Career and Jobs

10 Signs You’re a Chronic People Pleaser—and How to Stop

Are you too accommodating in your daily life—so much so that it’s actually a hindrance to your work? 

Well, you might be a people pleaser. While it’s a great set of skills to be able to work with others (hello, interpersonal skills!) being too much of a people pleaser actually sets you back. It diminishes your work, undermines your authority, and—eventually—it stunts your professional growth. 

Pardon this brief interruption, but this is Career Contessa. Join us for this episode of The Femails where we breakdown even more people-pleasing behaviors that might be undermining your hard work.

Here are 10 signs that you might be suffering from people-pleasing—and how to nip it in the bud. 

1. You Agree, Even When You Disagree

This is a common trait of people pleasers. Whether it’s in a meeting, having a one-on-one conversation, or in the middle of a big negotiation, people pleasers tend to agree—even when they don’t. There are certainly circumstances where sharing your personal or political opinions is not necessary. However, people pleasers tend to agree even when they vehemently disagree. 

If you find yourself being agreeable for the sake of being agreeable, ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Does agreeing with this particular opinion/direction/move go against my personal values? 
  • Is agreeing with this undermining the work and research I have already done up to this point?
  • Does agreeing to this do more harm or more good? 

2. You Apologize Too Much 

Apologies are fine when you’re actually sorry—or when you have something legitimate to apologize for. But, again, ask yourself a question. Are you undermining yourself by constantly apologizing? We tend to use apologies to smooth over awkward events and to make room for others to be comfortable. 

3. You Always Have Someone Double-Check Your Work 

This is something people pleasers do in order to get feedback and to make sure their work is up to snuff. Like a lot of “pleaser” behavior, this isn’t always a bad thing. Generally speaking, feedback is great and we should seek it out where we can. 

However, constantly asking for feedback, approval, or credit can actually diminish the quality of your work—and it can diminish how others view you. Rather than constantly asking for feedback, find new confidence in your work. If you’re looking for a second pair of eyes for edits or mistakes, create a checklist of yourself. Run your own work quality checks through a battery of filters. Is everything spelled correctly? Are the dates all correct?

Asking for help is good. However, you also need to enlist the self-confidence in your own work rather than relying on approval from others at every turn. 

4. You Are Constantly Burdened By Other People’s Feelings 

Do you find yourself constantly distracted by your boss’ moods? Do you feel personally attacked if your coworker wears her headphones for an entire day?

People pleasers commonly find themselves involved in other people’s feelings. Think of it as an empathy overload. Empathy is crucial in the workplace, but there is a line where empathy can actually manifest as nosiness in disguise. Recognize when those around you are in need of a soothing word or a walk around the block. However, also recognize that when people need a few minutes of solitude or when they are having a personally bad day, they might want to be left alone—and it has nothing to do with you. 

Know when your attention to other people’s feelings is an intrusion on your work and your own well-being. 

5. You Rarely Accept Credit or Praise

Raise your hand if you’ve ever shaken off praise by saying something like, “Well, the whole team helped, so…” 

Accept your praise when it’s due, Take a bath in it. Treat yourself to a nice lunch. It’s that simple. Next time praise comes your way, recognize if you’re about to explain it away. Instead, try a simple thank you. Enjoy the victory—you’ve earned it. 

6. You Take Blame When It’s Not Yours

Does confrontation make you uneasy? Does dischord send your day into chaos? This behavior is a little extreme, but listen up. If you find yourself taking the blame for someone else’s mistake—maybe in the interest of settling a dispute or calming things down—you are probably a people pleaser. 

if you’re not going to accept credit or praise for work well-done, then do not accept blame for missteps by others. While you feel like you are diffusing a situation in the moment, you are actually adding to long-term problems. When teams are unable to find the true root cause of a problem, it will likely reoccur and have bigger repercussions. 

Next time there is unrest in a meeting or between members of your team, let the real problem come to light. 

7. You Act Like The Person Around You 

Everyone has a little bit of a different personality for different environments. For example, when you’re out for dinner on a Saturday night with your three closest girlfriends, your demeanor is going to be slightly different from your Monday morning vibes. 

The language you use with your partner or your mom will be different than the language you use with your manager or a client. Everybody wears different hats throughout their entire lives. However, if you find yourself constantly shapeshifting at work, you might be a people pleaser. 

This is not a matter of using professional language with one person and more casual parlance with another. This is when you find your views and outlooks changing when speaking to one person or another. Thi type of behavior can have especially damaging consequences when you ally yourself with someone who is unhappy or negative in the workplace. If you recognize this type of behavior in yourself, conduct an honest check-in. Are you doing and saying the things you really believe? Is this relationship capable of hurting your career in the long-run?

8. You Always Say Yes 

You might be a chronic people-pleaser if you often find yourself in the office, after hours, doing work that isn’t technically yours. Once you become known as the office people pleaser, you will become a sitting duck—an easy target. 

If you work with people—especially someone who is slightly senior to you—you might find work being passed own to you. One of our favorite problematic coworkers, the work shirker, is sure to seek you out and overload you with work. Since you don’t want to say no, you do it, again and again. Thus begins a vicious cycle. 

Help out when you’re needed. All hands on deck are necessary in any work environment at any given moment. However, if you start to notice that another coworker is constantly pushing work onto you and leaving the office early, you need to put your foot down with a firm NO. 

9. You Need Everyone to Like You (Even the People You Don’t Like)

When you walk into the office, do you say hello to everyone? Do you notice that Karen from accounting never responds in kind? She never even send a smile your way—and this drives you up the wall. Why doesn’t she like me? 

But, wait a second, you don’t even really work with Karen in accounting. In fact, whenever you have accounting needs, you work with Sheila. In fact, you don’t even really like Karen to begin with! 

Here’s the thing. it’s great to get along with everyone in the workplace, but maybe you aren’t Karen’s cup of tea—and vice-versa. As long as it doesn’t affect the quality of your work—or Karen’s work—who cares? Don’t get caught up in who may or may not like you. More often than not, our coworker has no strong feelings about you, to begin with. Focus on your work and the harmony of your direct team. Don’t get caught up in other noise.

10. You Avoid Any and All Conflict 

Are people raising their voices in the conference room? Is your coworker getting reamed for something you know is not her fault? What do you do? 

People pleasers tend to avoid any and all conflict. Nobody really loves conflict, but when you’re actively avoiding conflict, it can do more harm than good. The next time there is conflict, instead of sticking to the sidelines, consider whether or not you have information or a point of view that could lead to a resolution. 

In short, avoiding conflict is not always a good thing—especially when you might hold the very key to a solution. 

If you struggle with a ton of people-pleasing behavior, you might want to work on building mental strength to let go of it. Not to be a broken record here, but a lot of people-pleasing behavior comes from an intrinsically good place. However, over time, it can damage your professional and personal relationships. 
10 Signs You're a Chronic People Pleaser—and How to Stop

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