How to stop being a people pleaser

What is a People Pleaser?

While often mistaken for being genuinely generous, kind, and helpful, People Pleasers (those with People Pleasing Syndrome) are not quite as authentic as they seem.

A People Pleaser is a person who prioritizes helping others, making other people happy, and being seen as a good person, not just because it’s the right thing to do morally, but because it’s the best strategy for getting acceptance, love and approval.

People Pleasers are fixated on what others are thinking and feeling, they’re hyper-sensitive to the judgments and moods of everyone around them. This is because they are constantly scanning for ways to manage other people to a) like the People Pleaserm more, and b) feel happy, safe and calm around the them.

He’s that guy who insists on giving you a lift to the airport inconveniently late at night even though you can afford a taxi.

She’s that girl at work who never says No and always offers to help even when she’s busy. 

He’s that guy in your friend circle who seems to have no problem paying for everyone’s drinks to the point where it’s unfair on him.

She’s that mother who desperately cleans up her house before guests arrive even despite being exhausted from taking care of sick kids all week.

He’s that father who allows his parents to give the kids treats even though it’s almost time for their dinner.

She’s that friend who always drops everything when you’re having a drama and comes running to the rescue.

People Pleasers prioritize the comfort, happiness, health, safety, and general relaxation of other people over themselves (and even over their own loved ones). They avoid conflict, sacrifice themselves for others, hide their true thoughts and feelings when they’re negative, and generally feel ashamed of themselves for never being good enough.

Why do people become pleasers?

People Pleasing Syndrome has its roots in childhood trauma, as do all major long-term psychological issues.

Generally, there is some kind of fearful social environment in the child’s life, be it at home or at school or maybe everywhere. Often, this involves the judgments and emotions of other people being deemed a threat to the child; a threat that must be actively managed.

It can be an emotionally unstable mother; or a cold-hearted, hard-to-please father. It can be bullies at school. It can be a single teacher who for some reason is unreasonably hard on this one child in the class.

It can even be vicarious, like watching too much television and being conditioned into thinking that people are only loved if they’re successful and make others feel good all the time.

Whatever it is, the child finds it so painful and confusing that they’re forced to come up with a strategy to minimize it and hopefully prevent it.

Pleasing people is an effective strategy for a child or teen who has yet to develop self-confidence and critical thinking skills. 

If you’re talented, you can please people with achievements. If you’re socially intuitive, you can please people with humor or emotional support. If you’re physically gifted, you can please people with sporting success, good looks, or even violence.

The key backstory to People Pleasing Syndrome is that a traumatic experience is relieved by impressing or satisfying other people, and this strategy sticks… well past its used-by date!

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What kind of behaviors are people pleasing?

Nearly every people pleasing behavior can also be deemed as healthy behavior, or at least normal everyday human flaws. It can be hard to tell what counts.

The key is in the WHY. The motive for doing it makes all the difference.

Are you doing it just because it’s the right thing to do and you have no attachment to how other people feel about it? Or are you mostly doing it because you know it will provoke approval and validation from others, even if you also think it’s the right thing to do?

Helping someone can either be because you get a sense of satisfaction from contributing to the world, or it can be a desperate attempt to prove that you’re a good person.

Making people laugh can be a playful interaction with the world, born of honesty and enlightened perspective, or it can be a needy manipulation that forces other people to think of you as a funny person that they want to be around.

Giving advice can be a professional service provided by experienced practitioners, or it can be an attempt to control how other people live so that they feel dependent on you.

If you’re still not sure if what you’re doing is coming from a healthy place – and many of you won’t be because you’ve spent your whole life convincing yourself that this behavior is just “who I am” – then check out this video on how to know the difference:

How to stop being a people pleaser

Alright, enough foreplay. 

If by this point you’ve established that you are indeed a People Pleaser, or you’ve at least identified those times when you switch into people pleasing mode, here are some corrective exercises that will stop your people pleasing while simultaneously building your confidence, self-respect, and quality of social connections.

Mostly, it’s about being more honest and prioritizing your own needs.

My number one tip to stop people pleasing is to be completely honest about your preferences. This means always show whether you’re for or against whatever options are currently being presented. Always make it known what your ideal situation is, even if you don’t fight for it.

This video covers this technique in much more detail:

You also need to start saying No a lot more than you say Yes. You need to be clear about your priorities and then make decisions ruthlessly according to those.

If your family comes first, for example, then you must tell friends that they can’t come over if your children are feeling down and need some love from you right now.

If your health is more important than your job, then you need to say No to your boss’s request for overtime.

If your journey of self-development is a high priority for you, then you need to resist the offers from friends to get drunk on the weekends. 

Make a list of your priorities, and ensure that you behave according to their rankings. Do less rather than more, and let things go wrong and let people get upset if needed to make sure you do what matters rather than doing everything.

Obviously, this means that a lot of recovering from people pleasing is about having confrontations and boundaries. This is where the rubber meets the road for stopping being a people pleaser.

People Pleasers are generally falsely agreeable. They avoid causing a fuss or a conflict when they know that their opinions, feelings or preferences would rub against someone else’s.

Confrontation is where you express your truth even though you feel like it will be met with resistance. If you can do this every time it comes up, you can rest assured that you’re no longer a People Pleaser.

It means you let people feel uncomfortable, awkward, upset, disappointed, offended, confused, angry, bored, frustrated, sad, rejected, and anything else that is caused in reaction to your truth.

Just let it out and let them react.

So in summary, speak out about your preferences and don’t pretend that you’re cool with whatever; prioritise your own needs even if it inconveniences others; and stand up for yourself and what you believe no matter how emotionally messy it gets.

Then you’ll be a confident and authentic person, and trust me: people will love you even more!

How you can make massive progress in just a few months!

You can do all this on your own.

Through trial and error, books, courses and online content, you can figure it out slowly piece by piece over time if you dedicate yourself to it and are willing to fail often and get uncomfortable in order to achieve social mastery and build strong self confidence.


You can work directly with me in your corner for a short period of time and achieve the same results in months that would take you YEARS on your own (or your money back!).

That’s what my confidence coaching is really all about. I accelerate your progress significantly by ensuring you:

  • Overcome your fear of rejection
  • Stop seeing yourself as not good enough
  • Develop easy practical social communication skills while still being honest
  • Unleash your masculinity to make you more assertive and attractive
  • Increase your self-confidence and self-respect
  • Get advanced practical tips to eliminate self-sabotage and give you the best possible chances at career advancement, dating opportunities, and deep connections with quality friends
  • Help you see your blind spots and errors and develop a measurement system that you can use on your own to ensure ongoing improvement for life

It took me about 7-10 years to figure this stuff out on my own. It takes my average coaching client only about 3-6 months to achieve a level of mastery that leaves them able to continue coaching themselves to further success while feeling absolutely certain that they’re on the right path (proven by the results they get).

I’ve turned virgins into fathers.

I’ve created assertive leaders out of meek people pleasers.

I’ve released overthinkers so they become powerfully decisive.

I’ve transformed shy introverts into social connectors.

I’ve moved highly anxious and depressed guys into a world of permanent self-confidence and optimism.

You don’t need to take my word for it. You can test it out for yourself. Fill out the application form below for a FREE trial coaching session with no obligation to continue, and no sales pitch!

My coaching will either blow you away and convince you that it’s worth it, or you’ll simply spend an hour talking to me without losing anything.

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Thanks for reading

Hope to speak to you soon

Dan Munro


Wanna escape Nice Guy Syndrome and become a confident authentic man? Take my social confidence quiz now to receive free advanced content:

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