Do you wish you could keep others happy with you or just make loved ones happy in general? If so, you may be a people-pleaser.
You may already be aware of your people-pleasing behaviors. Or you may not realize all the subtle and sneaky ways that people-pleasing shows up in your relationships, work, and life.
I’ve found awareness comes in layers. Once you start healing people-pleasing, more layers present themselves for healing too. I’m here to help you grow your awareness of how attempting to chronically please others may get in the way of your health, happiness, and relationship satisfaction. If you are ready, let’s explore the definition and types of people-pleasing.
What is People-Pleasing?
I think of people-pleasing as using agreeableness to create a sense of safety in oneself and/or their environment. If you identify as a people-pleaser, then you typically put others’ needs, wants, and beliefs above your own, in an attempt to earn acceptance or create peace, no matter what it costs you.
In fact, you may be so good at reading others and/or the environment, that you don’t even know how you feel, what you need, or what people-pleasing is costing you. Chances are you grew up in a family where it wasn’t safe to speak up or be yourself, or you were in a relationship where you felt like you needed to keep your partner happy and calm. Know this people-pleaser part has served a purpose, even if it’s no longer working for you.
4 Most Common Types of People Pleasers
Before you consider stopping your people pleaser part from doing what it always does, it can be helpful to identify exactly how it shows up for you. That way you know exactly what you are looking for, how it feels, and what it may be trying to do for you.
I’ve identified at least 4 types of people-pleasers, one of which is my most common and the sneakiest! Read through these and reflect on which one describes how people-pleasing shows up for you:
- Caretaker: The caretaker puts others’ needs above their own. You believe if you can make other people happy and healthy, then you can finally get back to what you need too, except that doesn’t happen.
- Peacekeeper: The peacekeeper goes along to get along. You focus on doing or not doing whatever it takes to avoid conflict, whether that’s being invisible or agreeing even if you don’t.
- Pure Pleaser: The pure pleaser modifies their behavior in hopes of receiving approval, acceptance, belonging, and/or love in return. You are focused on being exactly who others want you to be.
- Manager: The manager has a hand in everything in an attempt to make everything run smoothly. You try to anticipate problems before they arise, in order to prevent more work later, except you have more work now!
Which one do you most identify with? It may be more than one.
For me, the manager is the one that shows up most often. And it can be really hard to see since it looks like I have it all figured out and am the put-together one. Even the manager part, takes a toll on me if I’m not aware of it and consciously choose differently.
Being a people-pleaser, no matter, what type, can be hard to recognize and undo, but not impossible! If you are ready to lean into letting go of this pattern in your life, then get the right kind of support from someone who guides others in healing people-pleasing from the root, and shifting these behaviors over time.
If you are a people-pleaser who is tired of feeling guilty, resentful, or burned out, I’d love to work with you! I help ambitious adults find freedom & healing from people-pleasing, perfectionism, and past hurt via individual therapy & self-love groups. You can schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with me to determine if we would be a great fit to work together.