As you’re reading this you probably think you’re a people pleaser. If so, then you are one of the nicest and most helpful people around. People count on you to help out at work and with family and friends.
But … it can be a very unhealthy pattern of behaviour.
From my research and from the work I do with my clients. I’ve identified 3 common signs that a people pleaser might recognise.
- You agree to everything people ask of you as you don’t want to upset them or appear unthoughtful
- You’re anxious to say the ‘right’ thing in case you are wrong or judged negatively
- People take advantage of your kind nature and you feel resentful, but you don’t speak up
If you recognise these signs then you’re probably looking for outside validation. Your sense of security and self-confidence are based on getting approval from others
You fear that you’ll be thought of as selfish, uncaring or lazy, if you don’t help others. But trying to be indispensable, reliable and even Superwomen creates a habit of saying yes.
Pleasing people can really affect your mental health. You might end up stressed and overloaded, which, can affect your sleep, make you anxious and physically ill.
What can you do to prevent yourself from reaching that stage?
Here are my top strategies:
- You Have A Choice – people pleasers are so ingrained in the habit that they may not realise that NO is an option. Remind yourself regularly that no one has the right to make you say YES (not even your boss!)
- Pause – Get into the habit of pausing before you react to a request. You could say “I’ll need to think it over and check my diary” or at least have a moment to check in with yourself as to whether the request is fair or doable
- Practice Saying No – when you say no it can feel uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. Try these tips:
- Start with saying thank you that they thought of you or asked you. This softens your No
- Say why you’re saying No, but keep it concise and you don’t need to apologise
- Add how you feel as it can help with understanding and make it harder to argue with e.g. I’m feeling overwhelmed or unwell
- Make a suggestion as to who or what else they could try
- Respect Your Boundaries – Work out what boundaries are important to you and stick to them e.g. Working hours, family time at the weekend, number or networking events, socialising once during the week
- If You Say Yes Have Limits – decide if there is a certain amount of time, money or effort you’re prepared to commit? Or will you have to rearrange other priorities or commitments?
- Don’t Be Taken In By Flattery – lines such as “you’re so much better at understanding this than me and you’ll do it quickly” or “the report you did last time was so helpful”. Are manipulative, so check in with yourself before you agree
- Don’t Feel Guilty – when you change behaviour, especially one related to other’s opinion it can feel really uncomfortable. Remember, that you’re respecting your time and needs which is not selfish or self-centred
Think about what plans you have this week at work or at home. Can you identify any that you are doing to please others?
If so, reflect on whether it’s something you’ve chosen to do or something you’ve agreed to do to avoid saying no.
Being aware of when you’re pleasing others is the first step towards changing your habit.
If you’d like help in overcoming your people pleasing behaviour then book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com