Is being a People Pleaser a Good Thing?

In the freelance world, the value of one’s services depends on their relationship with clients: getting referrals, ranking higher in the recommendations, and pricing of the services.

Typically for a copywriter–and based on the contract– clients assign tasks when available. You may have several free days on weekdays, and then a client sends you urgent tasks as the weekend approaches.

Since you need to earn a good income and build a strong relationship with your clients, one tends to accept almost all tasks. This was me when I was starting out as a freelance writer.

I had difficulty finding time to work on other things because of a looming deadline, even on weekends. After all, I wanted to prove that I was more than able to deliver, no matter how packed my schedule would be.

Who is a people pleaser?

A people pleaser is one whom you can always count on for a favor: the most helpful people. They can never find it in themselves to say no. As a result, their needs come last in their list of priorities.

While it is okay to offer help to others, this behavior can quickly become unhealthy and toxic.

People pleasers often base their self-worth on the approval of others. Putting their desire for popularity, liking, being helpful— above the need to assert themselves.

When a concerned friend enquired why I was always busy, Monday to Sunday, I rationalized that it was my way of demonstrating to clients that they could rely on me.

He suggested that I should ‘Say No” some of the time. It didn’t make sense then; I was starting the freelancing journey and needed to build my client base.

Not yet totally convinced but bogged down by the immense work I was taking on, one day, I decided why not.

I informed all clients that weekends were “me time”: subtly conveyed, of course. To my relief and delight, they were all receptive.
Yes, weekdays are now pretty busy, but it makes the free time on the weekends worthwhile.


Do you have a healthy relationship with the word “No”? Assess yourself against the signs you’re a people pleaser.


Challenges Faced by People Pleasers

  1. Poor Management of Time

A people pleaser often interrupts their life, interests, desires and puts them in the back seat. With little time available to pursue their interests, one may become bitter.

Resentment may also arise when one feels that they should receive a higher level of praise, or thanks, than what was offered.

  1. Fake Relationships

Do your friends come through for you as you do them? A people pleaser attracts a large number of manipulative relationships.

The constant need for validation or feeling useful may also cause one to be continually in a financial crisis.

Feeling obliged to keep loaning out money, dishing it out as a contribution to different functions, and in turn, not being able to enjoy what one has toiled for.

And when in need of a bailout, they rarely get help.

  1. Dissatisfaction

A people pleaser may have little or no idea of what pleases them. Their interest and likes waver with the influence of others.

This habit could also lead to jealousy, especially if one realizes that another person received a higher commendation or better service than them.

When a people-pleaser meets an individual who is immune to their need for approval, it turns their world upside down. They need to be useful to someone.

  1. Lack of Identity

Since a people pleaser keeps mirroring others, you can never know who they truly are. Rather than share a conflicting interest, they would suppress it.

As they continually try to figure out what others want to hear or like, they subject themselves to mental fatigue; since this is an energy-consuming activity.

To recharge for the next day, one retreats into a cocoon of limited exploration and experience. This effort would have been put to better use in attaining self-actualization.


Though our egos cause us to yearn for approval and validation, the continuous anxiety from trying to please others eats at one’s self-esteem. It’s essential to create boundaries—asserting yourself— even as you build up your confidence and identity.

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