Understanding The Need To Be Liked Syndrome (And How to Overcome It)

Last Update on May 19, 2023 : Published on May 21, 2023
The Need To Be Liked Syndrome

Humans desire to feel validated and appreciated to stay motivated and inspired. We want to feel wanted and needed. If we don’t feel wanted or needed, we feel lost. I don’t know about you, but I do.

I have this need to help others and keep them happy, even if their happiness comes at the cost of mine. It took me a lot of time to understand that my need stemmed from the need to be liked by everyone.

There was a time in my life when I needed to impress people and hear those three magical words from another person, “I like you” and I’m not talking about these words in the romantic sense. It’s normal to want to be liked by your friends and family; to enjoy the approval of others.

So, if you’re one of those people who are scared to hear, “I don’t like you”, then you’re not alone. This need-to-be-liked syndrome can eventually take a toll on your self-worth and well-being. Let’s explore more about this pathological need to be liked and how you can overcome this need.

How To Tell You Have The Need To Be Liked Syndrome?


This need to be liked by everyone is a trait that many of us share, but if you’re unaware of this particular trait about yourself, then here are some signs that might help you;

  • You continuously do things to please others without a care for your pleasure
  • You willingly do almost anything for others, including something dangerous
  • You feel severe discomfort or anxiety when you are faced with others’ disapproval
  • You don’t like to stand out from the group or go against others, even when you know that they are in the wrong
  • You have a fixation on people who don’t like you back

Why Do You Need To Be Liked by Everyone?

You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to be liked?” Well, there are various reasons for this need. You might not prefer criticism to praise or you might not be comfortable hearing constructive criticism or negative feedback from others, especially from people who are close to you.

In any case, here are some common reasons why you have the need to be liked syndrome;

  • Sociotropy

This is a state of depending on others for your self-worth and a desire to please people-please. You might connect your value and self-worth based on others’ opinions of you and this could be a reason for your need to be liked by everyone. Sociotropy is the opposite of autonomy, so instead of relying on yourself for your worth, you depend on others for the same.

  • Trauma

Trauma responses such as fawning might also be a cause of your need to be liked. This response may make you preoccupied with meeting others’ needs and wants. When you feel like you’re liked by everyone, this makes you less likely to face conflict or criticism. The need to be liked by everyone can also be a safety mechanism.

  • Anxiety Disorders

Disorders such as social anxiety disorder can cause you to feel stressed and anxious. In such situations, the need to be liked by everyone becomes a way to avoid rejection and judgment in a social situation. To avoid any unpleasant experiences that are brought forth by a social anxiety disorder, you may please others and develop this need to be liked.

  • Depression

In certain types of depression such as anaclitic depression, people have this deep fear of rejection and separation. In such conditions, one could develop the need to be liked to avoid getting separated or abandoned by a loved one.

  • Emotional Support From Others

Wanting the support of your family and friends is less likely to make you feel like you need to please everyone to be liked. When you have the need to be liked, it may cause you to make decisions on the approval of others and not on your own accord. While seeking others’ approval can help you create social connections, when you begin to depend on others for your self-worth and self-esteem, that’s when the need to be liked can turn unhealthy.

How to Get Over The Need To Be Liked Syndrome?

Identify Your Behaviors

Here are some ways you can get over the need to be liked;

1.Identify Your Behaviors

The first thing you need to do is identify when you engage in approval-seeking behaviors. When you can timely intervene, then you can learn to unlearn the need to be liked. Instead of seeking others’ approval, sit for a while in discomfort. It’ll be uncomfortable in the beginning, but slowly you’ll build resilience against it.

2.Work On Yourself

To overcome or get over the need to be liked, you can work on yourself first. Cultivate self-love to reduce the need to seek external validation. Know that you don’t need others to tell you how good you are. When you like yourself, the need to be liked by others can pale in comparison. Only your opinion and validation should matter.

3.Limit Social Media

Posting on social media is a subtle way to fulfill the need to be liked by everyone we have. The number of likes we get on social media makes us feel a sense of achievement, but that’s just it. Social media can make us feel attached to the idea of getting likes as a way to create connections, but it is not the right way. Try to limit your social media posting if you want to get over the need to be liked.

4.Get Comfortable With Conflicts

Conflicts are a part of life and you’ll face them from time to time, so you need to get comfortable with them. You can disagree with people and let them disagree with you. This is a good way of learning new perspectives and gaining new experiences. As long as you know how to respect your opinions as well as of others, it’s all good.

5.Allow Critical Feedback

When you’re working on something, allow others to make critical feedback, especially from people who explicitly trust. Allowing feedback from trusted people can help you build yourself and this can be a great exercise to learn how to allow criticism in your life without adding the people-pleasing attitude or the need-to-be-liked syndrome.

6.Know That Others’ Opinions Are Not Yours

Opinions are just that; opinions. Each person has their own opinions based on their experience and mindset so you can’t change them. You need to understand that others’ opinions are not a mirror of yours and that you are not responsible for them. If someone doesn’t like you, then it’s not your responsibility to change their opinions.

7.Embrace Your True Self

Conforming yourself to the whims and ideas of others is a terrible way to live. To get over this need to be liked, you need to embrace your true self and live that way.

In the beginning, it may make you feel uncomfortable to be true to yourself, but as you’ll move ahead in life, you’ll realize that living who you are is more fun than contorting yourself to the ideas and wants of others.

If you’re still unsure about how to stop this need to be liked by everyone or get over it, then you can seek professional help. You can click on the link below to connect with a therapist who can help you understand the causes of your pathological need to be liked and how you can get over the need-to-be-liked syndrome.


Great for a large network of licensed therapists

  • $60 to $90/week, billed every 4 weeks

  • Therapy via messaging, phone, or live video chat

  • Flexible cancellation at any time

20% off your first month


Great for CBT Based therapists

  • $40/week, billed every 4 weeks

  • Therapy via messaging, phone, or live video chat

  • Specialization for CBT based Therapy

20% off your first month


Best for Treatment Plants

  • $60 to $90/week, billed every 4 weeks

  • Therapy via messaging, phone, or live video chat

  • Flexible cancellation at any time

$100 off your first month with code SPACE

I hope this blog helped you understand what is the need to be liked syndrome and how you can overcome it. For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or leave us a message on our social media channel.

You can also leave a comment in the section below with your thoughts.

Take care.

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On