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"No worries if not!": 6 signs you're a chronic people pleaser, and what to do about it.

“No worries if not!!!!" If these four words are part of your day-to-day vocabulary, please sit. We need to talk.

Because while it may seem like a harmless buffer to make sure no one thinks you're being 'demanding' or 'bossy' (god forbid!), these four simple words can actually stop us from properly expressing what we need. 

And it says way more about your personality than you might think.

Watch: How do you tell the difference between feeling sad and being clinically depressed? We asked an expert to give us the lowdown. Post continues below.


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In the same vein as using terms like "just checking", "sorry to bother you" and "I know you're busy...", the whole "no worries if not!" thing is a toxic trait of a chronic people pleaser. That is - those who fear that communicating their emotional or practical needs will be a burden to others.

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It's true! It really is.

So what are the common signs of being a people pleaser? And how do you... stop it?

We spoke to psychologist Nancy Sokarno from Lysn to find out. 

Common signs you're a people pleaser.

1. You want people to like you.

People pleasers are deeply concerned about what other people think and will generally go out of their way to make people like them. Why? So they can feel good about themselves.

"While it might seem like most people would want everyone to like them, a people pleaser wants it always, and sometimes desperately so. A people pleaser will care a lot if there is someone who doesn’t like them (even if they don’t really like that other person themselves)," explains Sokarno.

"The unfortunate reality that a people pleaser needs to know is that it’s almost impossible to get everyone to like you, or to be all things to all people."

The best thing to do? Sokarno said to be comfortable within yourself, so that you like you. 

"Call it self-love or generating self-worth, it’s an incredibly important asset and something that most people could do with working on."

2. You always apologise.

Sorry, but we're all guilty of this one.

"If you constantly catch yourself saying 'I’m sorry', especially when it’s not necessary to apologise or you actually shouldn’t be sorry, then you could be a people pleaser," said Sokarno.

Being a people pleaser means you over-apologise to ensure you cover all basis if something goes wrong, and that other people like you (classic).

"Apologising or accepting fault when you aren’t to blame is a common trait of a people pleaser. This point stems back to wanting people to like you, as if apologising for perceived mistakes or flaws which in your mind might make you seem more appealing to the other person."

3. You crave validation.

One of the most common signs of people pleasers? The constant chase for validation.

"Seeking validation from other people or from external sources like social media is a common sign that you might be a people pleaser. While validation can make anyone feel good, people pleasers tend to depend on it." 

"If your self-esteem rests entirely on what others think about you, you could be a people pleaser."

4. You don't like to set boundaries.

If you have the tendency to feel guilty or mean when setting boundaries, this could be another subtle sign that you're a chronic people pleaser. And it could become a real issue when it comes to relationships.

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"Setting healthy boundaries, no matter the kind of relationship, is incredibly important. It teaches people about your expectations, what kind of relationship you have, and ultimately, how they should treat you," explains Sokarno. 

"If you don’t like to set boundaries, it can open up situations where you are taken advantage of and then can begin to quietly resent that other person."

Eek.

5. You avoid conflict.

Do you tend to avoid conflict when it comes to your friends and family? This kind of trait often comes down to the fear of feeling unloved or rejected by the people around you.

"Many people pleasing types often have an innate goal to keep others happy which means they often avoid conflict. This can sometimes look like saying yes to everything, not standing up for themselves, giving up things they shouldn’t and letting others take advantage."

Sounds familiar?

"This is all in an effort to avoid having to say no or avoiding the possibility of conflict (which could lead to someone not 'liking' you)."

6. You let people take advantage of you.

Unfortunately, some people will quickly take notice of people pleasing tendencies and use it to their advantage. 

"Perhaps it’s a co-worker or a fellow mum, and you might find yourself picking up extra duties or taking care of someone else’s child far too often," says Sokarno. 

"When it can be hard to say no, and you’re trying to avoid conflict, then you can find yourself in a position where people will just take advantage of these scenarios."

How to stop being a people pleaser.

So, what can you do? How does one just... stop... being a people pleaser?

Well, according to Sokarno, sometimes it can be difficult to stop being a chronic people pleaser because many of the behaviours might have become habits or a part of your personality. 

However, she said there are some small steps you can take and easy-ish ways that you can start to make bigger changes.

1. Practice saying no.

Are you someone that just adds layers and layers of tasks on your plate just to please others? The inability to say no and set boundaries is not only messing with your physical health, but your mental health too. 

"For some people pleasers, saying no can be an incredibly hard thing to do! If you struggle with that word, practice saying it in less pressured scenarios," suggests Sokarno. 

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"For example, to a waitress when you’re ordering your lunch, or to a telemarketer. The more you say no in these types of scenarios, the easier it will feel in a more pressured scenario."

Now, let's hear it!

2. Practice self-love exercises.

One of the most important steps is rebuilding your self-esteem, because if you aren't confident in yourself, you'll continuously find yourself putting your own happiness on the back burner just to make the people around you happy.

"While many people assume self-love exercises are 'vain', the reality is, for a person with people pleasing tendencies, they are incredibly important in building better self-esteem," explains Sokarno.

"Self-love exercises like affirmations or mirror work will help to build internal validation, so you can stop seeking it externally and start to feel ok at the thought of someone not liking you. The more internal validation you have, the less external validation you need."

3. Delay responses. 

"If you constantly find yourself in a situation where you’re saying yes (when you really should say no) or finding yourself burdened by other people’s tasks, consider delaying your responses." 

Meaning? Get into the habit of using phrases like “let me get back to you” before jumping in and saying yes to things. 

"This can give you time to consider any propositions and work out a response that will better suit what you really should do," said Sokarno.

"It can also help you to set boundaries so you don’t become a person’s go-to (especially if you always say yes without consideration) and allow you to craft a more appropriate response that feels authentic to how you feel."

4. Set boundaries.

If you're aware of people around you who constantly take advantage of you, Sokarno advises putting some boundaries in place so it doesn’t constantly happen. 

"The important place to start is by understanding yourself what you’re willing to do, and then kindly letting others know," she said.

"You don’t have to all of a sudden put up barriers. It could be by starting off small such as being more direct and firmer when you’re say no, or letting someone know you are busy when they’re asking something of you."

 5. Talk to someone.

Importantly, you need to talk to someone - especially if it's something that's interfering with your health and wellbeing. You could reach out to a close friend or family member, or even a professional - like a psychologist.

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"Support resources like Lifeline and Beyond Blue are services that provide free over-the-phone counselling with trained experts that can help you through any mental health concerns."

"Services like Lysn provide access to psychologists via video chat, which can be accessed from the comfort of your own home around the clock. These services can be instrumental in providing the support you need in day-to-day life."

Above all else, just remember that it takes time - and these kind of changes won't happen overnight.

"It can be a case of constantly practicing new ways of responding to things. For example, if you constantly apologise or feel guilty, you might not change overnight."

"It is about slowly learning new behaviours and different ways of responding to people and catching yourself when you are doing those habits that you want to change. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but eventually, things like saying no, will become a whole lot easier (and you won’t feel guilty about it)."

Are you a people pleaser? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Twitter; Mamamia

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