People Pleaser: Definition, Signs, & How to Stop

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Sarvika Aggarwal

04 March 2024

6 Mins

People pleaser is not a medical condition or a severe psychological thing, but a simple label people have given to describe a phenomenon that shows a person’s personality trait. Basically, a people pleaser personality is when an individual is keen on pleasing the wants of others at the expense of their own wants and needs.

Such people have a tendency to agree on doing things despite not wanting to do them. If not looked at at the right time, this trait can manifest into something big and can come between a person’s personal and professional lives.

So let’s see people pleaser meaning, how to identify them, and ways to get rid of them through this blog.

What Is a People Pleaser?

People pleaser is not a clinical term but something that defines a person’s way of behaving when around others, which is mostly to get their validation and be accepted even if doing something makes them uncomfortable or not themselves.

People pleaser definition mostly comes from how the adult or child was groomed in their earlier stages of life and what kind of upbringing they had. If they didn’t get proper attention and were always in a constant act of wanting their parent’s approval yet never got it, it can lead to people pleasing tendencies.

Let’s understand what people pleasing signs one must be aware of.

15 Signs You’re a People Pleaser

Here are 15 signs to recognise a people pleaser:

  1. They find it hard to say no
  2. They take on extra work or responsibilities even if they do not have the time
  3. They tend to overcommit or overdeliver
  4. They go along with other people’s opinions instead of voicing their own
  5. Anxious about disappointing others
  6. Giving more importance to other people’s needs and wants
  7. Being friendly and sociable in pressure
  8. Guilt of saying no
  9. Struggle with low self esteem
  10. Always apologizing
  11. Always helping others, even if they don’t want to
  12. Always think what others think of you
  13. Being overly kind to others
  14. Always looking out for others happiness
  15. Neglecting their own needs and wants
  16. Perfectionistic tendencies

While there might be more signs of being a people pleaser, these are some of the signs one should be aware of, as they can cause serious problems in the future or adulting phase of life if not looked at the right time.

What Causes People-Pleasing Tendencies?

There can be various causes of people pleasing tendencies; some happen because of childhood trauma, while others tend to come up because of anxiety or low self-esteem. Let’s have a clearer look at what causes people pleasing tendencies.

1. Low self-esteem

People who tend to think less of themselves and aren’t very confident about their inner selves are more likely to please others and ask for their validation or appreciation because they don’t seem to trust their inner voice or guidance.

2. Anxiety

Having severe anxiety can also lead to people pleasing tendencies, as anxiety can act as a barrier when one wishes to oppose others' opinions or raise their voice. Anxiety tends to trigger a whole lot of negative thoughts, which can make the person act like this.

3. Childhood trauma

Having had a toxic upbringing where parents were neglectful and not caring towards their children's needs can lead to people pleasing tendencies. As children grow up, they seek their parents' approval outside of their homes, hoping to get love and validation from somewhere.

4. Culture

Some cultures have a tendency to be too kind and humble with other people, even if it means stepping on your own needs and wants. Such a culture feels it's quite normal to please others and not look after your needs, as that makes a person selfish and self-obsessed.

5. Insecurity

Not feeling the best version of yourself and carrying insecurities also trigger people's pleasing behaviour. It is important to look within yourself and see what is sparking that insecurity, because if you don’t, it will come out as wanting external validation or approval.

6. Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist can be good until it is not. Wanting everything to be prim and proper can only ruin things after a point; however, the root cause of such perfectionistic behavior is mostly not getting approval in childhood or being scolded for making a mistake, leading to people pleasing behavior later on.

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Stopping yourself from being a people pleaser can be hard, but you wouldn’t know what it feels like if you didn’t even try it. It is important to look into this behavior, as it can get out of hand and ruin your life later. So here are some ways to stop being a people pleasing person.

1. Learn to say “no”

While this may seem hard, learn to say no when someone comes up to you for help but you do not feel like doing it. It might make the other person feel angry or frustrated if they aren’t close to you, but if you give a good justification and if that person is close to you, they will listen to you, won’t even get angry and will respect your space. However, in the end, you will have your mental peace and happiness intact.

2. Meditation

Having people pleasing tendencies can make your mind very rushed and fill you up with negative thoughts. Pick a time and practice meditation, wherein you can understand the root cause of these thoughts and see if they really are a bigger problem than your mind has made it so.

3. Journaling

Try writing down your fears or thoughts the moment they are triggered. This way, you can see if those fears or thoughts are even realistic or tangible and devise a plan for yourself accordingly.

4. Starting small

Do not rush to go from 0 to 100 in one day. Start small and keep realistic goals for yourself. Maybe try and say no to a person for starters and see how it goes for you after that.

5. Stalling

Try stalling the person if you do not know how to answer them or if your anxiety is telling you to help them or please them. Let them know that you will get back to them after thinking for a while and then reply.

6. Accept that everyone won’t like you

It is important to understand that to survive in this world, it is important to accept that everyone won’t like you and that is totally normal and okay. You are not living for others and neither are people living for you. Make yourself happy and the people who love you wouldn’t need any kind of people pleasing at all.

7. Seek professional help

If you feel you cannot go alone in this journey or need expert guidance, it is best to seek professional help and talk to a therapist about this problem in-depth. By going to therapy, you will understand strategic ways to get rid of this behavior and will be able to get to the root cause of the situation.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you are not sure how to deal with people pleasing tendencies, seek professional help and learn what is causing all these problems and how to deal with them in an effective and strategic manner.

Professional help isn’t required only when something huge has taken place; you can even take therapy to prevent something huge from happening and get to the bottom of it at the right time. People pleasing tendencies can get out of control if not looked at the right time or with the right tools, so if you see any sign of such behavior, it is best to go for professional help.

How Can Now&Me Help?

If you are not confident about how to get rid of people pleasing tendencies, seek professional support from Now&Me at affordable prices. It is not just a platform that offers expert help but also showers you with unlimited support and advice from the Now&Me community. Share, engage, and talk to like-minded people anonymously.

Not only this, but you also get access to guides, articles, and e-books through which you can start your personal healing journey at your own pace. So download the app, get rid of such behavior that hinders you and become a free bird again.


Now&Me articles are written by experienced mental health contributors and are purely based on scientific research and evidence-based practices, which are thoroughly reviewed by experts, including therapists and psychologists with various specialties, to ensure accuracy and alignment with current industry standards.

However, it is important to note that the information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individual circumstances vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified mental health professional for personalized advice and guidance.

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