Are you a yes-man? Here's how to stop being such a people pleaser.


“Can you work for me this weekend? I’m really in a bind and need someone to pick up my shift!”

Ugh. Not again, you think. That feeling of dread mixed with lingering regret suddenly sets in when you respond in a rather chipper voice, “Of course I can!”

Not a second passes after these words leave your lips when you think, why the hell did I just agree to that?!!!

Anyone else been here before?

I know who you are. You’re a people-pleaser. A Yes-Man. You hate when others don’t like you, and you really suck at saying no to people. How do I know you so well? Because I am a people-pleaser myself, and I know that being a people-pleaser can be incredibly disheartening and will eventually wear you down.

Being a Yes-Man is actually affecting your emotional and spiritual well-being. You constantly feel treated like a door mat and out of control. You feel that no matter how bad you want to stand up for yourself, it’s impossible. Being a Yes-Man can have serious consequences down the long run. It’s one thing to be a kind human being, but it’s another thing to let people run all over you. It’s time to break the habit. Join me as I guide myself to work on being less of a people-pleaser and work on taking control of my life and my actions.
Learn to say no

People-pleasers are Yes-Men. We hate saying no to people and feel automatically pressured to do whatever is asked of us. What it really boils down to is that we don’t want to piss anyone off.  Even if it involves spending money or doing something that we totally have zero interest in, we really hate to let people down. We would rather suffer doing something we hate than seeing people mad at us or disappointed.

“Can you work for me this weekend?”  Sure!
“Do you want me to put in another order of Mary Kay mascara for you?” Yes!
“Can I borrow your new shirt for my date?” Of course!

Sometimes, it’s not okay. It’s NOT okay to be constantly ditching your happiness to make someone else happy, especially if this person uses you as a doormat. It’s time to learn to say NO to people and be okay with that. Stick to your guns and be assertive.

Learn that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes

You are just as important as the people who are asking you to do things. It’s great to help out family and friends from time to time, but there comes a time when sometimes you just need to be selfish and put yourself first.

Accept that you’re GOING to disappoint people- and that’s okay

As awesome as you think you are, you’re not super(wo)man. You can’t always do everything at once and please everybody. Disappointments are going to happen. You might as well start getting used to it now that you are finally learning to say no to people!

Think about what is being asked of you before you answer

Most Yes-Men struggle with being impulsive. Next time, when someone asks you to do a favor for them, tell the person you need some time think to think about. You will be thanking yourself later when you aren’t in a situation that you are kicking yourself for.

Realize when you are being taken advantage of

Because you struggle so much with saying no to others, chances are that people know how to manipulate you. There is no crappier feeling than knowing that someone is taking advantage of your kindness. Been there, done that, and it SUCKS. Break the cycle and stand up for yourself. Believe it or not, people will look up to you when you start being more assertive.

Freedom of choice

This is a free country; you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do. Embrace your freedom of choice and use it. Don’t want to take your co-workers’ Friday night shift? You are obligated to! The beauty of life is that for every action we are given a choice and a consequence. Saying “yes” to everyone becomes so habitual that there will be consequences for your actions just like every other choice.

Think of the good that comes from saying no

Is it really worth your time and energy? Think of all the good that comes from saying no. What are you going to gain?

Cut yourself some slack

Stop having the idea implanted in your brain that all people will hate you if you say no. We’re all human. We have our own wants and needs that sometimes need to get put first before others’. Remind yourself that you are NOT a piece of garbage to be walked over; you are equally just as important!

It gets easier.

The more you start living for yourself instead of others, the easier it will be to say no.

Do you struggle saying no to people? Do you use so much energy trying to please others? Leave me a comment below.


  • Brittney Embree

    I saw the link to your post and knew I had to read it immediately. This has been a struggle my entire life! I continually put others happiness first above my own, and I have seen many negatives comes from doing so. Not that you can’t ever put others first, but I ALWAYS do, even at risk of what I need or want. I feel such guilt when I say no to people! Thanks for the great reminder that I am on the right track to changing this in my life!

    • Chelsea

      Hey Brittney! Thanks so much for commenting! I’m glad you and I can relate. I feel the exact same way you do…extreme guilt if I am saying no to people. Stay strong, girlie!

  • Luckily, I am not so much of a people pleaser. I have learned that my happiness comes first and I will not jeopardize that for people that are just taking advantage of me. This is good advice for people who need to realize this!

    • Chelsea

      I’m so happy to hear that, Amanda! It’s a good habit to have.

