When being great with people isn’t great for you…

Are you the kind of person who always puts others’ needs before your own? Do you spend your days sorting out people’s problems and being there for them in times of need? If so, you are most likely a people pleaser. Are you known as a ‘people person’ at work? It may come as a surprise that your exceptional skills with people might not be so exceptional for your well-being.

Researcher Gabor Maté has found that certain personality traits seem to appear frequently in people diagnosed with chronic illnesses. One of these traits is having compulsive and automatic concern for others’ emotional needs, often at the expense of your own.

A second trait associated with chronic disease is a rigid identification with societal roles, duties and responsibilities. In other words,  people who are driven to fulfill expectations and conform to societal norms seem to be more prone to chronic illnesses. This doesn’t mean the personality traits cause the illnesses, but there may be a link between them.

So, what does this mean for people-pleasers? It suggests that constantly prioritising others’ needs above your own and being overly focused on meeting societal expectations could be associated with negative health outcomes. This is not to say that being compassionate and responsible is unhealthy, but rather that there needs to be a balance between caring for others and caring for yourself.


Free e-book and video tips.

Get your copy today!


It’s essential to find a balance between taking care of yourself and caring for others. Neglecting your own well-being can lead to burnout, stress and lowered wellbeing. It’s crucial to set boundaries and learn to say ‘no’, as constantly saying ‘yes’ can lead to resentment and exhaustion. Additionally, take time for self-care activities that nourish your mind, body and spirit. Allow yourself to relax without feeling guilty or selfish.

So, the next time you catch yourself placing everyone else’s needs before your own, remember that self-care isn’t selfish. Pause for a moment, reflect on your well-being and consider setting boundaries that allow you to put yourself first.

To find out more about this thought-provoking research on the hidden dangers of being too nice, you can read the complete article by Gabor Maté here.

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.