6 Tiny Signs You're Dating A People-Pleaser

Help them shift this dynamic before it's too late.

Dating a people pleaser, turn off wavebreakmedia | Shutterstock

People pleasers live to make everyone else happy. So dating (or marrying) one is amazing, right? What's not to love about someone who is all about pleasing you? It may sound oddly critical to pick on people-pleasers, but loving one has a serious downside.

Pleasers are the ultimate shape-shifters. They don't think of it this way, of course, but the reality is — a pleaser lies about who they are to make others happy. They change form depending on their audience, which makes trusting them nearly impossible.


Their lies are not a deliberate intent to deceive but rather a deep reflection of their inadequacy and self-worth. But, the lies are plentiful, and for you, the person loving them, the relationship looks and feels like this.

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Here are 6 tiny signs you're dating a people-pleaser:

1. They won't take action

Your partner tells family, friends, or coworkers what they think they want to hear — even when you know your mate's statement was not the truth. Whether they ever talk about their struggle to please you or not, you are witness to it, and it's a turnoff.


Indecisive people pleaser is a turn off Egoitz Bengoetxea via Shutterstock

2. They're indecisive

Your partner can't (or won't) make a final decision, so you're in the lead with most daily decisions from dinner plans to date night. Hearing "I don't care" or "You decide" may seem nice at first, but over time, the burden of such decisions feels heavy — and worse, very lonely.

3. They struggle with loyalty

Sometimes, pleasing others takes precedence over pleasing you, so you don't feel important. Your partner struggles with loyalty between you and everyone else (their family, their boss, etc.) and places those people's needs or expectations above yours. You're left feeling like your partner doesn't have your back.


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4. They're wishy-washy

Believing they're master mind readers, your partner often tells you what they think you want to hear at any given moment — making their answers and opinions inconsistent and ever-fluctuating. They are often an unreliable source who leaves you wondering what they think. Does your partner truly want to do all they've agreed to? Are they saying what they think and feel, or are they capitulating? You may wonder or worry if they're happy or satisfied with the life you've created together, which can feel very unsettling and uncertain.

5. They make you the bad guy

A pleaser is either inexplicably moody or seems happy nearly all the time. But when people misrepresent themselves, they quickly become resentful — despite having put themselves in the situation. They feel taken advantage of and often play the victim or martyr. Alternately, they may avoid all negative feelings or conflict and insist everything is fine when you suspect it's not. But either way, them feeling taken advantage of (in their mind) is your fault.


6. They're relaxed and easy-going until they explode

Deferring to you for most everything, your pleaser-partner seems wonderfully relaxed. You happily think they are genuinely cool with your decisions until they randomly unload months or years of complaints in an out-of-nowhere outburst. You feel blindsided and betrayed by how long they've been holding grudges.

While these frustrating behaviors feel challenging to live with and can take a toll on your attraction, it's the long-term effect lying has on the relationship that ultimately becomes a deal-breaker. The solid foundation of trust slowly erodes, and resentment replaces it on both sides. You begin to lose faith in your partner and connection, maybe even wondering who this person is.

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Don't lose heart, change is possible. Your mate (the pleaser) has been people-pleasing since childhood — a role they learned early in life. For the future of your relationship, you must do your part to help them shift this dynamic before it's too late.

Make room for two. Be sure you invite your partner's truth by being open, curious, and non-judgmental — even if you disagree or don't like what they're saying. Strong reactions from you, being dismissive, falling apart in tears, or becoming angry, keep them telling you anything you want to hear to avoid the drama.

You may need to pull the truth from them. Do what I call "rolling out the red carpet" to invite their truth — all while being sure your response remains tolerant and accepting.


Remember — only when both partners show up and share the truth of who they are can your connection deepen in a way that keeps the relationship hot, healthy, and happily ever after.

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Hilary Silver, LCSW is a therapist & relationship expert, who gives advice and strategies for keeping your relationship Hot, Healthy & Happily Ever After.