5 Ways People Pleasing Is Dangerous To Your Health

Wait, you might be thinking. How can being nice to people be hazardous to your health?

In today’s society, being nice and pleasant is taught to us from a young age. It seems to be quite rare that people actually see any problem with it.

Take it from an ex-people pleaser. This is the worst self-destructive behaviour you can engage in. Unless you stop it, it will slowly consume you.

Here’s five unfortunate side effects of being a people pleaser. Do you recognize yourself?

1. You Never Have Enough Time

So here’s the first indicator of being a people pleaser. Your schedule is always full. If you don’t have 2-3 hours per day reserved for yourself (or for yourself with your family), we have a problem.

How did this happen?

The number one people pleasing behavior is the inability to say NO. This means you take on all the responsibility you possibly can and more. You work harder than anyone else to show everyone how good you are. Your to-do list is full of tasks and errands for other people. Your own tasks come last, but you rarely get to do them.

Even if you do manage to get through most of your to-do list, you don’t give yourself credit.

You’re stressed, angry, tired and yet – nobody seems to appreciate how nice and hardworking you are.

Sound familiar? Let’s move on.

2. You’re Plagued By Perfectionism

Having trouble getting projects finished? Maybe that business you wanted to start is dragging on its heels because you can’t seem to get that landing page finished. Or that blog post written.

You want it just perfect before you can publish.

People pleasers are notorious for their perfectionism. Imagine living in a world where you must get the approval of everyone you know (and everyone you don’t know). You so desperately want to please them with your product, that you could never release it unless it’s at least 110% perfect.

So you don’t. It’s much easier keeping it secret than facing the possibility of someone criticizing your masterpiece.

3. People Abuse Your Pleasing Behaviour

This is a difficult one, and I want everyone reading this to know that I write this with all the love.

A few of my friends have been in abusive relationships.

Guess what. Those few have been very nice people. So nice that they were perfect prey for an abusive person.

This was accentuated by their tendency to value others’ opinions and wellbeing more than their own.

Their avoidance of conflict and disapproval.

People pleasing leads you to be nice and serve others, so that you completely disregard your own value and humanity. Sooner or later, this will attract abusive people. And they will take advantage of a person like that.

It may be something innocent. Like making the people pleaser clean up after lunch.

It may be something thoroughly abhorrent. Like sexually abusing the nice kid at the party.

edit: I got some feedback for this particular section, and I believe I’ve now adjusted the text to more accurately reflect my view on the issue. Let me just underline that I do NOT blame victims of abuse. Even though we can often see people pleasing behavior in victims of abuse, that does not mean that people pleasers themselves should be blamed or held responsible for ending up in such situations.

I would actually argue that a people pleaser is already a victim of abuse, because they’ve been conditioned to behave this way. Which again, they can not be fully responsible for.

This text is meant to shine a light on a possible reason (and a way out) if you find yourself always in toxic relationships.

Thanks Heidi for pointing out the flaw in my thinking here.

4. You Treat Relationships as Transactions

You’ve been treating everyone else so nicely, so surely at some point you deserve some payback. Your niceness-credit is surely through the roof now, right?

But payback never comes. Nobody ever seems to be as nice to you as you are to them.

You grow resentful. Angry. You don’t entirely understand why people just don’t repay your kindness.

Meanwhile, other people aren’t even aware you’re feeling this way. Actually, a lot of people feel uncomfortable about your continuous niceness and would love for you to ease off a bit.

This sort of transactory behavior is common with the “nice guy.” He’s the person I used to be. I used to be friends with girls and do all sorts of nice things for them, and sometimes with them. Never anything sexual though. But in my heart, I always hoped they would realize how nice I am and let me have all of their breasts.

But they never did. I felt I never got paid for my niceness.

I’m so glad I know better now. A lot of guys still don’t understand.

5. Your Self Image Is Rotten

Somewhat related to the previous point, you feel like you are defined by what you do.

Makes sense at first, but wait. Just think about what that means.

People pleasers think that nice people do nice things, and nasty people do nasty things. This sort of fundamental misunderstanding of how identity works usually comes from an unfortunate childhood.

My parents used to treat me well when I was nice. They treated me badly when I wasn’t nice. Sometimes they treated me badly even when I thought I was being nice. So I did my best to behave super-nicely so I could get love, even occasionally.

For a long time, I behaved super-nicely because I thought that was the way to get love.

You can probably see a lot of issues arising from this sort of flawed connection between action and being.

A people pleaser avoids conflict at all costs, because they don’t want to be someone who creates conflicts.

A people pleaser doesn’t act according to self-interests, because they don’t want to be selfish.

A people pleaser acts nice, because they think that’s what gets them love.

How to Get Past People Pleasing

Did you recognize yourself in any of these points? Maybe one of your friends or family? Look, this behavior comes from a desire to do good. I get it. People pleasers are not bad people. Not at all.

But it’s gonna destroy you.

Join me in our Facebook Group for a 3 hour training on how to get past people pleasing! (Link in comments)


Jay Pitkänen

Head coach at Rat Race Maverick, and moonlight marketer. Connoisseur of Cabernet Sauvignon. Spot him driving a Jaguar or Corvette at high speeds over long distances.

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