The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Sacrifices that people-pleasers make

It’s common to care about our well-being, but sometimes, it can be easy to overlook if we’re constantly worrying about the well-being of others. People-pleasers are known to overlook their health and happiness at the expense of others as they often may prioritize the needs, desires and expectations of others over their own.

According to Psychology Today, an American media organization focused on psychology and human behavior, “The people-pleaser needs to please others for reasons that may include fear of rejection, insecurities and the need to be well-liked. If he stops pleasing others, he thinks everyone will abandon him; he will be uncared for and unloved. Or he may fear failure; if he stops pleasing others, he will disappoint them, which he thinks will lead to punishment or negative consequences.”

While being a people-pleaser may not always be a good thing, it is still something that many can understand and empathize with. According to YouGov, a global public opinion and data company, 49% of American adults self-identify as people-pleasers, with more women than men sharing that belief.

Social worker Calista Sarabia is just one of the roughly half of Americans who identify as a people-pleaser. As some have experienced, she believes it can start at a young age through the constant need for children to please their parents.

“It starts there because sometimes you want to do an activity to make your parents happy. Then, as you get older, [the things you do for others] become bigger and bigger,” she said.

However, when a people-pleaser cannot do what someone asks, that can cause them to feel sorry.

“I feel a big sense of guilt when I cannot help someone with something and do what they want me to do,” senior Nola Noring said.

By constantly seeking approval and the satisfaction of others, people-pleasers may suffer at the expense of their own well-being.

According to Medical News Today, a web-based outlet for medical information and news for both the general public and physicians, risks of people-pleasing include stress, tiredness, neglect, resentment, relationship problems, loss of identity, conflict and harm to others, impacting both the people-pleaser and those around them.

While it may be hard to see the risks behind the typical positive responses associated with the gratification of others, it is something people can still feel.

“You’ll see people giving 100% to others to feel fulfilled, but then you can tell that they’re drained,” Sarabia said.

In the realm of friendships, pleasing others can manifest in various ways. For example, we can suppress our opinions to avoid conflict, but it can eventually harm friendships if we keep distancing ourselves, even if the motives are genuine.

“I think the people-pleasers are the silent ones. If you think of it like three people walking on the sidewalk and one walking on the grass, that is the people-pleaser,” Sarabia said. “They are always pushed to the side or an afterthought, even if they do all they can to make them feel wanted. No matter what, they’re always going to be pushed aside or stay in a toxic friendship too long.”

Just as wanting to please people can impact friendships, it can also influence the workplace environment. People who struggle with this tendency may want to say yes to everything, which can increase exhaustion.

According to MyWellBeing, a website that connects therapy-seekers with quality therapists fit for their needs, “Perhaps the biggest cost of people-pleasing in the workplace is the decline of our personal well-being, meaning our ability to consistently operate in a state of clarity, energy and sufficiency. This is called burnout.”

While Sarabia may be a people-pleaser, she knows that too much work can lead to feeling like an overload.

“We are here from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Personally, that is all I am working. I am not working before that, and I am not working after that,” she said.

People-pleasing is a complex behavior that can impact everyone involved. While the desire to please others may come naturally to avoid conflict and maintain harmony, it can lead to people prioritizing others’ needs over their own health and happiness.

“Put yourself first. It is not worth it if it is causing physical or emotional pain,” Noring said. “If it’s something where you are going to be uncomfortable but you’re going to be able to overcome it, [don’t] do it if it is going to cause you stress.”

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About the Contributors
Katie Pfotenhauer
Katie Pfotenhauer, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Co-Copy Editor
Name: Katie Pfotenhauer   Position: Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Co-Copy Editor   Graduation year: 2024   A few sentences about me: I love to spend time with friends and family. I also like experimenting and trying new recipes with cooking and baking, but some of my other hobbies include reading, traveling and writing. I enjoy journalism because it allows me to choose what I write, and I cannot wait for this year.   My favorite…   Movie: Top Gun: Maverick  Show: New Girl Sport: Basketball Animal: Dogs Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling Food: Pasta Song: You're On Your Own, Kid by Taylor Swift Band / Artist: Ed Sheeran  
Carmella Rio
Carmella Rio, Co-Sports & Activities 1 Editor
Name: Carmella Rio   Position: Co-Sports & Activities 1 Editor    Graduation year: 2024   A few sentences about me: My dream career is to be a sports broadcaster. I play volleyball here at kaneland and it is my favorite hobby. I spend a lot of time watching sports, and continuing to keep up my knowledge of my favorite sports.   My favorite…   Movie: Creed Show: The Flash Sport: Volleyball Animal: Dog Book: Where the Sidewalk Ends Shel Silverstien Food: Pasta Song: Vienna Billy Joel Band / Artist: Morgan Wallen