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How Not to Be a Pushover: What Makes You One & Ways to Take a Stand

Being pushed around is one of the worst ways to go through your life. Learn how not to be a pushover, and find the heart to take a stand for yourself.

How Not to Be a Pushover

Being a pushover will have serious consequences on someone’s career, romantic relationship, and social life. As much as we try to be nice, there will always be people who will take advantage of others to get what they want. To avoid becoming a victim to these types, it is important to know how not to be a pushover and when to take a stand for yourself.

However, it is important to note that standing up to someone is not the same as being aggressive or confrontational. Effectively dealing with overbearing people requires knowing the usual habits that make you a pushover, avoiding those habits, and learning the right way to deal with the people taking advantage of another’s good nature.

If done the right way, anyone can stop being a pushover and at the same time, earn the other person’s respect and cooperation. [Read: 16 discreet signs you’re being taken for granted by others because you’re a pushover]

What are the common habits of pushovers?

Before we try to understand how not to be a pushover, it’s important to self-reflect and see the common habits that could be causing you to feel emotionally weak and behave like a pushover. Here are the most common traits of pushovers irrespective of the circumstances.

#1 They have low confidence and self-esteem. People with low confidence and self-esteem are most likely to become pushovers. Due to their inability to assert what they want and their self-perceived weakness, they are easily swayed and bullied by other people who have stronger personalities than them.

#2 They are pathological people-pleasers. On the other side of the pushover spectrum, we have people who place so much value in pleasing others even if it’s at their own expense. These people find it hard to say no regardless if they’re visibly uncomfortable with what’s being asked of them. For them, the only way to get the approval of people around them is to do what others want. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser and don’t realize it]

#3 They place too much value in what people think of them. Others become pushovers because they are so concerned on what people think about them. Similar to the previous item, these people think that others will view them negatively if they object or disagree to other people’s ideas which is why they allow themselves to be ordered around. With this frame of mind, they become pushovers just to protect other people’s image of them.

#4 They are timid and avoid confrontation. Some people are so afraid of confrontation that they’ll allow people to push them around than to stand up for themselves. For them, doing what other people want is the easier way than saying no or disagreeing with those people. [Read: How to say no, stop pleasing people and feel awesome instead]

How not to be a pushover and find solid ground to stand on

#1 Think: Life is better when you’re not a pushover. The road to positive self-assertion is not an easy one especially if you possess one of the aforementioned habits of pushovers. It takes a combination of willpower, practice, and a bit of trial and error before one can totally stop being a pushover.

One thing is for sure: being a pushover will weigh your life down and learning how not to be a pushover has a great deal of benefits on your romantic, social, and professional life.

#2 Think: Prioritize what’s best for you. Your well-being and happiness must come first. These are more important than what people think of you and whether what you want will please them or not. Always keep in mind that in the end, you don’t owe anyone anything and their pleasure must not come at the expense of yours. [Read: How to recognize the martyr syndrome and stop your self-inflicted martyrdom]

#3 Do: Learn and practice saying no. Keep it simple. If you are being asked to do something that you’re not comfortable with and it’s something that you’re not obligated to do in the first place, say no and walk away. You don’t have to explain yourself. Just do it.

#4 Do: Avoid people who push you over. In situations where you regularly have to interact with the people who push you over, you can keep things simple and comfortable by ceasing interaction with them rather than confronting them.

You may stay out of their social space, cease talking to them, and treat them like they don’t exist. Ostracizing those people will not only lessen their negative impact on you, it might also let them know that they’re being overbearing.

#5 Think: Know the types that will push people over. Basically, there are two types. First is the downright bully whose preferred method is to aggressively overpower you by intimidation. This type is usually dealt with in kind in order to demonstrate your clout. The next type is the manipulative type that will masquerade as your friend in order to squeeze out a lot of favors from you. These people are usually dealt with by calling them out and exposing them. [Read: 16 signs to know if someone is using you and ways to stop them]

#6 Do: Communicate in a clear and straightforward manner to express what you want. There are times when people get pushed over because they are unable to communicate their thoughts clearly making others think that they have no objections to what’s being asked of them. By learning how to communicate effectively, a person can get their thoughts through in a diplomatic way making the other person understand their situation.

#7 Think: others will push you over only if you let them. Sadly, we are surrounded by opportunistic people who will even go to lengths as to masquerade as your friends. As conventional wisdom states, people will be pushovers only if they let others push them around.

This is why people need to learn how to draw the line at a certain point and take a stand. If at the onset, you make it a point that you’re someone not to be messed around with, they will step back and treat you in a better way. [Read: How to stop being a “nice” person and go from pushover to achiever]

#8 Do: Stop apologizing when you don’t have to. Apologizing too much is a sign of weakness and complacency that others will easily notice making you a target for bullies. If you always apologize even if you are not at fault or apologize for demanding things that you deserve, other people will be likely to push you over.

#9 Do: aim for a compromise when in disagreement. When you find yourself in a situation where there’s a clash of ideas or desires, make it a point to suggest a compromise that will be somehow agreeable to both parties.

By taking the higher moral ground, you show strength of will that will surely gain you respect even by those who disagree with you. Never cave in and settle for anything less during conflict.

#10 Think: always challenge the idea that others are superior to you. There is a psychological phenomenon called the impostor syndrome where people belittle their own value and accomplishments in comparison to others even if their own accomplishments are commendable in reality. [Read: Imposter syndrome – 20 signs and ways to stop feeling like a fake]

This type of thinking makes you less likely to assert yourself which would result in being pushed over by others. Always remember that no other person is completely superior to others and you may be downplaying your own value due to lack of confidence.

Learning how not to be a pushover will improve the quality of a person’s romantic, social, and professional life. By building your confidence, knowing your self-worth, and learning how to communicate your thoughts even during in conflict with others, will allow you to assert yourself better in any situation.

[Read: 20 life hacks that can help you feel supremely confident]

Once you learn the little details that play a part in undermining your confidence, use these steps to understand how not to be a pushover and earn the respect of people around you.

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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...
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