Skip to content

People Pleasing

  • Depression School: How to Stop People Pleasing

Why People Please

  • satisfies fundamental human needs
    • purpose & helpfulness
    • connection
    • pleasure (praise)
    • avoids conflict
  • personality traits
    • empathetic, caring, helpful
    • low self esteem
  • learned behaviour
    • childhood
      • do what people want => praise
      • don't do what people want => punishment, yelling, anger
    • parents: toxic relationships
      • unable to care about your needs
      • blames you for everything
      • I believed them

## Costs of People Pleasing * exhaustion & burnout * trying to do too much * triggers depression * I get used * No one knows the real me * not even me * supressing emotions * built-up unhealthly emotions * resentment, sadness, shame, frustration, guilt * not living in line with values * example: pursuing a career path your parents want

## How to Stop People Pleasing

  • affirmations
  • mindfulness
    • graittude
    • self-compassion
    • remindrs of how strong you are


  • My identity isn't defined by the reactions of others
  • I know I’m a good person, and other people’s reactions to my boundaries don’t change that
  • Saying “no” does not change my worth
  • Saying “no” is essential for my mental health
  • I’m not solely responsible for another person’s happiness
  • I deserve to have my needs, wants and values met
  • If someone doesn’t like the real me, then they’re not worth being friends with
  • People pleasing is dangerous, because it eventually leads me to feel tired and burnt out.
  • Implementing boundaries to protect myself means that I’m later able to be more helpful, caring and supportive
  • I’m a strong person who can get through anything
  • I will not feel guilty for protecting myself
  • I can't be everything to everyone – and that’s OK

Thought Challenging Exercises

  1. What Evidence Is There To Suggest That The Negative Thought I’m Having Is False?
  2. Is There A More Positive, Less Self Critical Way That I Could Be Viewing This Situation Or Circumstance?
  3. If A Friend Was In My Position, Would I Be Telling Them The Same Negative, Critical Things That I'm Currently Telling Myself?
  4. Reminders of Long-Term Benefits of Boundaries
  5. Am I filter thinking?
    • Filtering out all the times you said “yes” to doing a favour for someone, focusing on the one time you said “no,” and then consequently concluding that you’re unhelpful.
  6. Someone Has A Negative Reaction To My Boundaries: What Does That Say About them?
  7. What would my "Dream self" do in this scenario?


  • time
    • I'd be hapy to help — but I'm only free from ____
  • how you feel
    • I'm feeling exhausted, I can't help right now, I can help tomorrow
  • Preferences: I don't want to play games
    • it doesn't recharge me when I play games, can we something else that we both enjoy? another game?
  • Values
    • I’m more than willing to help my friends out when they’d like me to,
      • but in return, I expect them to be appreciative
        • not to just use me and take my support for granted
        • if that’s how they’re going to behave, then they don’t deserve my help or friendship
    • I have no room for toxic people in my life,
  • Topics of conversation
    • can we talk about this?

Default answer => stall * I can't commit righ tnow * let me get back to you at this time _

Response when they're defensive

  • can you please stop yelling?
    • that's not true!??
    • response
  • getting angry
    • it's manipulative to be angry when I say no to them
    • they can only be angry at themselves
  • manipulative
    • "you week wasn't that bad"
    • response: I feel the way that I feel
  • guilt-trip
    • If you loved me, you'd do this for me
      • I shouldn’t have to do something that I’m not comfortable doing just to prove my love for you
    • this is the thanks I get for everything I've done for you?
      • Response now: I'm grateful for everything you've done, just can't right now, I can help later tomorrow when I have more energy
      • I shouldn't do something that I’m not comfortable doing just to prove that I’m grateful to you.
  • blaming you
    • "I have to spend $75 on a taxi because of you"
    • I am busy, if you want my help, you really need to give me more notice

What will the consequences be if they keep on crossing you boundaries?

  • partner keeps on criticizing you => end the relationship
  • mom keeps on stressing me out => I'll move out

Last update: 2023-04-24