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Are you people pleasing or being kind? Signs You May Be a People Pleaser

admin - January 23, 2023 - 0 comments

For many, distinguishing between people pleasing and being nice or kind can be a challenge. It’s not uncommon for someone to engage in people pleasing behavior without even realizing it, as the roots of that behavior often lie in insecurity and fear. In contrast, being nice or kind is a genuine act of generosity without any expectations attached. Let’s dig deeper into this topic to understand why the distinction between these two behaviors is so important.

People pleasing is a form of dependency that can have a significant impact on mental health. People pleasers tend to search for approval and want acceptance, and their actions are often based on how they believe they will be seen or perceived by others. Some signs of people pleasing include an elevated need to care about what others think or feel, difficulty setting boundaries due to the need to please and be liked, and an avoidance of speaking up or advocating for themselves out of fear of disappointing others.

In contrast, being nice or kind enables us to show genuine empathy towards other people while maintaining our own boundaries. It involves identifying where we can help those around us without sacrificing our own wellbeing in the process; it’s not about ‘fixing’ someone else’s problems but rather offering support from a compassionate place. Being kind also involves actively listening to others—not just responding with platitudes—and truly understanding where they are coming from without judgment or expectation.

One of the most common routes to please others is conflict avoidance. Sometimes people pleasers will use conflict avoidance as a way to please others; they may agree with someone even if they don’t actually agree with them so that there will be no conflictual situation which could upset another person. For more advise on why you need to stop avoiding conflict (and what to do instead) you can check out this article in Psych Central I contributed to last year.  Additionally, seeking validation from others is commonly used by people pleasers as a way of gaining approval and acceptance from those around them.

It is important for us to distinguish between people pleasing behavior and being generous because when we choose to be kind instead of trying to please everyone around us all the time, we create space for healthier relationships with both ourselves and those around us. We learn how to set healthy boundaries while remaining open-hearted and compassionate towards those who need our help; this balance helps us take responsibility for our own lives while still taking care of those around us in meaningful ways.

Improving your mental health overall can help you release any elevated sense of caring about what others think or feel and realize that is not where your self worth comes from. You can find eleven ways to improve your mental health in this short blog.

Distinguishing between people pleasing behavior and being kind is essential for developing healthy relationships with yourself and those around you. Being nice does not mean putting yourself second all the time; it means finding that balance where you can offer your heart-felt compassion without compromising your own wellbeing in the process. When we learn how to be genuinely generous without falling into patterns of people pleasing, we gain access to healthier relationships as well as greater peace within ourselves.

In my work with hundreds or more clients I realized something huge – it’s not just one thing that delivers. It’s taking specifically, thoughtfully and with care a tailored approach to what is going to DELIVER RESULTS! My clients feel safe, deeply understood, energized, respected and experience the results they desire. So, if you need help learning how to move from people pleasing to being kind, you can connect with me here. As I always say-  embrace the journey.


Babita Spinelli

Licensed Psychotherapist & Certified Coach.



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