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8 signs you’re a people-pleasing introvert

Introverts can be great in social situations – they just need ‘me time’ too (Picture: Getty Images)

The stereotype of introverts is that they’re whisper-quiet hermits who hate being social and fade into the background in groups.

This isn’t the case: introversion is actually less about shyness or withdrawal and more about the need to ‘recharge’ alone after being around others for a period of time.

In fact, in all likelihood you’d struggle to tell whether someone was an introvert or extrovert based on their interactions – even more so when it comes to people-pleasing introverts.

Podcaster Jason Field recently shared a series of TikToks about the personality type, racking up millions of likes and comments.

In the caption of one video, Jason jokes that he makes ‘incredible first impressions’ then goes ‘completely MIA for every attempt at meeting again,’.

In another, he pokes fun at his people-pleasing introvert traits of ‘never instigating conversation, but being incredibly engaging and bubbly for a few short minutes when approached.’

A number of people related to these conflicting characteristics, with comments ranging from the likes of ‘this is me’ to deeper conversations about anxieties and coping mechanisms.

What the majority seemed to agree on, however, is that being a people-pleasing introvert is exhausting.

Counselling psychologist, Dr Rina Bajaj, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘A people-pleasing introvert is someone who is naturally introverted, meaning they prefer spending time alone or in small groups and may find  social situations draining.

‘However, they also have a strong desire to make others happy and avoid conflict, which can lead them to prioritise  the needs and wants of others over their own.’

She says this can manifest in a variety of ways, from someone always saying yes to requests when they really want to say no to hiding emotions in public.

‘While this behaviour may come from a well-intentioned place,’ Dr Rina adds, ‘it can ultimately lead to feelings of resentment and burnout in the long term.’



Eight signs you’re a people-pleasing introvert

According to Dr Rina, you might be a people-pleasing introvert if you have the following issues:

  1. Avoidance of conflict: People-pleasing introverts may go to great lengths to avoid conflict, even if it means sacrificing their own needs or desires.
  2. Difficulty saying no: They may have a hard time saying no to requests or invitations, even when it’s not in their best interest.
  3. Putting others first: People-pleasing introverts may prioritise the needs and wants of others over their own, often at their own expense.
  4. Fear of rejection: They may worry that asserting themselves or expressing their true opinions will lead to rejection or disapproval from others.
  5. Hesitancy to speak up: People-pleasing introverts may be hesitant to speak up in group settings or express their opinions, even when they have something valuable to contribute.
  6. Overthinking interactions: They may spend a lot of time analysing social interactions and worrying about whether they said or did the right thing. This can manifest in feelings of anxiety, self-doubt or self criticism.
  7. Difficulty setting boundaries: People-pleasing introverts may struggle to set boundaries with others, leading to feelings of overwhelm or burnout in the long term.
  8. Putting on a mask: They may feel the need to put on a ‘social mask’ or pretend to be someone they’re not in order to fit in or avoid conflict. This can also act as a pseudo-buffer for their perceptions of other people’s judgements of them.

Extroverts are said to outnumber introverts by around three to one, so worries about fitting in with others may lead to behaviours like these.

But if your personality fits the bill of a people-pleasing introvert, you’re not resigned to a life of ignoring your own needs.

According to Dr Rina, one of the first steps you can take is learning how to say no.

‘Start small by saying no to low-stakes requests or invitations which do not feel so emotionally risky and gradually work up to more challenging situations,’ she advises.

As your confidence builds, you can set boundaries to reclaim your time, carve out time for self care, and reflect on your values to ensure you’re acting in a way that feels comfortable.

The process of breaking through obstacles will look different from person to person.

For some, journaling is a useful tool for validating feelings before expressing them to others, while asking questions like ‘what’s important to me in this situation?’ or ‘what do I want to prioritise in my life right now?’ helps others with decision-making.

The most important thing is to regularly check in with your energy levels and seek support from loved ones or professionals when things get too much.

Additionally, don’t forget to congratulate yourself when you get the balance right.

‘People-pleasing introverts can benefit from celebrating their own successes and accomplishments, no matter how small,’ says Dr Rina.

‘By acknowledging their own achievements, they can build self-esteem and confidence, which can help them continue to prioritise their own needs over time.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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