There you are, rushing off to work on a Saturday, cleaning up after your roommates, and letting your friend crash on the couch (for the fourth week in a row.) While it may not feel like a big deal, these are all signs you're a pushover — and it's a habit that can become quite the problem.
Of course, these are also signs of a hard worker, a good friend, and an amazing (really amazing) roommate. So the answer as to whether or not you're a true pushover really lies in your motivation, as well as how you feel about being so darn nice all the time.
Pushovers tend to have a people pleasing mentality, which is OK in small doses. But if you're only doing nice things because you feel like you can't say "no," or because you have zero confidence, then you need to step back and consider what's really going on.
As Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, says in an email to Bustle, "[Pushovers] ... get taken advantage of by those in their lives from friends, to family, to work. This can have negative consequences of stress, lack of sleep, feelings of being overwhelmed, resentment, frustration, hopelessness. They feel their life is externally controlled." If this describes you, it may be time to adopt some more assertive ways. And to, you know, kick your friend off the couch. Read on for some signs that you need to do just that.
1. You Don't Have Any Boundaries
If people are constantly taking advantage of your time, it's likely due to a lack of boundaries. They know they can call you into work, or ask a million favors, because you kind of let them. (Oops.) If you'd like to take back your time — and finally stand up for yourself — you have to stop bending to everyone else's needs, Martinez tells me. Start by setting up some rules for a healthy work/life/self balance, and then stick to 'em. "This will be hard at first, but when [you] see that the world does not end ... [you] will get better and better at this skill," she says.
2. You Soften Your Opinions
I hate confrontation just as much as the next gal, so I totally understand the desire to not rub people the wrong way. But doing it too often — and at the expense of your beliefs — is crossing over into people pleasing territory. "Pleasing occurs when ... you consistently soften or change your position because you fear your ... thoughts will not be well received or supported by others," said psychologist Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D., on HuffingtonPost.com. The next time you feel yourself going down this road, remember to be assertive and say what you feel.
3. You Never Say "No"
In the same vein as those boundaries (or lack thereof), you constantly find yourself getting suckered into all sorts of things you don't want to do. And that's likely because "no" is not a part of your vocabulary. "I know this word seems scary, but we can all only do so much and only have time for so much," Martinez says. "It is important to say 'no' and explain why. This helps set a precedent for some of your new boundaries, and gives people an idea of your limits and ceilings." In other words, it's OK — even helpful — to say it. So go ahead and give it a try.
4. You Over-Apologize
Pushovers pepper all their statements and requests with "I'm sorry" this and "I'm sorry" that. While it's nice to be polite and, say, acknowledge when someone is busy, it's not the best if you are only apologizing because you feel unworthy. "You don’t need to apologize for your existence," said Campbell. "Be bold enough to make mistakes." No apologies necessary.
5. You're Easily Defeated
OK, so you got the confidence to try something new. It was going well for a stretch, but then there were a few bumps in the road, and you nervously backed down. While this obviously isn't ideal, it is the MO of the pushover. "When you boil it all down, being a pushover means that you're easily defeated or taken advantage of," said lifestyle writer Patrick Allan on Lifehacker.com. All you can do is change your ways, prove people wrong, and get back up in the ol' saddle.
6. You Get Shoved During Your Commute
This one is quite literal in that you're actually being pushed over. If you're a timid commuter, then you know exactly what I mean. "Despite the fact you have the 'elbows out, eyes forward' commuting pose completely nailed ... everyone else manages to beat you onto the train," said Emma Walker on Cosmopolitan UK. This is likely due a last-minute decision to be polite and worry about strangers, instead of focusing on yourself. Of course, you don't want to shove old ladies out of your way, but you do want to stick to your course and get where you need to go.
7. You Hate To Argue
While most people don't like to argue, they still understand that it's a normal part of relationships, friendships, and even family dynamics. But you? Well, you avoid it at all costs. It would mean saying what you feel, or upsetting someone — and that's too much to deal with. If you feel this way, it can help to view arguing as a good thing. "When you argue with someone, you’re arguing about something you have a passion for," said relationship expert Ty Mitchell on EliteDaily.com. "Your views, your lifestyle and everything else that makes you who you are is worth arguing for."
8. You Give Into "Bargains"
You know those mall kiosks that sell $300 hand cream? Well, I remember being a teenager and watching in awe as my roped into buying some. She obviously regretted it, and we both chalked it up to a learning experience. But getting ripped off in this way on the regular is a norm for pushovers, according to Walker. So remember the next time this happens to you that it's OK to say "no."
9. You Constantly Ask Permission
Of course we all have situations where it's necessary to ask permission for things. But pushovers take it to the next level. "People pleasers have a habit of asking permission in situations where needing permission is not required," Campbell said. It's all in an attempt to be overly-polite, which is not as necessary as you may think. I promise.
10. You Never Complain
Let's say you're out to dinner and you ordered the vegetarian dish. Then out walks the server (who's obviously busy), with a chicken-topped salad in hand. While not the end of the world, you were really hoping to enjoy your food. And yet, according to Walker, complaining is completely out of the question. Sometimes it's obvious you'll just have to deal. But putting up with blatant mistakes when you could easily say something is a tad too pushover-y. Remember, it's OK to clarify what you want — especially when you're a paying customer.
11. You're On The Quiet Side
While there's nothing wrong with being quiet, it can become a problem if the only reason you stay silent is to pass through the day unnoticed. If this is your go-to pushover symptom, get yourself fired up by remembering timidness won't get you anywhere. "You are not going to get anywhere being timid and fearful," Campbell said. "Find the confidence to pursue your happiness."
Because that's what fixing your pushover ways is all about — standing up for yourself, earning some respect, and (finally) getting what you want.
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