Are you a social chameleon?

people pleaser, social chameleon, anxiety, self worth

Are you a social chameleon?

(Part 2 of People Pleaser)


Gaining rapport is a key skill in becoming a good therapist. It’s essential that each and every client feels that they can trust their therapist to be on their side and to do their best for them.

It’s all about adjusting how I am to suit whoever I’m working with in that moment. Always being me, being true to myself but also reflecting what’s important for the person I’m with.

There’s a fine line between building rapport, speaking someone else’s ‘language’ and changing who you are in order to fit in. This is the essence of the social chameleon.

We all build rapport, some more successfully than others, when we interact with other people. We adjust our usual ways of expressing ourselves, our behaviours, language, even our body language or the clothes we wear.

Think about it. You behave, speak & dress differently when you go to work than when you go for a night out. You’re a different you when you have Sunday lunch with your Mum than when you’re on a date.

We do it so that the most appropriate version of us is front and centre to deal with the social situation we happen to find ourselves in.

It automatic and it works, mostly.

The Social Chameleon

The problems come when the version of us we choose to use doesn’t reflect who we really are. When it just reflects who we’re interacting with it’s a camouflage for deeper problems, like vulnerable self-worth.

The way you are depends on what you think the other person will like so that they like you. Their approval makes you feel more valued, albeit only in the moments you’re with them.

The point is, it can’t work.

You see, you can’t keep up the pretences forever. And all the work you’ve done to make sure you’re liked falls apart in an instant. The castle was built on sand & it all comes tumbling down.

So how can you tell if you’re trying too hard to be liked?

Are you being a social chameleon?

These 5 questions might give you a clue:

1. Do you always agree with others?

It’s one thing to listen politely when other people air their opinions. But do you agree just to be liked, (even when deep down you don’t)?

2. Do you try hard not to make anyone angry?

People get angry for all sorts of reasons, often it’s got little to do with what’s going on. Do you get worried if someone gets angry? Is it your job to keep the peace?

3. Do you try to behave like the people you’re with?

As we talked about at the beginning, it’s normal to adjust what we do to suit our surroundings. But do you find yourself behaving in ways that aren’t like you, just to keep people happy?

4. Praise feels good. In fact, you need it to feel good.

It’s nice when people appreciate what you do. But do you only feel good when someone else tells you you’ve done a good job? More importantly, do you feel like a failure if they don’t?

5. Do you avoid conflict at all costs?

Not everyone has the same point of view or wants the same things. So sometimes we’ve got to be careful not to start conflict by mistake. But if you avoid conflict whatever the situation, you’ll never stand up for things you believe are important.

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, your people-pleasing is probably more than just being polite.

Often, simply realising this can give you enough of a nudge to change how you behave. However if self-worth is a core issue for you, you may well need more than a nudge to move on…


What’s next

This is where Cognitive Hypnotherapy can help. By addressing these core issues, you can update how your mind reacts and give yourself control over how you feel.

Why not get in touch and let’s discuss your next steps?



Photo by sanjiv nayak on Unsplash

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