3 reasons why people pleasing leads to unhealthy relationships

People pleasing can be such a tricky challenge to master. This is because it can be confused with things that are beneficial for our relationships.

As a people pleaser, you care about your relationships with the people in your life. You pour a lot of energy into being kind to others. It's really important to you how other people feel.

Surely that makes your relationships with others better not worse, right?

Unfortunately, that's not *quite* the case and I'm here to tell you 3 reasons why.

#1 - There is always going to be an imbalance of power

As a people pleaser, it's likely that your ultimate fear is being rejected or abandoned. People leaving you is the worst-case scenario.

Therefore, you're going to spend a lot of time and energy ensuring that this doesn't happen.

In healthy relationships, the goal is to support the other person and have open communication. This simply isn't possible when you're a people pleaser because those things could risk a loss of the relationship if the other person isn't on board.

The other person holds a lot of the power because they can walk away at any time.

They might not even be aware of the power they hold over you. However, it will still affect the balance of the relationship even if neither party is aware of it.

In healthy relationships, both of you are equal. You both contribute to the connection and there's room for both of your needs and desires.

When you're a people pleaser, it's unlikely that you'll have experienced that within your relationships.

#2 - Skills that contribute to a healthy relationship are impossible

Healthy relationships require a pretty skilled approach. I have no shame in admitting I'm still learning a lot about this topic.

While I won't go into everything that's required to build a happy, healthy relationship here, some of the key skills that are needed are super difficult for anyone that struggles with people pleasing.

Setting boundaries, asking for what you need and saying no are all behaviours that are either totally alien to people pleasers or they avoid them at all costs.

You might assume that people will react badly if you set boundaries or say no. You could be totally unaware of what your needs are. All of this can contribute to you carrying on in your relationships in the same way rather than risking rocking the boat.

It's totally understandable to feel this way and as a recovering people pleaser myself - I know exactly how helpless it can feel!

But I want you to know that it's going to be pretty much impossible to have authentic and supportive relationships while holding onto the urge to please everyone.

Think about how you can open yourself up to the idea of you releasing those people pleasing tendencies AND having better relationships with those in your life.

They actually work hand in hand, despite what your fear might be telling you.

#3 - You're not able to show up as your full, authentic self

The word authentic is so overused at this point (don't worry, even I did an eye-roll when I typed out this subheading) - BUT it really does describe what life is like on the other side of people pleasing.

Right now you might be constantly analysing your behaviour.

Did I say something that could have upset them?

They're not interested in your opinion, no point in sharing it.

Ooft they seem annoyed, I must have done something.

You're always checking what reaction you're getting and filtering out the parts of you that don't seem to fit into the relationship.

First of all, if that's you - I see you and I know it's a draining way to live.

Second of all, the people in your life want to know the real you. Some of them might actually be really upset if you revealed all the times you said yes when you didn't want to or held back from sharing your thoughts with them.

The people you have in your life are adults and you don't need to water yourself down in order to make them comfortable.

If they have any problems, they can raise them with you and discuss them. You don't need to pre-empt issues or assume they're there when they're not.

Your friends and family want to see all the glorious parts of you that make you YOU.

And you deserve to connect with people in a real, deep way and get the support you need.

It is scary to be fully yourself and stop trying to be someone else or the "perfect" version of you - but it's so so worth it.


So there you have it!

I hope at this point - you've come to realise that people pleasing is hindering your relationships, not helping them.

If you're ready to experience healthy relationships and leave people pleasing behind for good - this is exactly what I help my 1:1 clients with on my coaching programme Rediscovering You. Find out more here.

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