News, Culture & Society

Psychologist reveals 8 people pleasing behaviours we confuse with being nice

A psychologist has revealed eight behaviours that may appear to be kindness, but could actually be people pleasing.

The behaviours include  over apologising to taking responsibility for other people’s feelings.

Birmingham-based chartered psychologist Dr Lalitaa Suglani took to Instagram, where she has more than 112,000 followers, to share information on the topic in a recent post.

The psychologist accompanied her post with an extensive caption, in which she clearly outlined the distinction between being nice and people pleasing.

She explained that people-pleasing ‘is not the same as genuine niceness and kindness’.

It’s easy to confuse some people pleasing behaviours with simply being kind, according to a psychologist, who has listed some of the behaviours (stock image)

This, according to Dr Lalitaa, is because ‘being nice/kind is a form of self-expression’.

In contrast, she writes: ‘People-pleasing is a fundamentally dependent behaviour.’ 

Dr Lalitaa shares signs of people pleasing 

1. You tend to over apologise.

2. You find it hard to say no.

3. You don’t speak up when your feelings are hurt.

4. You change to better accommodate others all the time.

5. You are there for everyone else except for yourself.

6. You feel uncomfortable with conflict.

7. You take responsibility for other people’s feelings.

8. You constantly seek external validation.

She goes on to explain: ‘I wanted to share this to raise awareness about the difference between people pleasing and being “nice” or “kind”.

In the post, she listed eight people pleasing behaviours that can be confused with being ‘nice’.

The first behaviour listed was a tendency to over-apologise.

In a similar vein, the second people pleasing behaviour that can appear as simply being nice, is finding it difficult to say no. 

The third behaviour listed by the psychologist is not speaking up when your feelings are hurt. 

Similarly, another behaviour Dr Lalitaa says could appear kind, but can be a sign of people pleasing, is changing to better accommodate others all the time.

Another behaviour to make the list was being there for everyone else, while not being there for yourself.

And a further point on the list was feeling uncomfortable with conflict.

Taking responsibility for the feelings of other people was the seventh sign to take a place on the list.

Meanwhile, the psychologist listed as the eighth sign, the constant seeking of external validation. 

Concluding the caption accompanying the post, Dr Lalitaa wrote: ‘Please note I also want you to know that you can unlearn people pleasing behaviours. 

‘This does not define you.’ 

Numerous people took to the comments section, revealing their own experiences with people pleasing behaviour.

One commentator wrote: ‘When you can’t say no, you feel guilty and shameful when you need and want to set this boundary so avoid saying it…and just become a ‘yes’ person. Completely exhausting yourself physically and mentally.’ 

People took to the comments section of the post to share their thoughts on people pleasing, as well as their own experiences

People took to the comments section of the post to share their thoughts on people pleasing, as well as their own experiences

Tackling another point on the list, another commentator added: ‘Seeking external validation is a killer. It leads to lower self-esteem and shame after all.

Meanwhile, a further Instagram user wrote: ‘There is a distinct difference between genuine kindness and people pleasing, so true.’   

And another chimed in to say: ‘Guilty as charged for every single point made.’

On a different note, one took to the comments section to express how useful they found the information. 

They wrote: ‘Thank you for summarising, always helps to understand oneself better.’








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