  • Emma Byers

    This is so spot on. Being a people pleaser is something that I’m still working to overcome so I love the “cut yourself some slack” and “it gets easier” tips. It truly does get easier over time and this is such important advice.

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for commenting, Emma! I feel like it’s getting easier..each time I put myself first, it gets easier (:

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    I am such a yes-person. I am trying to reel myself in more now because I get so frustrated after I say “yes” knowing that I really wanted to just say “NO”. Great post – thank you for sharing!

    • Chelsea

      I’m glad you can relate, Dana! I hope that you continue to put yourself first when you need to. You are just as important!

  • Liz

    I have learned over the years how important it is not to be a people pleaser!! It can be so tough sometimes to just say ‘no’ but sometimes you just have to!

    • Chelsea

      I feel like the older I get, the BETTER I get at this! Maybe it’s just a maturity thing?

  • I learned this lesson a long time ago. We can’t always please everyone.

    • Chelsea


  • This sure sounds familiar! I definitely struggle with this. When I waited tables, people knew I would take their shift if they asked. I hate confrontation, so I have a hard time saying no!

    • Chelsea

      I was actually thinking of my waitressing jobs when I mentioned the part about taking shifts!! That was college every single week it seemed!

  • Kate

    I struggle with this – I am a natural helper! But I have been pulling back more and more to take care of myself!

    • Chelsea

      Good for you, Kate!

  • This is great! I’m an absolute yes-man – and it’s so frustrating!! I work in design for a charity and when people need things last minute, I NEVER say no. Usually this results in me stressed out of my brain and tearing my hair out… but even mid yank i’m still saying YES to more. Grr. Thanks for this – i’m going to try and be better at saying that 2 letter word instead. :)

    • Chelsea

      I totally can understand that! But that’s also a very admirable trait about you…you seem to be very hardworking and dedicated to your job. I’m sure it pays off in the long run!

  • Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    This is a hard lesson to learn, one that took me a long time

    • Chelsea

      Thanks for reading!

  • Emily Vanderhoof

    These are great tips. I too am a people pleaser. I love to help people out but sometimes I find that I’ve totally over committed myself :( I’m going to try to keep these in mind going forth! Thanks!

    • Chelsea

      I feel like I over commit myself ALL OF THE TIMEEEE!!!

  • Hil D

    I love the cut yourself some slack part. It’s true, I think the guilt that comes with saying no can be worse.

    • Chelsea

      It’s definitely the guilt! I feel so much of it.

  • I used to be such a people pleaser until I just kind of got tired of being walked all over by people who would take advantage of my kindness. Now, I have no problem speaking my mind and saying no if I need to. People seem to respect me more now.

    • Chelsea

      Good for you! I have found it gets SO MUCH easier to stand up for yourself once you’ve done it a few times!

  • I say a resounding YES to this post! Saying no is something I have always struggled with because I hate disappointing people or thinking that they might be mad at me. I’ve had to develop some thick skin in order to learn to say no and protect my boundaries, and I’ve also had to realize that the other person’s world will not end because I said no. I’m still a work in progress, but the “no” muscles are getting stronger!

    • Chelsea

      Good for you. I love that you add, “the other person’s world is not going to end if I say no.” SO TRUEEE!! Looking back, I always feel guilty if I say no, but in the end I’m glad that I do it. I feel like it gets easier!

  • Also, I’ve been meaning to ask you — which program do you use to create your pinnable images? I love the look of yours!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks girl! I use Canva. For the dimensions I pick “Pinterest image,” and I usually end up buying an image to use…it’s only $1. Funny because I love YOUR pinnable images. What do you use?

      • Haha! I use PicMonkey. It’s SUPER easy to use, but it runs kind of slow and their font selection is small. I’ll check out Canva!

  • Shann Eva

    Great advice. I’ve gotten better about this as I’ve gotten older. You’re right…it does get easier to say no.

    • Chelsea

      Good for you, Shann! I’m glad to hear that :)

  • I finally decided it was okay to say ‘no’ two years ago and it was the best thing I ever did :)

    • Chelsea

      I’m so happy to hear that, Kara! xo

  • YES to all of this! Learning to say no was super hard at first, but I’m so glad I learned this lesson because saying yes all of the time can be exhausting and draining. It’s important (and OKAY) to put yourself first!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you!! You are so totally right. It is SO EXHAUSTING! And you feel guilty!! I’m so happy that you learned this lesson and practice it. :)

  • This is really great for someone like me who really struggles with it. Sometimes I feel like I’m a total pushover and this makes me feel better about standing up for myself.

