SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (GOOD THINGS UTAH) — If you often find yourself saying yes to things you don’t really want to do or doing things out of obligation or to make others happy, you may be a people pleaser. Dr. Julie Hanks, Owner & Director Wasatch Family Therapy, joined us on the show with tips to breaking free from the grip of people pleasing.

Hanks explains how people-pleasing can manifest in various ways. It may stem from factors such as female socialization, heightened sensitivity, or early childhood experiences influenced by family dynamics. As a child, the need to keep your parents content to avert their outbursts, rejection, or abuse likely led to the adoption of people-pleasing as a coping mechanism. Regardless of its origins, she says that it is possible to transform your relational patterns as an adult.

People-pleasing has two primary components. First, involves striving to keep others content and shield them from distressing emotions, which may seem admirable. Second, it entails maintaining a positive image in others’ eyes to bolster your self-esteem. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Recognize the Pattern 
  2. Ask Yourself, “What Do I Want?” 
  3. Set Healthy Boundaries 
  4. Risk Disappointing People 
  5. Learn Self-Validation 
  6. Practice Self-Compassion 

Wasatch Family Therapy is currently offering the first session for free (a $100 value) with graduate interns, and reduced fees for subsequent sessions. To schedule your free session, text 801-413-3106 or visit They offer in-person sessions in Farmington, Lehi, Sandy, as well as virtual sessions serving clients throughout Utah.