People Pleasers NEED to Read!

Stop being a people pleaser today

I don't like hurting people's feelings. And I’m always trying to be liked by everyone, to my own detriment. When someone has a problem with me, I immediately wonder why, because I never intentionally upset people. While dealing with other people, I remain honest and respectful. It's important to treat people as you wish to be treated. However, being too nice to everyone has led me down a darker path, from which I have had difficulty escaping for many years now. People often call me a people pleaser, or an obliger. 

Obligers are individuals who follow requests from others and get things done when held accountable by others. I'm more of a giver than a taker. To satisfy other’ desires, I put my needs and wants on hold. At times, it can be unhealthy. Being nice to others is good, but when you notice someone is taking advantage of you, resentment can grow inside of you. I have experienced this same situation over and over again. 

Middle school was the beginning of my obliger attitude. As I mentioned before, I was a quiet kid. This gave people an opportunity to ask me whatever they wanted or needed from me. It was common for people to copy my homework so they wouldn't get in trouble for not doing it. 

Several of my friends would give me their homework. I remember that one of my friends specifically asked me to help her write a paper. The first sentence was barely written. I finished it for her. I didn't want people to think that I was mean or nasty, so I never stood up for myself. My main motivation was fitting in - I wanted friends who would have my back just as I did theirs. But it was always one-sided. I would not have picked on them for the things they teased me about.  And they never helped me out like I helped them. 

I recently reflected on why I always say yes to people, even when I want to say no. I noticed that it has everything to do with self-worth. In middle and high school, I had extremely low self-esteem. Since I was a quiet student and barely spoke to anyone, I always felt awkward. I felt different because I was an African American girl attending a predominantly white school. The fact that I was a black girl who loved pop-singer Justin Bieber instead of rappers such as Drake or Lil Wayne made me feel different. 

Even though there were relatively few black students at the school, they always got upset with me for loving Justin Bieber instead of other artists. I felt like I was standing outside a box containing stereotypes of what a black girl should like and enjoy. My school experience was always one of being on the outside observing everyone else. Until I graduated high school, I never truly accepted myself as a person. 

These days, I am learning to accept myself for who I am. Despite my quiet demeanor, I have a lot to offer. I learn quickly. I am a very intelligent individual. I have a lot of creative ideas. When I feel unworthy, I have to remind myself of these things. Don't say the things you can't do, say the things you can. Identify why people admire you. 

My selflessness is admired, which is a good thing, but you need to know when to be selfish too. People shouldn't walk all over you, especially if it's obvious that's what they're doing. Knowing when to say no is essential, and it's okay to do so. There is no need to do what others want you to do all the time. Consider what makes you happy rather than what makes someone else happy. 


Written by: Audre Arnett

Instagram: @infinityaudreee

2 comments


  • Autumn

    I understand completely! It feels awful knowing what I do and still doing it over and over again. I just feel bad if I try to stop and be “selfish” as people call it when all I’m really doing is taking care of myself. I usually never do because I’m worried about others. It sucks.


  • Brenda

    I can relate. I realized at 16 that I couldn’t make everybody happy, just an impossibility, so I should focus on making me happy. That doesn’t stop the instinct to please people, avoid conflict, but over the years I became better and better at saying sorry, but I can’t… I’m glad you are too.


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