The Positive Side of Medicine

5 Warning Signs You’re a People Pleaser and Don’t Know It

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5 Warning Signs You're a People Pleaser and Don't Know It

5 Warning Signs You’re a People Pleaser and Don’t Know It

It so happens that a highly agreeable personality that aims to please everyone is more common than you might think. There is nothing wrong, or course, with optimists and people who strive to please others; however, constantly avoiding conflict and not being able to say “no” may become problematic. Others may see your kindness as weakness, thereby labeling you as a pushover who can be taken advantage of. Another problem you may encounter is coming to grips with the realization that you can’t realistically please everyone, a situation that may derail into depression. Another problem you may encounter as a people pleaser is having to come to grips with the realization that you can’t realistically please everyone, a situation that may lead depression. In 2008, clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, PhD. wrote a three-part study on what he described as the “people-pleasing” syndrome, which entails masking the symptoms of depression through excessive attempts at societal acceptance.

The following five signs may be indicative of your inclination towards pleasing people more than necessary:

1 – You Avoid Conflict At All Costs

Being a skilled conflict resolution expert is a skill, but being a skilled conflict avoidant is a liability. If you are always trying to escape the tough situations that life puts you in, you will not be able to learn the valuable experience that comes from bringing a conflict to a satisfying conclusion.

2 – Saying No Is Hard To Do

If the fear of disappointing someone interferes with your life, you will eventually disappoint yourself. If your fear of saying no begins to interfere with your life, you may have to consider changing your people pleasing ways.

3 – It’s Not Hard For You To Say You’re Sorry

People pleasers often find themselves saying “I’m sorry” for just about any little mishap. While this is a polite trait, it may actually work against you in the long run. When your relatives, friends and associates come to the conclusion that you apologize for everything, they may think that you are not as sincere as you claim to be.

4 – Explanations, Explanations

We live in a time when information is readily and constantly available at our fingertips. If you are too fond of providing detailed and informative explanations as to why you are not able to do something, this may end up exasperating those around you. The problem with over-explaining is that it actually exacerbates self-guilt, which can turn into depression.

5 – You Aim to Please Too Much

The problem with living to please others is that it becomes your life. This noble trait may consume you when someone you tried to help is not fully satisfied, or when those who are close to you are not in any need of help, a situation that may make you anxious.

What do you think ? Do you or anyone you know suffer from the “people pleasing syndrome” ? If so, share this post.

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Dwayne Godwin is a neuroscientist at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Jorge Cham draws the comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper at www.phdcomics.com.

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