I often talk about people pleasing on my Instagram and podcast but I wanted to share, what I like to call, the symptoms of people pleasing here and share a quick quiz to see if you are a people pleaser!
So what are the 'symptoms' of people pleasing?
- Always saying 'I'm sorry' when you haven't done anything wrong.
- Saying yes to someone/something when you want to say no.
- When someone doesn't react to your gesture like you thought they would or they don't seem to care about you as much as you care about them, you feel a pang of resentment.
- Feeling anxious if you don't reply to someone's message straight away or if you don't get an immediate response.
- Changing your personality depending on who you're around.
- You want/need everyone to like you.
- You care a LOT what other people think of you.
- You tend to avoid self-care because you feel selfish and when you do make time, you feel guilty.
- You put other people's needs above your own.
- You agree with everyone through fear of rejection if you say how you actually feel.
- You dull parts of yourself down to be more 'likeable'.
- You avoid conflict like the plague.
- You often try to help other people all the time in an attempt to distract yourself from what you need to address in your own life.
- You go out of your way for friends and family members but feel like you don't get the same effort back.
- You often hide your opinions and real emotions.
- You lack boundaries and often cross your own boundaries (if you have any).
- You don't want to burden others with your problems, so you are always the listener.
- You feel like you always have to be positive and upbeat to make people happy.
- When someone you love is upset you feel it is your responsibility to 'fix' them.
- You feel like you're treated like a door mat.
Read the questions below and take note of your answers and add your score up as you go:
Each a). answer scores you 2 points.
Each b). answer scores you 1 point.
Each c). answer scores you 0 points.
Q1: Someone asks you to help them move into their new flat because they have no one else to help them, but you are exhausted and had plans with yourself to relax and practice self-care. Do you:
a). Drop your plans, tell them you'll be there and you'll bring extra boxes and pizza.
b). Pretend you haven't seen the text but then feel guilty so reply saying 'sorry I missed this, yes, be over in 10!'
c). Reply saying you won't be able to help tonight because you have a date with yourself to fill your cup but hope the move goes well!
Q2: You're in a meeting at work, discussing ideas for a new project. You see a big flaw in the other proposals and you have an awesome idea that no one else has thought of. When the boss asks for your input, you:
a). Say you don't have an idea and think the current proposal is good.
b). Say the current proposal is great and probably better but half ass pitch your idea whilst apologising because you're scared everyone will hate it.
c). Pitch your idea with confidence even though you know it might rustle some feathers!
Q3: You text a friend and don't hear back from them for a few days. Do you;
a). Immediately assume they hate you and obsess and over analyse the last message you sent and text them again to make sure they're still your friend.
b). Worry that you've done something wrong and feel on edge all day.
c). Don't even think about it. You know they will get back to you when they can.
Q4: You notice your partner seems a little down after work. You've asked them how their day is and they said fine. They're now watching TV and being quiet. Do you;
a). Keep asking them what's wrong because you need to fix their bad mood.
b). Don't continue asking but you let their mood affect yours and feel annoyed at them because they won't let you help them.
c). Give them space and let them know you are there if they want to chat.
Q5: You are feeling low energy and a bit down but you have plans tonight with your mum and sister to go for dinner. You can feel a headache coming on and know you need to rest. Do you;
a). Ignore your headache and mask that you're struggling because you don't want to let your mum and sister down.
b). Pop some painkillers and go to dinner but are quiet and apologise for being boring.
c). Let them know you are not up to going out and have to cancel plans. You don't apologise, you simply wish them a fun night and rest at home, guilt free.
Q6: There's a new girl at work and you want to make her feel welcome but you're also extremely busy and need to crack on with work! Do you;
a). Take her a coffee and introduce yourself. You give her your personal number and say she can text you anytime. You answer all her questions. When she says she already has a coffee but thank you for the gesture, you feel annoyed that she wasn't as grateful as she should be.
b). Introduce yourself and stick around for ages answering her questions and offering help.
c). Introduce yourself and let her know that if she needs help she can send you an email/pop over to your desk at lunch because you're super busy.
Q7: You're shopping with a friend and she wants to buy a really expensive pair of shoes (that are ugly) but she always talks about how she never has enough money to travel. She asks what you think...Do you;
a). Tell her the shoes are amazing and she should totally get them!
b). Smile and say it's your money! If you like them, get them!
c). Are honest and say the shoes aren'y your personal taste and they seem to be overpriced. 'Wouldn't you rather save up that money instead so you can travel?'
Q8: Your Grandma calls you everyday and is almost always negative. It drains you and often ruins your day. Do you;
a). Keep quiet and just continue to answer the calls and nod along with everything she says .
b). Will purposely miss the odd call for a break but then answer most of the time because you don't want to let her down and you feel guilty.
c). Set a boundary with your Grandma that she can't just call everyday to moan because it's affecting your mental health. 'How about we have a weekly FaceTime instead and catch up on the highlights from the week?'
Q9: It's coming up to 5pm in the office and you have a tonne more work to do. Your boss is on your back about getting it done before tomorrow lunchtime. Do you;
a). Stay late and then take your work laptop home AND come in early tomorrow because you HAVE to get this work completed so you don't disappoint your boss.
b). Stay late and work as quickly as you can so you can get it mostly finished.
c). Tell your boss you will do the best you can within the hours of your contract but may not get it done before lunch tomorrow because it is simply too much work for one person.
Q10: Your best friend says something that is problematic and upsets you. Do you;
a). Pretend she didn't say it and just carry on as normal because you don't want to cause an argument.
b). Feel a bit upset and don't say anything but hold a bit of a grudge for a while.
c). Challenge her on what she said and ask her why she thinks that. You tell her that what she said is problematic and you'd appreciate if she didn't say things like that in future.
Add up your points based on your answers (and be honest) then see what that means below!
You are definitely a people pleaser and are excessively dependent on other people’s opinion about you. If someone mistreats you or looks down on you, you automatically blame yourself. You are so used to putting others before yourself that you possibly see other people that have boundaries and prioritise their needs as selfish. You most likely have low self-worth and confidence which is why you look so heavily to others for that assurance and validation. Don't shame yourself for getting this result. Self-awareness is key to changing anything in life and now you have the awareness you can begin to change it.
While you are not a chronic people pleaser, you do sacrifice a lot perhaps under the guise of 'being too nice'. You may be assertive with some people in your life while being treated like a doormat by some others. It is very likely that you find it difficult to assert yourself with some of the most important people in your life — your spouse, your best friends or some family members. You feel drained and often very resentful. There are times when you over extend yourself and there are times when you withhold your opinions for the sake of diplomacy. Even though you didn't score as a chronic people pleaser you still have some sure tendencies and this isn't a reason to get complacent. There is still work to do. Continue working on putting yourself first.
You are an independent thinker with a healthy sense of your own worth. You don't place your worth on other people liking you and you keep promises to yourself. Despite what others may think, you are a very caring person and have probably learnt the hard way that to be able to take care of others, your own needs should be met first. Notice where in your life you are more likely to sway back into any people pleasing habits so you can be aware of them.
If you scored 10 or higher don't panic! Head to my blog post 'How To Overcome The Disease To Please' for tips to overcome people pleasing.
If you feel people pleasing is something you really struggle with and it is taking over your life (you are not living life on YOUR terms) then check out my 1:1 coaching container, send me an email and let's chat about how we can work together to overcome this habit and reclaim your power!
Thanks for reading,
Love Georgia xx
For more in depth support you can join my monthly membership The Confidence Collective which is a super accessible group coaching container where we deep dive into all of the things you need to learn and address to become your most confident self.