When my mom told me I was a people-pleaser, I couldn't understand what was wrong with that. I'm not happy unless other people are. That's selflessness, right? Wrong.
We don't try to make other people happy so much for their benefit as for our own. We can fall into a trap of trying to make other people like us in order to meet our own needs. But in the end, doing this causes us to lose ourselves.
Here are 7 signs you care way too much about what other people think about you.
1. You say sorry a lot
It is a great attribute to be able to sincerely apologize. However, some people can take this too far. Many things are not your fault, and you shouldn't make them that way. Many things are not worth taking the blame for, and you shouldn't put the blame on yourself. These are things like saying something silly (but not unkind), not having a perfectly clean house when a friend stops over or being late for a reason that was absolutely beyond your control. In these situations, tactfully place the blame on the true source or don't apologize at all.
2. You mind read
Do you catch yourself assuming you know what someone else is thinking? Unless you are Edward Cullen (and I sincerely hope you're not), you can't actually know what someone else is thinking about you. Since it's impossible to know, there is no point dwelling on it. Focus on what you think of you instead.
3. You project others' behaviors on yourself
Believe it or not, you are not as hot of a topic as you think you are. This isn't to say you aren't a big deal, but it is to say that other people's worlds revolve around themselves and not you. This means you should never assume someone else does something to hurt you or spite you or anything else. Most people just accidentally act selfishly. Instead of assigning intent to what other people do, communicate with "I" messages so they know how something they did made you feel, without blaming them for making you feel that way.
4. You lie to people
Maybe they're nothing more than "little white lies," but whipping out a "Yeah, I love that," or a "I can't. I'm sick," instead of sticking to the truth is a sure sign you care an unhealthy amount about what people think of you. The fact of the matter is, when one day your lies are discovered (and they will be), those you lied to will like you even less than if you had just said what was on your mind in the first place.
If the thought of inconveniencing someone else makes you squirm with discomfort, you might be overly concerned with what other people think of you. It's okay to ask for help every now and then. It gives people the opportunity to serve you, which can be a service to them.
Also, studies surprisingly show how, when someone does a favor for another person, they like that person even more. So, while not being able to ask for help can be a sign you care too much about what people think, letting people help you could actually work to your advantage if that's your goal.
6. Criticism crushes you
It's a great skill indeed to be able to have your personality, work or skills critiqued and be absolutely happy about it. Even if you're grateful for the advice, it can still sting. However, feeling like you've been beaten with a stick and could seriously use some ice cream and "Gilmore Girls" after receiving tactful advice might reveal you have an issue with people-pleasing. It will take some practice and positive self-talk, but you can teach yourself to accept criticism as an opportunity to become even more amazing instead of as an indicator that you are less than amazing.
It doesn't matter how crazy your life is, you say yes to everything from an invitation to a bridal shower to watching a friend's kids so she can get her hair cut. It's great to be the kind of person who is always willing to help out. However, realize your limits. If you don't want to attend an activity, you don't have to go just to make other people happy; and if you really can't handle tackling someone else's tasks, you don't have to. If people like you less for using your no card every now and then, that's their problem.