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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

If you consider yourself to be a people-pleaser, then you might want to read this. 

All throughout high school, my one goal seemed to be to please others, even if that meant sacrificing my own mental health. However, once I started college, I learned to prioritize myself. My life changed for the better because I felt more secure in myself and in my relationships. Here’s how I did it:

1. Learn how to say no

This step seemed to be the biggest one for me. I have always had a hard time telling people no, which ended with me doing things I didn’t want to do. For example, I would agree to give a lot of rides in high school. It could be at the most inconvenient times, and I would still say yes because I didn’t want to upset the person. The few times I did say no I found myself over-apologizing or feeling incredibly guilty. What I have realized though, is that the word “no” doesn’t mean you don’t care about your friends—it means that you care about yourself. The more you learn to say no when you need to, the easier it gets and the happier you will be.

2. Take time for YOU

It is not selfish to want to skip out on plans every once in a while. When you need the extra night in, take it. There will always be more opportunities for you to have a good time with your friends when you are feeling more energized. No one wants to be around someone who doesn’t want to be there anyway, so you are actually doing both yourself and your friends a favor by staying home. So, take the time to rest, eat, read, watch TV, or do whatever you need to do. It’s all about you because remember, a happy mindset equals a happy life.

3. Stand up for yourself. 

For the longest time, I was convinced that maybe I was prone to overreacting. I consider myself to be sensitive and emotional, which seemed like a bad thing (although I have now embraced it as a good thing!). This means that when people said or did things that hurt my feelings, I would repress it in fear that I would come off as being overly sensitive, or maybe in fear that they were right. However, over time and through conversations with those close to me, I have come to the realization that my feelings are valid. I am now not afraid to speak up, and am able to express my feelings, wants, and needs. This step might be the hardest one because standing up for yourself can seem scary, but it is so worth it. 

Being a people-pleaser isn’t always a bad thing because it means that you care about the feelings of others. Just try not to let it get to the point where you are putting other people before yourself, because that can be detrimental to your mental health. I hope that with these steps and with time, you are able to get rid of toxic people-pleasing habits, like I have. 

Grace Layman

U Mich '25

Grace is a sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Psychology in LSA. She enjoys dancing, thrifting, reading, and hanging out with her cats.