You apologize all the time. 10 Signs You’re Trying to Please Everyone

Pleasing people can be a serious problem. And this habit is hard to get rid of.

Over the years, I have seen countless people pleasers in my therapy room. But more often than not, pleasing people was not their problem. Was their desire to make others happy just a symptom of a deeper problem? writes psychologist Amy Morin, author of several international bestsellers in psychology. About it writes

For many, the desire to please stems from self-esteem issues. They hope that by answering “yes” to everything they are asked, they will feel accepted and loved.

Other people pleasers have a history of abuse. And at some point, they decided that their best hope for better treatment was to try to please the people who mistreated them. Over time, pleasing people has become a way of life.

Many people-pleasers confuse pleasing people with kindness. When discussing their reluctance to turn down someone’s request for a favor, they say things like, “I don’t want to be selfish” or “I just want to be a good person.” Hence, they allow others to take advantage of them.

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Here are 10 signs you’re trying too hard to please everyone.

1. You pretend to agree with everyone.

Politely listening to other people’s opinions—even if you don’t agree with them—is a good social skill. But if you pretend to agree because you want to be liked, it can lead to behavior that goes against your values.

2. You feel responsible for how other people feel.

It is helpful to be aware of how your behavior affects others. But thinking that you have the power to make someone happy is a problem. Each person must be responsible for their own emotions.

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3. You apologize often.

If you blame yourself excessively or are afraid that other people always blame you, apologizing frequently may be a sign of a bigger problem. You don’t have to regret that you are you!

4. You feel burdened with things to do.

You are responsible for how you spend your time. But if you know how to please people, chances are that your schedule is filled with things that you think other people need.

5. You can’t say no.

Whether you say yes and then actually go through with it, or feign illness later to fulfill your obligations, you will never achieve your goals if you can’t stand up for yourself.

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6. You feel uncomfortable if someone is angry with you.

Just because someone is angry doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong. But if you can’t come to terms with the idea that someone is unhappy with you, you’re more likely to compromise your values.

7. You act like the people around you.

It’s okay when other people reveal different sides of your personality. But people-pleasers often sabotage their goals. Research shows that people who please are self-destructive if they think it will help others feel more comfortable in social situations. For example, pleaser people eat more when they think it will make other people happy.

8. You need praise to make you feel good.

While praise and kind words can lift everyone’s spirits, people who please people depend on approval. If your self-esteem is completely dependent on what others think of you, you will only feel good when others shower you with compliments.

9. You go to great lengths to avoid conflict.

It’s one thing not to start a conflict. But avoiding conflict at all costs means that it will be difficult for you to stand up for the interests and people you believe in.

10. You don’t confess when your feelings are hurt.

You will not be able to build authentic relationships with people if you are not willing to speak openly and say that your feelings are sometimes hurt. Denying that you are angry, sad, embarrassed, or disappointed—even if you are emotionally hurt—keeps the relationship superficial.

How to get rid of pleasing people

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While it’s important to impress your boss and show that you can be accommodating, submission can backfire. You will never reach your greatest potential if you try to be everything to all people.

Start breaking the habit of pleasing people by saying “no” to something small. Give your opinion on something simple. Or stand up for what you believe in. Every step you take will help you gain more confidence in your ability to be yourself.

If you’re really struggling to get rid of habits that people enjoy, seek professional help. A therapist can help you build the mental strength you need to create the life you want to live.

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