Are you a people pleaser?
Take a moment to think about how this past week went.
Count how many things you did because you wanted to do them. How many things did you do or commit to that genuinely brought you happiness?
Now, on the flip side, think about how many things you did that you felt obligated to do. How many times did you said “yes” when you really wanted to say “no”?
If you did not feel obligated to say “yes” to anything this week, I am very envious of you.
To everyone else out there…did you find yourself saying, “Yes, of course!” or “No problem!” to something you really wanted to say, “Hell to the no thank you” to?
I am definitely raising my hand over here!
Why you are saying “YES” when you mean “NO”
When you say yes to things you want to say no to, you are being a people pleaser. You are trying to control someone else’s opinion of you. Maybe you want to be known as kind, friendly, sociable, or that you can handle it all!
There are many reasons why you might say yes to things you don’t want to do.
You don’t want to…
- Disappoint others.
- Seem like you are not dependable.
- Appear rude or unkind in any way.
- Make others angry if you say no.
- Allow others to get the “wrong” impression of you.
- Offend someone else.
If you look at the examples above, they’re directly linked to controlling someone else’s opinion.
A people pleaser thinks they can make others think a certain way
Newsflash: You can’t control people’s perceptions of you! No matter what you think or how hard you try, it is impossible to control someone’s thoughts. When someone thinks negatively of you, it really has nothing to do with you. Also, (and this might come as a shocker to you) if someone thinks positively of you, it also has nothing to do with you! I learned this from Brooke Castillo while listening to her empowering podcast The Life Coach School Podcast.
In episode #15, she gives this fantastic example to help you understand other people’s perceptions. Brooke explains that you can walk into a party and talk to 10 people in a group. You can have the same conversation with every person. Even though you might say the exact same thing to each of them, all of them will have different opinions of you.
- One person might not like you because of the way you are dressed.
- Another person could like you because you went to the same college.
- Someone else could not like you because you remind them of their ex-girlfriend, who is horrible!
- Another person could love you because you’re just like their best friend.
Bottom line is, people’s opinions of you only are a direct reflection of themselves, good or bad. They are formed based on their life experiences. You cannot control their thoughts (and if YOU can, please share your secret!). Therefore, let go of trying to make them perceive you in a certain way!
Also, side note: if you say you want to do something and you really don’t, it is inauthentic. It doesn’t make you “kind” or “dependable”. Since you are just being a people pleaser, you’re portraying a persona that is not you. So, do yourself a favor and LIVE YOUR LIFE the way you want to.
You might think you’re doing the “right” thing. But, if your decision makes you feel like crap or have any regret, is it worth it?
>>Related: My Top 3 Personal Growth Podcasts
Saying YES when you mean NO only hurts you
Once I began thinking with this mindset, it really let my people pleasing behaviors begin to shed away. Let me tell you from experience, it is SO FREEING!
Think about one specific time you said “yes,” smiling and nodding your head immediately after someone asked something of you.
But, as that’s happening you’re really thinking something along the lines of:
- “No, I don’t want to do that. I thought I was going to have a moment to [fill in the blank].” “I already have so much to do that day… how will I handle all of this?”
- “Why do they always ask me to do this? Can’t someone else get this done?”
Most times, we are left feeling overwhelmed. Our stress level rises and it immediately becomes a game of pointing fingers. You might get annoyed at the person who asked something of you. Unfortunately, this usually leads you to complain and moan about not wanting to do XYZ.
We usually make it someone else’s fault. But… really… it isn’t.
Remember that “NO” is an acceptable answer.
It is simple. When you say “yes” to something, you are sending that person a message that you WANT in. They cannot read your mind. So, when they ask you to do something again in the future, don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “Why me again?” Stop being a people pleaser! You have a choice!
When you commit to something someone asks of you, focus on who is making the decision. YOU. A question always has multiple answers, and “no” is always an option.
It does not mean you are a crappy friend, a lazy employee, or a horrible daughter. It just means that it is not what you desire, want, need at this point in your life. That is it! If the other person cannot digest that, it is on them…not you! You are not a horrible person.
Learn how to reprogram your thinking
Why are many of us programmed to be people pleasers?
Think about the messages we are sent as kids. Most of us are taught at a young age that when you say “no” you are not being polite.
Well, that is a bunch of garbage.
Actually, if you say “yes” all the time, it says much more negative things about you. It reveals that you don’t value your own time or desires. That you are willing to reshape your life to fit the needs and wants of others.
Bottom line: that is not genuine or authentic in any way.
You need to feel confident enough to live a life according to you. Stop worrying about what others will think of you if you choose to not:
- Go to that family function.
- Bake those cupcakes.
- Attend the party.
- Run those last minute errands.
- Make it to the group dinner.
If the choice doesn’t bring you happiness, is it worth it? That’s your decision.
When you start doing things that you want, it sends a message about what you value: YOURSELF!
Once you start doing this, your world will get much brighter and you will shine. Why? Because you are being your authentic self! You are focusing on YOUR OWN approval instead of someone else’s. That is true happiness at the core.
>>Related: 5 Reasons to Stop Worrying About the Future
Things to Remember When Saying “NO”
Listen to your gut.
When I find myself saying “yes” to things that don’t fill me up or things that leave me complaining, I remind myself to listen to my intuition. Corny…maybe. But, it never leads me down the wrong path. There is a reason it is telling you that you don’t want to say yes.
It is OK to be blunt.
Actually, I recommend sticking to this. It offers less of chance that you will try to over-explain yourself. You can answer, “No,” “No, thank you,” or simply “I don’t want to.” MOST people won’t ask for an explanation of why you can’t commit to something. And if they do, well…that is kind of rude. Besides that, know that saying “I have plans” or “I am busy” is ALWAYS ENOUGH.
Stick to being polite.
If you are a worry wart about someone thinking you are being rude (which, again, has nothing to do with you) add as much kindness as you can to your answer. Say something like, “Thank you so much! But, unfortunately I cannot attend.” Or, “It is so nice that you thought of me! But, I cannot take that on right now.”
Take your time!
If you need to…stall! Especially if you are new to this. It can be hard to just say “no.” Stop thinking you need to immediately commit to something. It is OK to tell someone you need to speak to your husband/wife, you need to check your schedule, or that you need to think about it. If they need an immediate answer, you can kindly say, “Unfortunately, I cannot commit to that if you need an immediate answer.” Really, most times people will be OK with that.
Seriously, it is a bad habit. If you cannot attend something or you don’t want to, that does not mean you did anything wrong. Usually, saying “sorry” will just lead to guilt, which feels just as bad as saying “yes” and dreading the commitment you made.
Take the Challenge!
If you made it this far down this post, I can almost bet you need some help being more intentional when people ask things of you. Well, here is your chance to start finding more fulfillment in your life.
This week, I dare you to say “no” to something that you really don’t want to freakin do! Ehh, maybe not to your boss… you probably need your job. But, if you have a co-worker, friend, family member, sibling, or even neighbor that ask something of you this week, listen to your gut.
If your gut ISN’T saying “yes!… I want that,” find a way to say “no.” You can choose how you want to answer. But, above all else, choose an answer that will allow you to honor yourself. Choose to get approval from WITHIN and begin to make choices that allow joy and happiness to overflow into your life.
Do you have any suggestions for people pleasers?
Let me know in the comments below!