What does it mean to be a People Pleaser? Well, as a recovering People Pleaser myself, I can tell you. People Pleasers have an almost insatiable need to be liked by others and are overly concerned with what people think of them. We can also be afraid of not meeting the expectations that we perceive others have of us and then disappointing these people. If you are a People Pleaser, you can be agreeable to a fault, not actually expressing your true opinions and instead going with the flow or adopting the popular opinions for the sake of not rocking the boat. 

What are the negative effects of being a People Pleaser? When you are in people pleasing mode, you are not acting in accordance with who you truly are as a person. This is because you are ignoring the very important information your intuition is giving you. As a result, you experience varying levels of stress, anxiety, or even complete burn-out. Your self-confidence suffers because you operate from a place of dis-empowerment. Resentment towards others can build because you are not taking care of your own needs. People pleasers can also be risk adverse, which leads to feeling “stuck” in your career or life. You are not acting as an authentic leader because you lack sufficient boundaries, transparency, and courage.

What is the greatest benefit of letting go of the People Pleaser mindset? When your inner needs are met and you are leading and giving to others from a place of inner fulfillment, you will have more meaningful energy to give. This means you will be a more fully present and effective leader, colleague, parent, and friend.

3 Ways to Squash Your Inner People Pleaser

1. Address more of your needs than the needs of others on a daily basis.
Make a list of your actions from the day. Your list addressing your own needs should be longer– or contain more substantial & meaningful items– than those things that address the needs of others. If addressing the needs of others outweigh your own, what can you do tomorrow to make sure you nurture more of your own needs?

2. Increase Your Awareness by Taking a People Pleasing Inventory.
Figure out what your triggers are for having a people pleasing relapse. Certain people? Environments? At work more than in your personal life? Count how many times you people please in a day. Awareness is the key step in getting rid of your inner People Pleaser.

3. Play the Disappointment game: Disappoint someone every day.
Now I am not suggesting that you go out and intentionally be a jerk. When you are acting in accordance with your own needs, expressing your own opinions, and setting your boundaries, you are actually being kind to both yourself and others. So, you might unintentionally “disappoint” someone along the way even when you do so in a kind way. Practice being ok with this.

Keep this in mind: On your way to People Pleasing recovery, make sure you do not apologize for things that do not warrant an apology. People pleasing comes with lots of “so sorry, but’s” especially when you are in the process of taking actions to stop people pleasing. Do not say “sorry” to anyone unless you truly need to ask for forgiveness.

Watch my recent Live TV Interview on People Pleasing HERE


  • Adrienne Partridge, Ph.D

    Leadership & Career Coach

    Adrienne Partridge, Ph.D -- Leadership & Career Coach--is on a mission to accelerate the growth and advancement of leaders and for the companies in which they work. A self-proclaimed data nerd and fact-finder coupled with a mischievous and curious spirit, Dr. Partridge has an uncanny ability to unleash and develop the authentic leader within individuals. She coaches individuals experiencing career transitions and specializes in developing and coaching high-potential female leaders. By coaching leaders to discover and develop their authentic leadership style, Dr. Partridge guides her clients to reflect and act as the best version of themselves in their careers and lives. This increases their efficiency, influence, and visibility as leaders. Dr. Partridge works with corporate teams to optimize team performance, productivity, and innovation. She facilitates individual and group leadership coaching programs and workshops. Certified in a variety of personality, leadership, and career assessments, Dr. Partridge leverages her ability to interpret the results in her coaching and consulting work. Dr. Partridge also has a special interest and expertise in coaching women who want to go back to work or have recently returned to work after stay-at-home motherhood. Her doctoral dissertation, From career woman to stay-at-home mother and back again: Understanding the choices mothers make, examined mother’s decisions and experiences related to career transitions and family situation. She earned her Ph.D in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Partridge is a regular contributor on TV as Fox31 Denver’s Personal Growth Expert on Colorado’s Everyday Show. She writes for The Huffington PostThrive Global, and is also a columnist for Inc. Magazine, writing a column called "Growth Through Authentic Leadership". She has also been featured in U.S. News & Report. Dr. Partridge is based out of Boulder, Colorado and is an avid skier, road biker, and lover of the outdoors.