Don’t Be the Door Mat


Do you try to keep everyone happy?

Do you see yourself as the person who clears up after everyone? Being nice to others is lovely, but there’s a sting in the tail. What if they barely notice? What if they come to expect it? What if it’s not reciprocated?

And it gets worse. Some of us need validation, and we seek to get that by being of service to others. We end up as doormats, being taken for granted, and then getting angry.

Some of us have low self-esteem. It makes us feel we need to be quiet, not speak up, and merely act as others’ gofers.


Here’s a quiz to see if you’re affected by any of this:

If you scored 5 or more, you have the traits of a doormat. Here’s how to change your life and get Agency:


12 Ways to Avoid Being a Doormat

1. Don’t be humble. Don’t devalue yourself. You’re as important as anyone else. You contribute just as much as everyone does. Think about the things you do to make your world better every day, whether that’s at work, school trips, housework, or just having a nice conversation with someone who feels better for it.

2. Manage your body language. Stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back. Look people in the eye. Don’t fiddle with your hair. A more assertive posture sends out subliminal messages to people, telling them not to take advantage of you.

3. Train people to respect you. People respond to you the way according to how to behave., If you’re a doormat, they will continue to wipe their shows on you. Even the smallest push back will stop them behaving that way.

4. Don’t seek validation from others. It’s nice when other people appreciate your or your work but avoid being the person who needs it to reassure yourself you’re doing ok. It’s a sign of insecurity. Your default position should be they are happy with you. Get validation from the things you know you do well, instead of asking if what you did was ok.

5. Don’t be silent. People who don’t say anything are regarded as not worth bothering with. Speak up in meetings and when with friends. Your views are just as valid as anyone else’s.

6. Consider ending a relationship. If your partner isn’t caring and supportive of you, say, ‘I don’t think this relationship is really working out. I need to put some distance between us.’ You can sweeten the conversation by saying, ‘You’re a really nice person [lies, lies] but I need time for myself.

7. Set yourself higher goals. Don’t accept the cards you’ve been dealt – or the ones that others imply you deserve. Think what else you might achieve. Create a plan to do that. It will raise your own self esteem. And don’t be dissuaded from it.

8. Don’t do things just because someone asks you to. Practise saying No. It’s easier if you smooth it by saying, ‘I’m sorry but I’m too busy right now’. People will get used to this and stop asking you for favours that soak up your time. Think of someone who’s rich and famous. Do they drop everything to do favours for others? No, they don’t. They manage their time, even if sometimes it means being a bit selfish.

9. Don’t explode. If you’re taken for granted, you may end up shouting at people around you. And they won’t understand it. Be aware that doormat syndrome involves emotional swings, from humble to angry and back again. As you cease to be a doormat, you’ll find less need to aggressive. In the meantime, practise remaining calm when goaded.

10. Don’t do things you don’t want to do. Don’t be coerced. Practise saying No.

11. Don’t go out of your way for people who don’t value it. Be aware of how much they do for you in return. If it’s one-sided, stop doing that.

12. Don’t pick up the phone to people who use you. Look at the Caller ID on your phone before accepting it. If necessary, reject the call and then ring them back once you know who it was. People will soon get the message that you’re not instantly available for them. Some people will only call you if they need something, and they’ll soon find someone else to be their little donkey.



Acquiescing is easy. Decisions are difficult.

If you want change, observe how people treat you, and how you behave towards others.

Standing up for yourself removes some of the barriers to change.


Do you want help with achieving change in your life? We have a coaching programme that could help you. Learn more.