Serving people and being a people pleaser is not the same thing. Pleasing yourself first brings an abundance of joy and energy that can be used to serve others. When you light the internal flame you can shine your light on family, friends and community. People pleasing habits conversely snuff the inner light and you end up burned out and unable to serve anyone.

If you are not quite sure what people pleasing might look like in your own life, here are 30 characteristics of a chronic, ingrained people pleaser…

The perpetual people pleaser…
1. Avoids asking for, and accepting, help.
2. Is not clear on what they want.
3. Choose nice and perfect over happiness.
4. Automatically Says YES when they want to NO.
5. Experiences exhaustion from trying to be "perfect."
6. Is baffled by self-kindness.
7. Thinks that if they "do" the right thing they will be "accepted" or "loved."
8. Strives heroically to please strangers while neglecting loved ones.
9. Fear risk or that they might be wrong.
10. Bankrupts themselves because they feel undeserving.
11. Overprovides.
12. Says "I’m sorry" when no apology is necessary.
13. Believe others’ happiness is their responsibility.
14. Does more than their share.
15. Chooses to be nice over being real.
16. Swallows true desires and feelings.
17. Never has enough time.
18. Lives with irritability because of constant pressure.
19. Tries to control everything for everyone with no regard for his or her self.
20. Defends unhappy, self-centered, controlling people so they can feel better about themselves.
21. Replays conversations and events imagining how things would be different if I-did-this-and-they-did-that.
22. Criticizes themselves about everything.
23. Is unable to accept compliments from others.
24. Lacks problem-solving abilities.
25. Feels shame for what they perceive as failures to make others happy.
26. Seeks appreciation from other people.
27. Declines to share their own opinion.
28. Worries that one day they will be "found out" and people will discover they are unworthy, unskilled and untalented.
29. Hides their light, opting for a bland personality instead of appearing unique, or challenging.
30. Wonders why they get so little respect and everyone takes advantage of them.

We are hardwired to give. But in order to have impact and live fulfilling lives we first have to see how we are giving our power away. It starts by recognizing how chronic, people pleasing shows up in our lives. Not thinking about our "people pleasing" tendencies is a common avoidance tactic, or we might even think of it as kind of "endearing."

All I can say is that I have coached hundreds of people who have let their need to please ruin aspects of their lives, from their health, to finances and careers, or even their relationships.

One reason the need to please can be so destructive is because it is based on fear, the fear of not pleasing, rejection, feeling lonely and isolated. It will get worse with time because that fear will intensify as your people pleasing tendencies continue.

Another reason to identify your people pleasing and heal it is because it teaches others by your example that "people need to be nice and perfect to be loved." In other words you’re saying that there is no such thing as unconditional love and that love has to be earned by what you say or do for others.

One final thing to consider about being a person, who pleases others, is that you attract personal and business relationships with people who tend to be unhappy, self-absorbed, and controlling. Very few of the people you try to please will respect you as a person, instead they tend to take advantage of your "niceness."

To learn more about the need to be nice, contact Vickie Champion for a complimentary coaching and consulting session.

Author's Bio: 

Vickie Champion is a business coach, consultant, and life coach who is committed to helping people listen and trust their intuition and achieve their dreams. She has coached as many as 54 concurrent clients on a one-to-one basis and has given over 750 classes and workshops. For more information visit her at or call her at 480-838-9866.