Side Chat: Curing your people-pleasing disease

people pleasing

As Samuel L. Jackson said in Jurassic Park, “Hold on to your butts.”

He was talking about dinosaurs, but honestly, we’re talking about something that a lot of people find equally terrifying: How to let go of your compulsion to please everyone around you.

In preparation for this episode, we both read The Disease to Please by Harriet Braiker, PhD., and OH MAN, there is a lot to get into.

If you’re someone who feels impaired by the compulsion to put others’ needs first, to never say “no,” to strive endlessly for everyone’s approval, and to try to make everyone else happy, all while being as NICE as possible and avoiding conflict like it’s your job … strap yourself in and get ready to have your world rocked (in a GOOD WAY).

In this episode we talk about:

  • How to recognize ALL the signs of people pleasing, even the ones you aren’t aware of.
  • Why people pleasing is an addiction, and how you got the “disease” in the first place.
  • Why you struggle with saying “no,” being rejected, and feeling guilty 24/7.
  • Why you’re so burnt-out and quietly resentful of others.
  • How to let go of your need for approval and being “liked.”
  • How to get comfortable with conflict and confrontation.
  • How you can actually learn what YOU like and who YOU are (because the real you has been buried under trying to be everything for everyone else).

Come leave us a comment after you’ve listened and let us know if you’ve got the disease to please, and what you’re going to do about it now!



11 Comments // ADD COMMENT


  • Rebecca

    WOW! This resonated so much. Thank you!!

  • maria

    Hi Kristen and Rachel
    Very interesting chat, ive always suspected myself of behaving in people-pleasing ways, the most glaring example of this is my toxic and unhealthy romantic relationships, – all of which I started being ‘myself’ and then following an unfortunate episode where one guy wrote me a letter dumping me and outlining all my ‘flaws’ (aspects of my personality he didn’t like) I got a massive sense of anxiety about myself and who I was and started people pleasing in relationships. Im much more aware of this habit now though, but it doesn’t mean I dont still do it, – I know that I do. The fear of confrontation is always there. I find that if I get into a confrontation, I cant handle it and I actually blow up aggressively and have to walk away- I cant even have just a normal debate. Ive always hated debates!! I wish I could cure this aspect of myself.

    • Rachel East

      Hey Maria — You know, it’s very understandable that that incident caused you to question yourself and become insecure. But keep in mind that that guy who dumped you was incredibly insecure, too. And he was projecting that all over you, rather than reflecting inward and confronting his own fears and demons. Don’t let one insecure, misguided, completely inaccurate person define how you feel about yourself!

  • Jason

    Hey there! I don’t ever leave comments or anything but that was really insightful and though I have heard of these terms before have kind of just said yeah I have people pleasing issues. I am a good person for being a people pleaser haha. But that was a really well done podcast. I am hoping to start my journey of detoxing my people pleasing ways. I dont even know where to begin but I have started by purchasing the book and listening to the other podcast of being emotionally constipated.

    I think if I can conquer this it will help me become who I was supposed to be this whole time I have been living!

    • Rachel East

      Hey Jason! Thanks for listening and leaving a comment. 🙂 And I totally agree — If you can let go of people-pleasing, you’ll get to show up as the person you’ve always been, but maybe never realized you were. And that’s pretty cool.

  • Daina

    This post resonated with me so much, I just purchased the book you recommended. My entire life has been based around people pleasing, and I am completely burned out and miserable even though I’m supposedly doing things I love every day. It’s pretty depressing… and I just didn’t know why I felt so down until I listened to this podcast. Wow. I’ve always been terrified of confrontation and have avoided it by all means possible, even if it completely puts me out and inconveniences me. I can’t wait to read the the book – I’ve reached the resentment phase and I don’t want to keep repeating this cycle. Thank you so much.

    • Rachel East

      We’re so glad to hear that this episode helped you put your finger on an issue you couldn’t name until now! It’s really empowering to finally understand why you’ve been feeling the way you feel, and know that there are things you can do to change. 🙂

  • Clarity on Fire

    […] firm are your boundaries? A lot of us say “yes” to everything (ahem, people-pleasing, anyone?) or have over-committed for one reason or another. Trying to do too much and please everyone is a […]

  • Britt Kreitman

    Listened to the podcast, bought the book – literally life changing.
    The insights & helpful advice in this book have totally changed my perspective on every single interpersonal relationship I’ve had my whole life. While I’m considered “mid-range” by Dr. Braiker’s spectrum – the very clear wisdom & instructions on how to help oneself overcome this compulsion is utterly amazing. I recommend this book to everyone whether you identify with it or not, because I guarantee someone you know/love truly needs it.
    Thank you ladies for exposing me to this 🙂

    • Rachel East

      So glad that this conversation and book has spurred you to let go of these old patterns, Britt! That’s really awesome to hear. 🙂