How to Avoid People Pleasing During the Holidays: 6 Timely Tips

Last Updated on November 18, 2023 by Candi Randolph


The holidays are a time when many people feel the pressure to please others. Whether it’s family members, friends, or co-workers, we can often feel like we need to go above and beyond to make everyone happy.

This is especially true for approval seekers – those of us who want to make sure that everyone is happy with us.

how to avoid people pleasing during the holidays

The Cambridge Dictionary gives us this definition of people pleasing:

someone who cares a lot about whether other people like him or her, and always wants others to approve of his or her actions

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to please others, it can be damaging if it becomes your only focus during the holiday season.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss six essential tips and learn how to avoid people pleasing during the holidays, as well as provide for your own well-being. Ultimately it is a form of self-care, my friend.

Why Do Some People Become People-Pleasers?

Some people become people-pleasers because they want to avoid conflict. They may have come from a background or culture where conflict was not tolerated, or they may have experienced a lot of conflict in their home life growing up.

As a result, they may feel that it is better to just go along with what other people want, to keep the peace.

Being a people-pleaser can also be a way of seeking approval and validation from others. If you grew up feeling like you were never quite good enough, you may find yourself trying to please others in order to feel accepted.

Alternatively, some people become people-pleasers because they simply don’t know how to say no. They may not want to disappoint others, or they may feel like they have to say yes to be polite. Setting healthy boundaries is not something they are accustomed to doing.

Whatever the reason, if you find yourself seeking the approval of others a little bit too often, it’s important to take a step back and examine your motives. Are you doing it out of a genuine desire to help others? Or are you doing it because you’re afraid of conflict or rejection?

Once you’ve identified your motivations, you can start working on setting boundaries and saying no in a way that feels comfortable for you. More about that in a minute!

What Does People-Pleasing Look Like?

People pleasing can show up in a lot of different ways, with one of the major behaviors being the inability to say no. You might agree to do things you really don’t want to do, or you might over-commit yourself and end up feeling stressed out.

Another common approval-seeking behavior is avoiding conflict. If you’re always trying to keep the peace, you might not speak up when something bothers you or when you have a different opinion. This can leave you feeling resentful and unheard.

Other people-pleasing behaviors include always apologizing, even when you haven’t done anything wrong, and putting other people’s needs above your own.

People pleasing is a way of seeking approval and validation from others. It’s natural to want to be liked and accepted, but when pleasing others becomes your go-to mode, it can start to take a toll on your mental health.

If you’re seeking the approval of others during the holidays, try to be aware of it and make a conscious effort to do things differently. Set boundaries, practice saying no, and allow yourself to experience some conflict.

The holidays are a time for connection and belonging, but they don’t have to be perfect. Remember that you don’t have to please everyone all the time – focus on taking care of yourself first and foremost.

How to Avoid People-Pleasing During the Holidays

6 tips to avoid holiday people pleasing

1 | Give yourself some time before saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’

The holidays are a time when we are often asked to do things we don’t really want to do.

We may be asked to attend an event or a holiday gathering that we’re not interested in, or to do a favor for someone that we don’t have the time or energy for. It can be difficult to say no, especially if we don’t want to disappoint the person asking.

However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to say yes or no immediately. You can take a moment to think about what you really want to do, and then respond accordingly.

If you need more time, you can say something like, “I need to check my schedule and get back to you.” This will give you the time you need to make a decision without putting so much pressure on yourself.

Remember, the holidays are a festive season and should be a time for you to relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t let yourself get caught up in doing things that you don’t want to do.

Put it into practice: Create a couple of scenarios that have occurred in the past (you know what they are!) and practice a response in your own words that allows you to think about your response before committing.

That way, you’ll be prepared and more confident with your response if the situation comes up again.

2 | Set boundaries early

One of the best things you can do to avoid seeking approval and pleasing others around the holidays is to set boundaries in advance.

Let your family and friends know what you are and are not comfortable with, and be firm about sticking to your limits. It can be helpful to practice saying no in advance so that you feel more confident when the time comes.

You might also want to make a list of holiday activities that you genuinely enjoy, and focus on doing those things rather than anything else.

Remember that you don’t have to please everyone all the time and that it’s perfectly okay to put your own needs first, especially when it comes to maintaining your physical and emotional health.

