Building Better Boundaries

What is a people pleaser?

Simply put, a people pleaser is someone who has a need to please others - whether or not they actually want to. They tend to be being very kind, helpful, and always willing to lend a hand. However, they often do things for others at the expense of their own needs, feeling as though they have to do everything that is asked of them in order to be loved and accepted. By neglecting their own needs in order to meet the needs of others, people pleasers can be so busy taking care of everyone else that they forget to take care of themselves. They can identify so strongly with caregiving and agreeing with others that they can lose sight of their own needs, values, and beliefs, which typically leads to elevated levels of cognitive dissonance - a distortion between one's values and the actions they want to take.

Signs of a people pleaser

  • preoccupied with what other people might think of them
  • fear that turning people down will cause them to be perceived as mean or selfish
  • struggle with feelings of low-self esteem and insecurity
  • feel that doing things for other people will earn their approval
  • always apologizing/over-apologetic
  • feel responsible for the emotions of other people
  • take the blame even when something isn't their fault
  • never have any free time because they are always doing things for other people
  • have trouble being true to their beliefs
  • believe it is their responsibility to make other people happy

People pleasers tend to exhibt one or more of the following maladaptive personality traits: Empathy (high), Complaincy (high) and Confidence (low)

Empathy (high)

  • high altruism as they mirror the needs and distress of others
  • naturally giving, generous, spiritually inclined, and a good listener
  • listen to others attentively and do all they can to grasp others' emotional state and needs
  • easily connect deeply with others around them
  • putting others before them and make them a priority
  • tendency to focus on emotional cues rather than non-emotional cues
  • are unable to weigh between emotional and non-emotional cues and determine how to respond
  • tendency to focus on others rather than self
  • are unable to weigh between self and others and determine who gets priority

Compliancy (high)

  • difficulty in disagreeing with other people due to fear of retaliation or being perceived negatively
  • follows rules without question - does not express oneself in terms of emotions/ viewpoints
  • find it difficult to convey their concerns and needs and prioritize other people - compromising on one's own ideals
  • find it difficult to say, "no" to anyone and are, therefore, highly agreeable
  • find it difficult to express their views due to fear of hurting others
  • tendency to focus on fear of retaliation and/or losing good impression rather than the benefits of disagreeing
  • are unable to weigh between the benefits of disagreeing and fear of retaliation and/or losing good impression to decide whether to voice their opinion or not

Confidence (low)

  • doubts one's own abilities and capacities
  • anticipate negative evaluation from others
  • repeated negative thoughts about oneself
  • fearful of making a mistake and tendency to avoid situations which can show their incapability
  • do not try to fulfill their goals/desires as it may show their incapability
  • tendency to compare oneself with others
  • tendency to focus on their negatives rather than positives
  • are unable to weigh between their positives and negatives to determine their overall identity

Dharma Life Sciences Emotional Health Program can help identify which of theses maladaptive personality traits a people pleaser is exhibiting most prominently. Over the course of the 8-week program, a people pleaser will learn to balance out their maladaptive personality trait and, in turn, become less of a people pleaser. The program involves engaging with Dharma's Enhance Personality app for at least 15 minutes a day along with weekly mentor sessions. Payment for the program is at the end of the 8 weeks and after seeing at least a 50% improvement.

See program details