Whether you’re out there dating or in a relationship, do you always accommodate the other person? Is your default answer “yes”? 

Someone recently wrote to me and shared that she feels frustrated that her attempts at lasting love keep coming up short. She suspects that being too much of a pushover could be impacting her ability to be authentic in her romantic relationships.

Can you relate? If that’s a YES, I’m here to help you get some clarity on how and why too much people pleasing could be affecting your love life (and not in a good way).

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, this week’s episode and video is full of my best tips to stop the people pleasing syndrome so you can create a love life that thrills you. I’m sharing how to raise your awareness around where the Disease to Please might be blocking you from real intimacy and the steps you can take to open the door to EPIC love.


For so many of us, we are raised to be nice above all else. Sacrificing what we want and need for others is, in many cultures, held up as a virtue. Frankly, that’s bullshit. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being nice. But there is a critical difference between being genuinely nice and people pleasing. Are your actions driven by love and your generous heart? Beautiful. Keep it up.

But if you’re overgiving, over-functioning or finding it difficult to say no because you don’t want to create conflict or disappoint someone…that’s a different story. Dr. Harriet Braiker, whom I deeply respect and whose work heavily influenced my work on codependency, used the term the Disease to Please to describe compulsive people-pleasing behavior and she found that it is actually a “self-defense camouflage” that can have far-reaching emotional consequences.

So how do you know if you have the Disease to Please? Ask yourself the following q’s:

  • Do you say “yes” when you really want to say “no”?
  • Do you apologize often – not only when you’re not sorry, but also when you’re angry?
  • Do you avoid confrontation at all costs?
  • Do you put everyone else’s needs above your own?

While it might not seem like a big deal, it is. Here’s why: if you are always deferring or acquiescing to others and putting their wants, needs and preferences first, you’re not really being honest. If you’re making decisions based on fear and what you think other people want from you, you’re not representing your true self.

Think about it: if you say yes when you want to say no and hold back your own feelings, the people in your life can’t ever authentically know you. You are basically giving them faulty or corrupted information about who you are and what you want in life. How can anyone authentically love you if they don’t authentically know you?

Because of this, those who suffer from the Disease to Please can often end up exhausted, burnt out, and eventually, resentful and bitter. It can be incredibly painful and isolating to wake up one day and realize that no one actually knows the real you. 

If this is hitting home with you, I want to let you know that there are absolutely things that you can do to be more authentic. It all starts with raising your awareness around your behavior. In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you a simple exercise that will help you take an inventory of your people pleasing patterns, as well as some questions that will help you uncover your personal why. Ready to get to work? You can grab the guide right here.

Being deeply known is the only way to really create epic, real, lasting love in your life. So how do you shift from being “nice,” “easy” or “not fussy” into being open and real?

If you’re dating, the first step in the right direction is to become very aware in the first stages of getting to know someone of how they interact with you. Do they ask you questions about your preferences? Are they thoughtful about your needs?

I want to empower you to be just a little bit more assertive in your conversations when you’re making plans. Instead of saying “oh, I don’t mind where we go” or “whatever you want” or some variation of that (people pleasing default responses), give yourself permission to voice what you want. You can be assertive in a chill way. The benefits? You will start to gather information about the other person and how they react to your preferences and requests. And they in turn, will learn about the real YOU.

Being aware, vocal and honest from the beginning as this is what opens the door to the possibility of you finding someone who falls in love with you FOR you.

If you’re in a relationship, you might be thinking OMG…how can I make these changes now after all this time?! To all my beautiful high-functioners out there: remember, you don’t have to change everything at once!

I’m going to encourage you to grab your journal, take some space, a few deep breaths, and then make a list of some of the things you don’t talk to your partner about that bother you. They can be big or small, but they should be things that you do or tolerate that you don’t like…but you’ve never told them. I’m not talking about compromise or the things we do because we love our partners, I’m talking about raising your awareness of the areas in which you haven’t been truthful about your desires or preferences. Then, just pick one thing to start with. It’s ok to go slow, and honestly, so much more effective.

You can say, “I want to do something different” or “I want to break out of xyz” or “I’d really love to fill-in-the-blank”. Just gently and lovingly assert yourself, without blame or shame. Once you begin to see a positive change, your confidence and courage will continue to build, and you can move into another area on your list!

This is about taking small, mindful shifts one day at a time that gets you closer and closer to showing up in the world as the most authentic, fully expressed version of YOU.

Please, no more abandoning your truest self to keep the peace. You SO deserve to be authentically known and deeply loved.

I hope this episode was helpful to you. Please, share it with people in your online world. I want to empower as many people across the globe as possible and you are a part of that! The more you grow and share, the bigger our collective positive ripple effect will be!

You can find more discussions about this and many more topics in  my AWESOME free community on Facebook right here or follow me on Instagram.

Enrolments are also open for BOUNDARY BOOTCAMP a program for women who are exhausted from overgiving, overdoing and even over feeling.  Come and find out more and take the first step to a happier, healthier life. 

Thank you for being here with us, have an amazing week and as always, take care of you.

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.