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October 17, 2011 / mike54martin

Are You a “People Pleaser”?

Are You a “People Pleaser”?

By Mike Martin

There is nothing better than the person who is always helping out. But if that person is you and you are the only one who is helping out then it’s really not so great after all. Many of us have a not so hidden “people pleaser” inside of us that craves approval, attention or both, especially from people in authority.

This probably stems back to our childhood when we sought to get the nod of approval from a demanding, if not difficult, parent. We continue with these patterns through our friendships and into our relationships and working careers and while it sometimes achieves the desired result, more often than not, it also feels like we are being used.

Here is a little test, courtesy of St. Louiswriter Tamiko Cuellar at

                                            How do you know if you are being used?


  1. You find it hard to say no.
  2. You feel obligated to do what people ask you to do.
  3. You do things just to please other people.
  4. You constantly seek others’ approval of you.
  5. You let people guilt you into doing things that you really don’t want to do.
  6. You are always there for people but have no one to depend on when you are in need.
  7. You feel like doing things for people will secure their place in your life.
  8. You only feel like you are worth something when you are rescuing someone.
  9. You find yourself complaining that you give too much but keep doing it anyway. 
  10. People often tell you that you are being used or are “too nice”.

If you answered Yes to more than one of these questions you may be a “people pleaser”.

If you answered Yes to 3 or more of these questions you are definitely a “people pleaser”.

So what can you do about it? Lots. But only if you are willing to change your behaviors, go through your fears, and stand up strong for yourself.

See my post later this week for suggestions about how to stop being a “people pleaser” and to start learning to please another very important person…. You.

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Change the Things You Can” (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit:


Leave a Comment
  1. msjenniferwoodard / Oct 18 2011 3:31 am


    This post came right on time. I am currently dealing with being a pushover for my family and after 43 years have decided that i have had enough, If they are not happy with me at this point they are never going to be happy with me. Great post and you are down one people pleaser, that’s me.


  2. Susan Oakes / Oct 18 2011 11:13 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I can say that although I am not a people pleaser according to your questions. That said I like to help others where I can as I think most people would. Do you think some are people pleasers because they are not comfortable with themselves?

    • mike54martin / Oct 18 2011 11:26 pm

      Hi Susan. Absolutely!! I think that being a people pleaser is all about being so uncomfortable in one’s own skin and hoping that by helping others that you might feel better about yourself. The problem is that unless you actually choose (as you and healthy people do) to do things for other people rather than just reacting to your own discomfort then you never feel good enough about yourself. Ever.

  3. Adeline Yuboco / Oct 19 2011 4:45 am

    Very insightful post, Mike. Like Susan, I’m not really a people pleaser but I have to admit that there are times when I find myself going a little bit of the extra mile for someone special to me like my family or a very dear friend up to a certain extent. Saying no can be quite difficult, but oftentimes, the best way to help someone is by saying no. Otherwise, how will they be able to grow and handle their own predicaments?

  4. Ann / Oct 22 2011 4:39 pm

    I think some might see a people pleaser when others see someone trying to be like Jesus, who said that in as much as we did something for the least person, we are doing it for him.

    That said at times I have been considered the “nicest” mom my kids’ friends knew and I was just trying to keep friends for my kids.

    Sometimes I do things I don’t want to because someone needs the service. It’s hard to be nice when I am tired or doing work and I get called away. Am I being a people pleaser when I am the only one who can do something for that someone?

    Hard to know.

  5. kittykilian / Oct 23 2011 6:34 pm

    Hi Mike,

    love your new typography. Very sophisticated. All you need now is a colourful picture. Also love your cliffhanger. So we have to come back later in the week, huh?

    Well, I am pleased to say that I have no problem saying no, not even to lovely middle-aged women trying to sell me the Watchtower on a rainy Saturday morn around nine. I do like to help people, but I usually stop investing time if they don’t help me back.

    I am dictating this comment in my speech programme, as I am suffering from some returning RSI trouble. Just wrote a blog post about it. Since you are an expert in this field, I am interested to hear if you have any new information.

    bye, Kitty

  6. Sherryl Perry / Oct 23 2011 7:18 pm

    Hi Mike,
    I’m definitely a people pleaser. Sometimes, I feel like I should go to People Pleasers Anonymous meetings. 🙂 I tend to give away too much of my time helping other bloggers online.I think a big part of my motivation is that I’m a big believer in karma and much of the help that I offer and give is reciprocated. So, I’m sure I’ll continue in my ways.

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