    • Chelsea

      Same here, girlfriend! I can definitely be a pushover at times as well. Let’s work on it together (:

  • I don’t remember when it became easier to say no for me, but sometimes it’s a little too easy especially when I should say yes. It’s a tough balance!

    • Chelsea

      I know. I’m the same way and I hear! Keep working at it. It gets easier!

  • Nicole Pharr

    It took me way to long to learn how to do this. It was hard at first but now it comes naturally, and I’ve found that I am so much happier because of it.

    • Chelsea

      I am so happy to hear that you are setting yourself free from this burden, Nicole!

  • Lindsay Katherine

    This is such valuable advice; I just started having the confidence to stand up for myself and taking time to think about how I answer before just jumping in and agreeing.

    • Chelsea

      Good for you, Lindsay! I just started as well. It’s an ongoing journey and practice!

  • What great advice! I too use to be a people pleaser and after years of learning to say no…it really becomes no big deal anymore :) Thanks for sharing.

    • Chelsea

      I hopefully can say it’s no big deal a few years from now!!

  • Excellent advice :)

    • Chelsea

      Thanks Trish!!

  • These are great tips! I am SO BAD AT SAYING NO. I feel like people will hate me for it. Another mistake I make is always feeling like I have to have a good reason why I say no, which I don’t. It’s good to know your boundaries, and what you can and can’t do.

    • Chelsea

      Exactly, Jenn! I DO always feel like I need a good reason to say no. It shouldn’t always have to be that way-this is your life!

  • In the end, you come first. It sounds selfish and awful, but it’s really not.

    • Chelsea

      I agree~ I don’t think it’s awful to put yourself first at times! so many of us don’t.

  • Jennifer Walker

    After being burned (and burned-out) by the takers I invariably encountered as a natural-born helper, I learned this lesson the hard way. It burned some bridges when I started saying no to certain people, but my life is much better for it, too! Excellent post!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks Jennifer! I’m definitely a natural born helper as well.

  • So many great points! I am definitely a people-pleaser and it did take a toll on me emotionally, spiritually, and physically (anxiety attacks). When I started seeing a counselor for my anxiety I realized that I can and should say no. And I learned that no is a complete sentence. I feel so much better being able to say no – even though it is difficult! Everyone should be able to stand up for themselves. Thanks for posting! :)

    • Chelsea

      Hey Lizzy- I feel like anxiety goes hand in hand with this! Thanks for glad you are able to stand up for yourself now!

  • Heather Serra

    Being a people pleaser is tough! It’s something I’ve tried to let go of many years back, but still find it creeping in now and again. You make some really good points here. Saying no really can be a good thing.

    • Chelsea

      It can be!!! Thanks for reading!

  • This is so relatable! I think everyone h as a little yes-man in them! I know that it is so hard to just say no, but its imperative! Its crazy how people take advantage even if that was not their initial thought process!

    • Chelsea

      Exactly. It gets easier the more you say “no!”

  • I’m a people pleaser too, so saying no is so hard! But like you said, it’s better for you because it isn’t good to say yes to everyone at the expense of yourself. Great post!

    • Chelsea

      Thank you so much, Crystal!

  • Hehe I needed to read this, definitely a people pleaser, I can say that without thinking. Sometimes, we have to put ourselves out to help others and then it isn’t joyful anymore. Thanks Chels 😉

    • Chelsea

      Don’t be afraid to put yourself first and learn to say no! :)

  • Kayla James

    I really enjoyed this post! I’m not longer a people-please, but I definitely used to be during my middle school and freshman year of high school. This post holds a topic that definitely needs to be read. I hope you don’t mind if refer my readers to your post on my weekly blog highlights?

    Great job!

    • Chelsea

      I would LOVE for you to share it! Thanks so much, Kayla! xo

  • SO good! It’s hard to shake the habit, but it’s an important one to shake!
    xo, Caitlin
    And Possibly Dinosaurs

    • Chelsea

      Thanks Caitlin! Agreed- once you stop caring, it will lift a huge weight off your shoulders!

  • JessRigby

    I love this post, sums me up. I am a total people pleaser, i cant count how many extra shifts i have picked up at work because i said yes so many times. I am going to work on saying no and putting myself first every once in a while. Thanks!

  • Maggie Stewart

    love this!!