By taking these steps, you can stop people pleasing and make the holiday season much more enjoyable for yourself and those around you.

Put it into practice: Consider some of the events and family gatherings that have occurred in the past where you felt like your boundaries and feelings were not being considered, but went along with it anyway.

Make a list if needed, hopefully well ahead of the season, and determine what you are and are not willing to commit to. Then, share your thoughts with your family so they’ll understand.

3 | It’s okay to disagree

If you have a family member or friend who is particularly difficult to get along with, you may find yourself feeling anxious about pleasing them to keep everything on an even keel.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to disagree with people, and that disagreement doesn’t reflect poorly on you as a person.

In fact, handling disagreements in a healthy way can be an important part of maintaining relationships.

One healthy way to handle conflict is to express your feelings directly to the person with whom you’re disagreeing. This helps to ensure that both parties are heard and that misunderstandings don’t occur.

Additionally, it’s important to be respectful when expressing your disagreement. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with the other person, but it does mean behaving in a way that shows you still value them as a human being.

By responding in a respectful and direct manner, you can maintain healthy relationships even when you don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. You don’t have to give in to please others, and you feel good about it!

Put it into practice: One of the most effective ways to learn to disagree in a healthy way is by role-playing. It’s a non-threatening method of practicing a potentially difficult conversation.

Consider doing that with a trusted friend or family member, and “talk out” the issue.

4 | You don’t have to do it all

The holidays are a time when people often feel pressure to please others. Whether it’s baking cookies for the office party or hosting out-of-town relatives, there is always someone who needs something.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it all. You can say no to requests and still be a kind, caring person.

In fact, by setting boundaries and taking care of yourself, you’ll be in a better position to help others.

So this holiday season, remember that you don’t have to please everyone all the time. Take care of yourself first, and the rest will fall into place.

Put it into practice: Consider making a list of the things you most enjoy about the holidays, and/or some commitments of the past that you are not willing to do any longer.

Use affirmations and other types of encouragement to remind yourself that what you do is not tied to who you are or your worth as a person.

5 | Practice saying ‘no’

One way to avoid trying to please people during the holidays is to practice saying ‘no.’ It might seem counterintuitive, but by saying ‘no’ more often, we can start to feel more in control of our lives.

When we’re constantly trying to please others, we’re not making choices based on what’s best for us. We’re letting other people dictate our lives as well as adding stress to our plate. But when we start saying ‘no,’ we’re taking back control. We’re choosing what’s best for us, instead of trying to please everyone else.

This holiday season, if you find yourself getting caught up in people pleasing, remember to practice saying ‘no.’ It’s a Leading a Fulfilled and Healthy Life”>healthy choice that will help you take back control of your life.

Put it into practice: If this is something that is really difficult for you, practice, literally, in front of a mirror. Create several ways of saying ‘no’ that are consistent with your way of communicating. And, if nothing comes to mind, practice saying, “no, I won’t be able to do that” until you can say it with confidence.

6 | Be kind to yourself

The holidays can be a tricky time when it comes to people-pleasing. You want to make everyone happy, but in the process, you can end up making yourself miserable.

As noted above, remember that you don’t have to please everyone. It’s okay to say no sometimes.

Second, focus on taking care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, Eat healthy foods, and take some time for yourself every day.

Finally, be kind to yourself. If you make a mistake, or if someone is upset with you, forgive yourself and move on. People pleasing is a process, and it takes time to overcome it. But by being mindful of your behavior and taking care of yourself, you can make progress this holiday season.

Put it into practice: Consider making a self-care list, calendar, or chart specifically for the holidays. Remember to put these activities into your schedule!

Conclusion: How to Avoid People Pleasing During the Holidays

The holidays are a time when many of us focus on giving to others. We want to make sure our loved ones have everything they need and that they are happy.

However, it is also important to take care of our own needs during this time. Giving too much of ourselves can lead to burnout and resentment. It is not selfish to put our own needs first sometimes.

In fact, it is necessary in order to be able to give freely and openly to others.

When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of those we love. Will we have the perfect Christmas if we do this? Maybe, or perhaps not entirely perfect. But we’ll feel good about the season anyway.

So this holiday season, remember to also make time for yourself. Relax, recharge, and enjoy the season.

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6 tips to avoid being a people pleasing during the holiday season

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