How to stop people pleasing

As you're reading this you probably think you're a people pleaser. From my own experience, I've noticed some common signs, which you might recognise:

  • You find yourself wearing a mask to cover up your true feelings and get anxious as you try to work out what the other person would like to hear.
  • You feel resentful to other people who can take advantage of your people pleasing behaviours.
  • You feel out of balance with yourself as you're not respecting your real feelings.
  • You're worried that others are picking up your discomfort and tension when you don't say what you really feel.

If this sounds like you then don't worry. Coaching can help you alter your behaviours to value and speak up for yourself, without losing friendships or upsetting colleagues.

Here's three of my strategies you can use to break the habit:

  • You can't please everyone. No matter what you say or do there will be some people you can't please. It could be they're having a bad day or they've had a past experience that's affected them, whatever it's not about you. Also, remember that you aren't the most important person to them and their head is full of their own thoughts and worries. They will quickly move on from whatever you say or do.
  • Practice saying no. If you're not used to saying it then this can feel uncomfortable, but I find these tips helped me:
    • 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.
    • Feeling guilt after saying no is natural but don't act on it instead remember why it's important.
    • Put boundaries in place. Work out what boundaries are important to you and stick to them e.g. working hours, family time at the weekend, volunteering for one cause at a time, socialising once during the week.

Challenge yourself to make today the first day you recognise and change these habits. Remember that you're not being selfish instead, you're respecting both your needs ad those of the other person.

“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself.” - Paulo Coehlo.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Jo Painter AC, Dip LC, NLP Prac, MRPharmS

Jo is a leading UK confidence coach. She works with women to help them overcome their self-doubts and build their confidence and self-esteem, so they can achieve things they never imagined they could. Based in Bishops Stortford, Jo offers face to face coaching, Skype and telephone and also online coaching programmes.… Read more

Written by Jo Painter AC, Dip LC, NLP Prac, MRPharmS

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