How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

Click. “Hello?” A not so happy parent had just hung up on me.  They wanted to see if their child could opt out of the Confirmation retreat because of the distance we were traveling.  I said, “Sorry, if there was a different conflict I could help you, but not wanting to go isn’t a legitimate excuse.”  

Being a people pleaser leads to burnout.  In fact people pleasers really have no place in youth ministry.  In the end they only:

  • Compromise the Vision
  • Make Unnecessary Work For Yourself
  • Create A Culture Of Hypocricy
  • Lose The Trust Of Others

While you are called to love and serve others, it’s not an excuse to be a doormat.  As a youth minister you need to know when to challenge and encourage people to move outside their comfort zones.  While that’s the goal, to stop being a people pleaser is a challenge.  To make sure you stop wasting time being a people pleaser be sure to:


Not too many people like to hear the word, “NO“. It might cause discomfort and pain at first, but it will protect you.  It prevents you from filling up your plate with too many obligations.  To know when to say it you need to understand:

  • Who you report to 
  • What comes first in your ministry
  • Who you can go to for insight

When you use the word, “NO” correctly people will be less likely to walk all over you.


Even if you tried, you will never be able to meet everyones needs.  Main reason is because you are limited.  Plus, people will have unrealistic expectations of you.  If you fall short, people will be disappointed.  Instead of trying to please everyone, figure out who you are meant to serve.  This will allow you to determine who you can and cannot please.


You might struggle with saying, “NO” and setting limitations.  In this case surround yourself with people who can call you out when you become a doormat.  Let them tell you that you are acting like too much of a people pleaser.  Ask them to give you examples and to note certain situations that might trigger this behavior.


Slow the situation down.  A tendency of a people pleaser is to jump right into a decision.  It’s a fear of conflict, but it’s only a short term solution.  Instead of saying, “Yes” or “No” right away, respond with a, “Let me think on that for a little.”  It lets people know that they are being heard and it gives you time to analyze data or consult with someone else.  Pausing the moment will allow you to respond with a clear head.

There will be times when you can make exception to the rule to help someone out.  There are blessings in the exceptions; however, protect yourself by knowing your limits and surrounding yourself with the right people.  When you avoid being a people pleaser you create strong leadership that’s focused on the vision.


This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 15-04-2014 23:45:49
end_date 10-05-2014 16:22:21
Poll Results:
How Much Of A People Pleaser Are You?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • You probably already knew this, but I love this post. I know a few friends who need to see this. Sending them an email right now.

    • Aaron, totally agree. Our conversation was part of the inspiration behind this post. Thanks for sharpening other youth ministers. Also, please help me share this with others. Thanks.

      • All over it. Just emailed this post to a few friends who need to see it.

  • Melissa D.

    Really helpful article! I’m grateful to have co-workers who model these boundaries really well in their ministry to and with others and I am learning a lot from them.

    • Melissa, thanks for the feedback. Co-workers are definitely a key piece in making sure you maintain boundaries and live up to standards. Glad to hear you have a great community around you.

  • Kevin Sabolcik

    Great write up! Always need to remember mission/values/vision!

    • Kevin,
      Thanks for your note and for your comment. Yes, mission, values and vision are so key.

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