Tough Stuff

How to stop being a people pleaser

Most of us would do literally *anything* to make the people we love smile. But when does niceness become a negative?

Maybe you agreed to see the latest horror flick with your besties even though you secretly hate scary movies (tbh, you might have to break out your old nightlight again). Or you spent all night helping your little brother write an English essay when you really needed to run your lines for the next day's school musical auditions.

No matter the situation, when you constantly put aside what you want to prioritize everyone else instead, it causes *your* happiness to suffer. If any of this sounds like you, then you might be a people pleaser. And while it can be super tough to ditch people pleasing altogether, we're here to help you stop it—and start celebrating your awesome self. 

Wait—am I a people pleaser?

So: How do you know the difference between being easygoing and putting other people's needs before your own? Some common signs of being a people pleaser include apologizing *a lot* (even for things that aren't your fault!), finding it extra difficult to say "no" or set your own boundaries, agreeing with everyone, caring too much about what other people think and struggling with low self-esteem. These types of behaviors can not only cause you tons of tension and stress—they might also affect your ability to be 100% yourself around others. Ofc, this habit is a tough one to kick, but our tried-and-true tips are a great place to start.

Take small steps

You can't totally change things overnight, but don't be afraid to start small. If your friends really want to see that horror movie, maybe this time you'll tell them that it's not really your thing. And if they want to catch the new comedy? You're def up for it. If you need to have a more difficult conversation with someone and find yourself worrying about forgetting all of the points you want to make, create a mini "script" of what you want to say (or talk about how you're feeling with someone you trust beforehand). You can still advocate for yourself even when you don't always feel ready to.  

Set your own boundaries

If you do agree to help out with something, it's OK to set boundaries and limits for yourself. If Friday rolls around and you're totally exhausted after a busy week—but your BFF wants you to sleep over—you might decide to have an early night and invite her over for your mom's famous pancakes on Saturday morning instead. If your cousin is learning how to drive and needs you to help her practice, stick to a certain timeframe and then tackle your pile of homework straight afterward. It's awesome to show up for the people you care about, but it's key to take time for yourself too. All you need is a good balance—and building boundaries is the way to get there. Need more advice on setting boundaries? Check out this article! 

Practice positive self-talk

At the end of the day, *you* are your own best friend—so you should truly treat yourself like one. This can be especially hard if you're used to focusing on those around you and forgetting to pay attention to your own inner voice, but now's the time to start listening to it. It might sound silly at first, but telling yourself things like "My self-worth doesn't depend on what others think of me," "I don't need to apologize, that wasn't my fault" or "It's OK to say no more often" can eventually help you believe them and trust that you know what's best for yourself.

Remember that you can't please everyone

It's pretty much impossible to make everyone happy—even when you really, really want to. No matter how hard you try, there will probably be people who won't fully accept you for who you are or appreciate the good things you do. Ofc, that's not in your control. You aren't responsible for how other people behave and feel, but you *do* have power over your own actions and emotions. And when it comes down to it, that's all you really need in order to become the best possible version of yourself. Prioritizing your opinions and instincts and surrounding yourself with people who lift you up instead of bring you down can help you recognize your own worth. Poof! People pleaser no more. 

If you liked this article, check out these posts:
🌻 How to deal with rejection
🌻 How to ask your strict parents for more freedom
🌻 How to know when it's time to quit 

When was a time that you put yourself first? Tell us on Twitter @girlslifemag!



by Samara Smukler | 11/10/2022