that a subtle sign of people pleasers is offering an apology when things go wrong, even when they are not responsible for it.

One of the signs of a people pleaser is that you apologize for events or occurrences that aren’t your fault.

Actions like that are responsible for feelings of guilt simply because you feel responsible for the response and actions of others, including the ones that aren’t your concern.

People pleasers feel responsible for even things that are beyond their control. And so, when things fail or go south, they begin to apologize even when it isn’t their fault.

It is excellent to feel responsible for the things around you. It is even proof of competence that you experience a sense of accountability.

However, it becomes a problem when you begin to apologize for things that are beyond your reach to control.


5.  You Agree With Everything Or Everyone

Understanding what causes people pleasing is one of the first ways to recognize it when it manifests. You see, since most people pleaser struggle with esteem or self-worth issues, it means that they find it difficult to value their perspective of life.

They fear the reality of being confronted or disagreed with, which places them in a mental position that makes them remember the opinions of others above theirs.

One of many signs of a people pleaser is a consistent habit of agreeing with everyone and everything.

Even when it is contrary to their beliefs and principles, they feel obligated to accept and live by the opinions and expectations of others for fear of being alienated or treated differently from their peers and colleagues.

Their need primarily sponsors such behavior for validation and societal acceptance. But, unknown to most people pleasers, living by the opinions of the people around you causes you to evolve into something you are not.

It’s like being in a cage. You become influenced to think, do or say things that you are uncomfortable with simply because you do not seem to have the guts to rebel against them.

Doing so deprives the ordinary people pleaser of enjoying the liberty or freedom that comes with being themselves and living a life that is not influenced by what others think.

Does the above description sound or look familiar? If it does, chances are that you have either met a people pleaser or are one.

6.  Have A Problem Saying “No”

People pleasers have a problem with the word “No.” Probably because of fear or other reasons, they avoid it as much as possible.

Most people pleasers were raised in an environment or home that was like a war zone. Hence, their mind has been configured to see conflict as destructive.

Statements like “I just want peace” or “I don’t want any trouble” are prevalent words you will hear from a people pleaser. Just like the previous points pointed out, people pleasers live a life that is sponsored majorly by fear.

That fear and lack of inner peace and confidence drive them from seeking their validation from external factors. Knowing how strong that validation is to their perceived self-worth, they become reluctant to say no or disagree with the people around them.

Many people pleasers agree to do or say things they do not like because they are afraid of conflicts. Even if they do not like what is being said or done around them, they agree to it under the excuse of letting things roll off their back.

The product of such an approach is feelings of resentment or hurt towards the involved parties without any form of verbal or physical expression.

Among the signs of a people pleaser, the inability or reluctance to say “no” or disagree with people is an obvious sign that can be used to identify a people pleaser.


7.  Anxiety And Mental Health Challenges

Since most people pleasers are victims of low self-esteem, it isn’t surprising to know that they might also struggle with other mental health problems.

People pleasers usually look down on themselves and criticize everything about themselves, from the clothes they wear to the little mistakes they make. Thus, they end up feeling inferior even when they do not have any reason to.

As a result, a people pleaser is constantly torn between being the person others want and the person they want to be.

Trying to fit into other people’s demands and being unable to meet up with yours can mentally put a person in the wrong place. The habit of pleasing people comes with an emotional or mental cost.

One, which most times can be pretty challenging to meet. This is one of the reasons why it seems like people pleasers are usually unhappy or in situations that affect their mental health negatively.

Such leads them into resentment, hatred, and anger, which can, in turn, sponsor aggressive actions or a psychological breakdown.

The expectations to live or behave in a particular way can trigger mental health challenges such as stress, depression, or stress which are common signs of a people pleaser.


8.  You Don’t Talk About Your Feelings

A typical people pleaser does not like to talk about their feelings. They are more comfortable with bottling up their emotions. People pleasers have extremely sensitive feelings and find it difficult to express themselves.

They fear that they might be stigmatized, mocked, or misunderstood by those around them. So, instead of saying what they think, they prefer to keep quiet.

A person who exhibits signs of a people pleaser will do anything to avoid a conversation that involves them expressing their emotions or feelings.

They do not mind helping others deal with emotional challenges, but when it comes to theirs, they do not give room to it.

They wonder how people will react when they express anger, hurt, and disappointment and how they might upset those around them when they talk about their feelings.

Part of why most people-pleasers refuse to let people know when they experience feelings of sadness or embarrassment is their struggles with low self-worth and how to see themselves.

Because of how difficult for them to appreciate, love, and value themselves, people-pleasers believe that expressing themselves is not a worthy cause.

They do not want to bother anyone with their challenges. Unfortunately, this does not only affect their relationships with people but also makes it difficult for others to connect with them on a deeper level.


9.  Insecurity And Perfectionism Tendencies

Amongst the many signs of a people pleaser, the struggle with insecurities is a predominant factor usually found in most people pleasers.

Due to trauma or negative occurrences in the past, most people who exhibit signs of a people pleaser have deep-seated insecurities that make them paranoid and sensitive.

As a result, they are easily hurt and affected by statements and words even if there are no malicious statements behind them.

There is also a slight possibility that people pleasers might be perfectionists. Because they were obsessed with getting everything right and in order, people pleasers often put aside their goals and plans to keep up with a perfectionist streak.


10.  Fear Of Rejection/Confrontations

The fear of rejection and confrontation is another reason why people pleasers exist. People pleasers love to feel among others as it helps their sense of esteem.

The desire to be appreciated and accepted by those they look up to pushes them to change their personality and looks to avoid rejection.

Within every people-pleaser is a child who was never exposed to enough love and appreciation from immediate family and neighbors. The kind actions of a people pleaser are just attempting to keep that fear of being rejected hidden and suppressed.

Most people who show signs of a people pleaser lived as children in homes where parents and siblings were distant and did not communicate often.

There was no emotional attachment of any sort, and all or most attempts to create one were met with rejection. Thus, they grow up with those scars, leaving resentment, bitterness, and hatred within them.

Such makes it difficult for them to open up to the possibilities of beautiful and new relationships. Hence, they are prone to withdraw from others and do things to please them to prevent being labeled selfish or rejected.

This makes them back down and agree even when the other person is wrong. The fear of being rejected sponsors another habit of people leaders; avoiding confrontations.

People pleasers avoid conflicts like the plague and will do everything in their power to not find themselves in one. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that healthy relationships aren’t without disagreements.



People pleasing is an unhealthy trait or behavior, and being a people pleaser will come with a truckload of adverse effects.

People pleasing will leave you as a resentful person full of hate and anger towards the people around you for taking advantage of you.

It will also make it difficult for you to truly love yourself because your doubts, insecurities, and poor self-image will only worsen.

It can also place you in a position where you constantly need to prioritize the needs of others, thus wrecking your mental and psychological health.

It makes you constantly question your self-worth and makes your happiness and satisfaction in life depend on the validation and response of others.

As a result, feelings of stress and anxiety become a daily struggle, and you gradually lose your peace and fulfillment. If you are a people pleaser, you should consider working on yourself until you outgrow the behavior.

You can start by reading articles like how to stop being a people pleaser here and take control of your life to begin your journey into freedom. No matter how difficult it might seem, you can stop being a people-pleaser.

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Author: Afam Uche

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