Musings Wellbeing

People-Pleasers: 1 in 3 adults are ‘easily led’

Reading time: 3 mins

In the ‘love-like-wow’ society in which we live, it is no wonder why many fall into the trap of being reliant upon approval from others, and in turn use other people’s reactions as a benchmark for how they should feel about themselves.

It’s a slippery slope. People-pleasers often leave ambitions by the wayside due to other people’s opinions and ‘run themselves ragged’ doing things to please others at the detriment of self.

According to psychologists the main cause of people-pleasing stems from childhood experiences, where children in families quickly learn from an early age that love and acceptance from immediate and/or extended family members, can only be gained by keeping family members happy.


“…overly concerned with what others think or might think…”


Children who learn to people-please often carry this into adulthood. They become adults who rely on approval from others in order to function and are overly concerned with what others think or might think of them. They exhibit chameleon-like behaviour to be all things to everyone.

The continued praise and approval to which they’ve associated with being loved, keeps them on the endless cycle of people-pleasing. Failure to please others comes with feelings of unworthiness, they struggle to set healthy boundaries and cannot bring themselves to express what they need from others.

It doesn’t stop there. The behaviour spills into other areas of their life—including friendships, relationships and the workplace. They struggle to turn down requests and just say “no”.  They neglect their own needs just to make others feel comfortable.


“...the role of  ‘the rescuer’ in unhealthy relationships.”


Those with controlling behaviour are attracted to people-pleasers as they often play the role of ‘the rescuer’ in unhealthy relationships. People-pleasers strive to keep their significant others happy—even if it means sacrificing their own peace and happiness. At times they feel led to do things for others out of obligation rather than genuine willingness to do so, and, as a result they experience feelings of resentment and inner turmoil.


“One in three adults admitted to have been encouraged to do things they didn’t want to do…”


Market research agency ‘OnePoll’ delivered research for TV channel Crime + Investigation in preparation for a week of shows called ‘Twisted Faith’. The programme delved into cults in the UK and abroad and was aired in November 2018. 2000 adults took part in the study which estimated millions of Brits are easily led.

One in three adults admitted to have been encouraged to do things they didn’t want to do by friends, relatives and work colleagues. 18% admitted that as a result of such encouragement they had done something that would not be considered ‘above board’. This included taking drugs, committing acts of vandalism or speeding.

Emma Kenny, psychologist and expert for Crime + Investigation said, “It is natural for people to want to belong to a group – this is as important as eating and drinking for human survival – and by committing certain acts which are approved by others, you can feel more connected to a group or a community.”


Four in ten adults admitted to being eager to please…’


63% of respondents admitted to feeling flattered when other people showed approval or respect for something they were doing, while four in ten adults admitted to being eager to please others.

Kenny said, “This does go a long way to explain why many people do things they don’t really want to; they are rewarded with encouragement, approval and respect from others.”



Are you a people-pleaser who is on his/her quest to break the habit, or an ex people-pleaser who now digs in their heels and says, “No”? 

Perhaps you have never been a people-pleaser.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below or send me a message via the contact page.


Musings of Ms. Phipps



© Musings Of Ms Phipps and Aisha Phipps ( 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this author and owner is strictly prohibited.




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