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Are You A People-Pleaser? Here’s How to Stop

Shreya Maji

6 min read

Going too far to make others happy? People-pleasing can cause immense stress and anxiety, and even damage your relationships. We tell you all about why you should stop, and how.

Any personal or professional relationship in your life will need kindness, compassion and compromises. But if you find yourself breaking your back to accommodate others’ needs and feelings at all times, at the cost of your own physical and mental well-being, you might be a people-pleaser. If you are a people-pleaser, you will put in extra time and effort to make sure that you meet the needs of your family, friends and colleagues, even when they do not reciprocate with the same energy. You may also give up on your own opinions and beliefs in order to avoid conflict, even if it causes you discomfort or makes you unhappy.

This behaviour stems from an ingrained desire of wanting to be liked by those around us, which makes us want to do whatever it takes to make someone else happy and receive their approval and validation. “We usually learn people-pleasing from a very young age,” says Benaisha Kharas Dongre, integrative personal counsellor and image consultant based in Mumbai. “Perhaps we had strict parents, or parents who had high expectations and demanded a certain kind of behaviour from us. We grow up wanting to stay out of trouble, and fulfill their expectations. When we socialise with outsiders later in life, it’s hard for us to let go of those patterns.”

People-pleasing tendencies can display themselves in various ways. You might dress like your friends or copy their mannerisms in order to receive their approval. You might fulfill every demand your child makes as you mistakenly think that will make them more receptive to your requests. You might assume that going along with every decision your partner makes is the best way to sustain your relationship. “But other than a diplomatic discussion, there is no situation where people-pleasing is helpful to anyone, which is why it is important to check such behaviour,” says Benaisha.

Related Story: 5 Things A Psychologist Wants You To Prioritise In A Relationship

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