Are You Trying To Be Nice or Just Faking It To Please People?
People-pleasing may sound like a nice thing. I mean after all, what’s wrong with wanting to make people happy, am I right?
But people-pleasing goes beyond just trying to make people happy and being nice. It involves acting like someone you’re not to make sure others will like you. Being a people pleaser means that you agree to eat at a certain restaurant or go along with watching a particular movie, even though you’d actually prefer something else.
It means you bite your tongue and keep your opinions and beliefs to yourself unless you’re sure they’re in agreement with those of the person who you’re trying to impress.
When you people-please, you have a tendency to justify why you didn’t say “no” or didn’t turn down a request by saying something like “I didn’t want to be rude” or “I didn’t want to disappoint them”.
If this sounds like you then your people-pleasing tendency may go beyond simple niceness.
But that’s not a bad thing is it?
As a recovering people pleaser myself, I know that so often we believe that if we do everything in our power to keep people happy, then they’ll like us and want us around.
But here’s the thing, when you try to act like someone you’re not to make sure others will like you, that’s not being honest and true to who you really are. In fact, it’s a façade or a fake or false you.
And, it’s an unconscious way of manipulating people into liking you instead of letting them see the real you, which doesn’t allow you to create the authentic connections you’re really looking for.
What many people-pleasers don’t realize is that their over pleasing habits can negatively impact their emotional well-being.
Bending over backwards to make sure everyone is taken care of puts a lot of pressure and stress on you, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and resentful. And, you may even wind up with burnout, and we certainly don’t want that.
When you stop trying to please everyone around you, you’ll have the time and energy to do the things that bring YOU joy.
Am I a people pleaser?
Still wondering if you’re a people pleaser or are just being nice? Here a few signs:
- It’s difficult for you to say “no”. You worry that telling someone “no” or turning down a request will make other people think you don’t care about them.
- You say “yes” without even thinking. You’re impulsive when it comes to saying “yes” to all sorts of things without taking the time to think about what you really want because you don’t want to let anyone down.
- You’re a chameleon. It’s normal for other people to bring out different sides of your personality. But often you don’t express yourself genuinely. You hide parts of yourself -beliefs, feelings, or ideas, and morph yourself into who you think you “should” be so people will like you.
- You avoid arguments and conflicts. You don’t want to “rock the boat”, and don’t want to make anyone angry or unhappy so you’ll do whatever it takes to keep the peace. Just because someone disagrees with you or is mad doesn’t mean it’s about you. But if you can’t stand the thought of someone being displeased with you, you’ll be more likely to compromise your own wants, needs and values just so you can be liked and seem “nice”.
- You can’t handle criticism. Because you’ve placed so much value on other people’s opinions of your worth, criticism is majorly upsetting. Your inner critic kicks in and you begin to replay the scenario over and over again in your head, beating yourself up for what you could have done differently. Your mantra is “If I were better, it would be better”.
How Do I Stop People Pleasing?
Here are a few strategies that can help you to stop being a people pleaser:
- Get to Know the Real You. As a people pleaser you are very aware of the wants and needs of others. But often, it can be difficult to know that for yourself. Get to know what’s important to you…what you like and dislike, what brings you joy, what drains your energy, what do you value. Do this by spending time alone. Ask yourself why you’re really doing what you’re doing…is it because you want people to like you and you don’t want to make them upset or does it truly make you happy? When you’re able to get clear about what you want, you can start saying yes to yourself instead of worrying about everyone else.
- Practice Empathetic Assertion. It can be hard for people-pleasers to say no without trying to justify it. If you try to apologize or justify your response, it only gives the other person an opportunity to try to make you give in to their request. That’s where empathetic assertion can help. Empathic assertion is the recognition of other people’s feelings or situations that is followed up by you standing up for yourself or setting a boundary. For example: “I know you’ve been really busy, but I feel like our relationship is not important to you. I want you to make time for me and us.” You clearly communicate your wants and needs without intentionally hurting anyone’s feelings.
- Start Small. One of the biggest challenges for people-pleasers is learning to say “no” to the things they don’t really want to do. Try saying “no” to that dinner you don’t really want to go to or don’t pick up the phone when that person calls who you know will drain your energy. Every small step you take will help you gain more confidence to say “no” to the bigger things, and before you know it, you will be saying “yes” to you.
- Become Your Own Best Friend. In the words of Byron Katie “It’s not your job to like me; it’s mine.” Talk to yourself as you would your best friend or as you do to everyone else. Make yourself a priority and do things that make you happy and bring you joy instead of chasing it by trying to please other people. Do for yourself what you’re willing to do for others.
Those Are Great Tips, But…..
If you’re reading that list and thinking “that sounds great”, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin. How do I even start to understand what’s really important to me? How do I say “no”, even to something small, without feeling guilty or feeling like I will disappoint someone?
If that feels like you.. why not join me for a free 30 minute introductory call where I’ll help you to:
- Dig through the layers and get to the core of what’s really behind your need to bite your tongue and keep everyone around you happy.
- Start to understand how your habits and behaviours are stopping you from being you…the real you.
- Learn what you’ll need to do to take that first step in getting out of your own way so you can begin to speak up for what you want and need without all of the guilt.
Book your session HERE.