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  • Judy Sims

4 Sneaky People-Pleasing Behaviors You Might Be Missing


We all want to be liked. It's a natural human desire to build positive connections with others. But sometimes, the line between being kind and considerate and becoming a chronic people-pleaser gets blurry.

People-pleasing behaviors can be subtle and ingrained, making them hard to identify. You might be sabotaging your own well-being without even realizing it.

Here are four sneaky people-pleasing behaviors you might be engaging in:

1. Mindreading:

People-pleasers often believe they need to anticipate others' needs and desires. They might jump into complete tasks, take on responsibility that isn’t theirs, or secretly work behind the scenes, doing work no one knows about or gives them credit for.

Why it's Sneaky: This behavior can be rooted in a fear of conflict or disapproval. You might believe others won't express their needs directly, so you take the initiative (often inaccurately). Often, the lack of recognition received for these sneaky people pleasing behaviors leads to resentment, and feelings of not being seen.

Break Free: Develop open communication. Ask clarifying questions before jumping in. Trust that people can communicate their needs directly.


2. Apologizing:

Women are often socialized to be peacemakers and prioritize the feelings of others. You may apologize for disagreeing, for winning, or for asserting yourself. The apology is used to de-escalate the situation, smooth things over, or make yourself less threatening to another person.

Why it's Sneaky: This behavior is a form of conflict avoidance. It comes from a contractive state, makes us smaller, and ultimately doesn’t solve anything.   

Break Free: Reserve apologies for situations where you're genuinely at fault. Acknowledge inconveniences without excessive self-blame.


3. Hiding Opinions:

People-pleasers often prioritize agreement and harmony over expressing their own thoughts. They might downplay their opinions or completely avoid voicing them to prevent disagreements.

Why it's Sneaky: This behavior can be rooted in a fear of being disliked or causing conflict. It is contractive and makes us smaller.

Break Free: Develop healthy assertiveness skills. Learn to politely express your perspective and engage in respectful debates.


4. Being a Chameleon:

People-pleasers might morph their personalities and interests to fit in with different social circles. They might downplay their true selves to avoid rejection. Examples include becoming “one of the boys” in a male dominated environment, engaging in venting, gossiping and other negative behaviors, or feigning interest/excitement for things you just don’t care about.

Why it's Sneaky: This behavior can be fueled by a fear of being seen as different or unacceptable.

Break Free: Embrace your individuality! Surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are.

Remember, being kind and considerate is admirable. However, chronic people-pleasing can lead to resentment, burnout, and a loss of self-worth. By recognizing these sneaky behaviors, you can learn to set healthy boundaries, prioritize your needs, and build stronger, more authentic relationships.

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