As you know by now, the cost of living here in Australia is rising. And we’re all for looking at — and ideally, adopting — ways we can fight it.
Enter a personality trait that could not only be costing you heaps but isn’t ideal to live with anyway: people pleasing.
“People pleasing can refer to behaviours whereby a person puts another’s needs and wants ahead of their own,” says Mary Spillane, clinical psychologist and mental health expert at Headspace app.
“It goes beyond just wanting to be nice to people. People pleasers can often feel quite distressed when they perceive someone is unhappy with them.”
So, how can people pleasing be costing you money, you might ask? Well, the behaviour might result in you regularly shouting people coffees and meals, regularly lending people money or saying yes to and then spending money on events you didn’t want to go to, but felt like you’d be disappointing someone if you didn’t.
Any of these ringing true for you? Ahead, we share some of the top-line info you need to know about people pleasing, including, most importantly, how to stop it.
Signs of People Pleasing
Think you might be a people pleaser? While it’s not a condition that can be officially diagnosed, some signs of it include having difficulty saying ‘no’ or asking for something, feeling frequently worried about what others think of you, having difficulty making decisions and feeling high distress when others are unhappy with you.
Causes of People Pleasing
If you suspect you’re a people pleaser, one of the most important things you can do to combat it is to understand why you’re doing it in the first place — and then working with a therapist or doing self-reflective work to understand to correct those thoughts.
“People pleasing can be caused by wanting to fit in, fearing rejection or judgement, not dealing well with conflict or strong emotions, or having anxiety or other mental health reasons,” says Spillane.
Effects of People Pleasing
While people pleasing itself isn’t inherently negative, it can have some negative consequences. When you people please, you risk not getting your own needs met, feelings of shame and guilt when someone is upset and feeling as though you need to constantly change yourself to keep others happy, says Spillane.
Ways to Stop People Pleasing
Finally, if you suspect you’re people pleasing, what can you do to stop? We already mentioned understanding the root of the problem and correcting the faulty thinking, but another way is to start putting your own needs and wants first in small ways that aren’t too confronting to begin with before graduating to doing it in bigger, more important situations.
She also suggests developing your self-compassion through compassion meditations you can find on the Headspace app or, again, with the help of a therapist. “This can help us to foster a kindness towards ourselves, just as we are.”