10 Signs You May Be a Pushover and What to Do About It

Being nice is an essential quality necessary for success. It is a quality that sustains relationships and makes you someone others want to be around. However, there is a fine line between being nice and being a pushover.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Being nice is an essential quality necessary for success. It is a quality that sustains relationships and makes you someone others want to be around. However, there is a fine line between being nice and being a pushover. When you are too nice you make your way through life by placating, making you vulnerable to being dismissed by others. When you fear that you will be seen as overbearing, domineering or bitchy by having your own opinion and a clear sense of direction you shrink from your value and lose your belief in what you are capable of achieving.

The following are some of the most commonly used behaviors of people pleasers.

1. Pleasing: Pleasing occurs when who you consistently soften or change your position because you fear your natural thoughts will not be well received or supported by others. To be successful you must be strong in what you believe and you must be able to communicate your opinions clearly and effectively.

Instead of pleasing to gain approval, simply expect to be treated with respect. Educate yourself to become the best in your field of knowledge so you have a well-developed place of confidence to come from when you communicate.

2. Neediness: Your needs for approval eventually drain other people. Other people cannot fill you up and give you the inner worth you are seeking. There is no path to success through coat-tailing other people. The real path to success can only come through your belief in yourself and your willingness to go at it with a true commitment.

Replace what you feel you need from others with learning to ask for what you want. What you want is important to you and if what you want inconveniences someone else then, oh well. The only way to get what you want in life, is to say what you want and go after it.

3. Insincerity: One the greatest indicators of insecurity is over complimenting people. If you start off or end every conversation with a compliment people will likely see this as manipulative. These compliments are often not sincere as much as they are a way to handle your sense of insecurity by making another person feel good. When you make others feel good you get the false sense that you have secured their approval.

Success only comes through self-confidence which you garner through risk taking not people pleasing.

4. Defensive: Defensiveness is seen by others as weakness. People are going to disagree with you in business. If you cannot function without feeling wrecked, upset, or anxious there will be no path to your success. You must develop the resilience to accept feedback or criticism without completely fracturing or becoming pathetic. People aren't going help you up the ladder of success through feeling sorry for you.

Learn to grow from feedback rather than shrink from it.

5. Lying: People pleasing creates dishonesty by default. To please people you express agreement even when you do not agree. No one can really know you, your ideas or your value if you are a parrot of other people. Fear is what causes this type of lying and it is driven by the need to fit in.

Stand out successes, however, aren't "fit-in" people, they are those who are confident enough in themselves to rock the boat and lose relationships through brutal honesty when necessary.

6. Over-functioning: Over-functioning comes from desperation. It's the overworking you do to prove your worth. In this crazy hoop-jumping attitude that causes you to end up doing things you don't want to do because you are too afraid of being judged for not doing it. When others sense you are desperate to prove yourself they lose respect for you. Relax and do your part but let others carry their own weight. You cannot climb Mount Everest on your own.

Say no without feeling guilty. There is no need to do or participate in anything that you do not want to or believe in. Your "nos" define your likes and dislikes which make you distinct as a person to other people. This way people know where you stop and they start. If people do not know these boundaries you will get pushed over.

7. Withholding: Whenever you fail to express your true thoughts and opinions, like when you interact with someone who was clearly offensive to you, you cannot become a person who is seen as having value, causing you to get looked-over. Never withhold your truth.

To be successful you have to realize that conflict is a part of it. Learn to be bold and state your opinions. You have the right to express your opinions. If you cower in a situation or are afraid someone will reject your opinion, there is no way for anyone to really know you or your preferences. Do not look for agreement. Simply state what opinion is correct for you.

8. Uncertainty: People pleasers have a habit of asking permission in situations where needing permission is not required. This is often done as attempt to look polite and respectful to others. Unfortunately, you end up looking unintelligent and mousey, as if you cannot even make the simplest decisions on your own.

Learn to be bold and lead the way with your decisions, even when you are uncertain. People fall in line with an attitude of boldness. The quickest way to overcome uncertainty is to commit to what you believe in and to speak on it.

9. Over-apologetic: Starting every sentence with "I'm sorry" says a lot to others about your idea of your self-worth. You don't need to apologize for your existence. When you begin every sentence with "I'm sorry but..." you are communicating you expect disapproval before you have even communicated your need, opinion or idea. Learn to start each sentence with "listen..."

Be bold enough to make mistakes. Why use disappearing and pleasing to look perfect to others? When you are doing this you are being fake. Real people make mistakes and are not perfect so there is no need to apologize. Your mistakes are your greatest teachers, so mistake-away and learn to recover.

10. Timid: Being timid will trump motivation as your fear will get in the way of you pursuing your passions and happiness. You are not going to get anywhere being timid and fearful. The business world is not sensitive and being timid will allow others, who may be less talented, to surpass you.

Find the confidence to pursue your happiness. You have a unique path in life. Being timid makes you an unanchored boat floating aimlessly in the water just trying to stay safe and out of the way. Happiness and success can only be achieved if it is deliberately pursued. Commit to your path.

The greatest irony with people pleasing is that it almost always produces the exact opposite results of those which are intended.

To be successful in any capacity you have to be confident in who you are and in your own opinions and beliefs. Instead of living in doubt and seeking approval, educate yourself. Work hard to know what you need to do know in order to be successful. You have to get to the point where you believe you are entitled to have your own opinions and can still respect when others don't view things the same way you do. It doesn't mean they are right and you are wrong. It is through embracing differences that success becomes exciting and dynamic. It is through the rubbing against your differences with others that real growth happens. Great ideas come from great debate, innovation and differences between people.

Sherapy Advice: The world is not black and white so remember the next time you want to shrink that the need for approval is a success killer.

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds