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6 Ways For People Pleasers To Set Boundaries

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

A “people-pleaser” is someone who frequently sacrifices their own needs and desires to appease others. People-pleasers have a strong sense of empathy and are often agreeable, helpful, and kind. While these are good-natured traits to possess, they make it easier for people to neglect their own needs. Setting boundaries is the act of openly expressing and upholding one’s principles which aid people-pleasers in asserting themselves. As someone who has struggled with people-pleasing for the majority of her life, I’ve developed methods based on my experiences to help encourage setting boundaries for myself.

Change your outlook

People-pleasing is not always a bad thing. It’s such a remarkable quality for a person to care so much about the happiness and well-being of our communities. You offer unrelenting kindness and thoughtfulness to those around you. However, these characteristics do not exempt you from the need to take care of yourself.


Reflect on your reasons for setting a particular boundary. It’s important to consider how boundaries will affect your emotional well-being. Ask yourself why you want to set this boundary. If it is because something is making you uncomfortable, ask yourself why it makes you uncomfortable. Exploring why you are setting the boundaries you choose ensures that you can justify them, rather than defaulting to people-pleasing.

practice makes perfect

Start small! Practice setting smaller boundaries with strangers, friends, family, or even yourself. In the minds of people pleasers, “no” is our biggest enemy. Often, we’re afraid these will be interpreted with ill intentions, but this is not often the case. If you want to relax more during your free time, set a boundary that you will not check your work or school email on the weekends. If you want to spend the weekend relaxing, but your friends have asked you to go out, you can say “no.” Once you practice setting, the big boundaries feel significantly less intimidating.

plan ahead

Set aside some time for yourself to decide how you want to express a new boundary. Plan what you would like to say so that way you can articulate your feelings in a way that validates your feelings while acknowledging those of other people. This makes the process of boundary setting easier now that you’ve established a plan for yourself. It is also essential to consider what you will say or do if another person chooses not to respect that boundary.


In order to sustain boundaries, it’s vital that you communicate when any of your boundaries are crossed. It is inevitable that your boundaries will be violated, and you will need to reassert those boundaries. We’re human, and it’s possible that someone may forget about a particular boundary. Rather than feel like you’ve failed to maintain it, you can explain that boundary again and potentially seek reasoning for why or how the other person has violated that boundary. Understanding that human beings will likely fault, but that does not mean that life is over, is vital in pursuing boundaries.

practice positive self-talk

Setting boundaries comes with self-love. In order to set boundaries, you must understand that you are worthy of those boundaries. Tell yourself that you are loved, you are cared for, and you deserve for your boundaries to be respected. Remind yourself of all the qualities that make you human.

Setting boundaries for yourself can feel like an extremely daunting task. As a people-pleaser, it often feels like impending doom. However, we are all worthy of love and respect. This means that each of us should practice setting boundaries so that we can love each other better and love ourselves a little more. After all, setting boundaries is an act of love.

Emma Tapia

U Conn '24

Emma Tapia is a senior majoring in Political Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a Her Campus contributor, and President of the The Connecticut Compromise; a University of Connecticut satire publication. She publishes a number of articles pertinent to health, wellness, film, and music. She is often found reading, journaling, curating spotify playlists, and chatting it up.