Why Trying To Fix People Actually Reveals How Broken You Are

Some of us — women in particular — likely consider ourselves natural “fixers.” We see someone struggling or lacking in some way and we automatically want to jump in and sort everything out, even if our help isn’t asked for or wanted. The problem is that trying to fix people all the time reveals more about you than it does about the person on the receiving end of your efforts.

1. Playing the hero hides your own issues.

It’s tempting to throw on a cape and dive into saving the day, especially when your own world feels like a puzzle with missing pieces. It’s a classic case of look over there, not here, hoping no one notices the chaos in your own backyard. Always deflecting keeps you from addressing your own needs and challenges.

2. You try to fix people because you can’t stand being exposed.

There’s a certain comfort in controlling everything around you, or at least trying to. But when it comes to facing your own problems, it all suddenly feels too personal, too raw to confront. Avoiding your own vulnerabilities only works for so long before they demand your attention.

3. You pour love on everyone else and leave none for yourself.

Handing out love and support like free concert tickets is second nature, but when it comes to claiming a seat for yourself, you realize you’ve given them all away. It’s a strange feeling, being the giver who forgets to give back to the most important person: you. Neglecting your own emotional needs can lead to burnout and resentment.

4. You dodge your own growth while you’re busy playing life coach.

Offering advice and guiding others through their problems feels rewarding, but when the storm clouds gather over your own life, it’s tempting to just look the other way. It’s a clever diversion, but eventually, those issues you’ve been trying to sweep under the rug will demand your attention. Ignoring your own path to growth can stunt your personal development.

5. You cling to people so you don’t end up alone.

The thought of being solo can send you into a frenzy of helpfulness, gluing yourself to people with good deeds. But this tendency comes from a place of fear, a worry that without your utility belt, you might just be invisible. This fear-based attachment can prevent you from forming genuine connections based on mutual respect and affection. You’re single because you’re amazing, not because you’re lacking!

6. You try to heal other people and yourself by proxy.

Trying to fix other people feels like a noble cause, but sometimes it’s a silent plea to heal your own hidden scars. It’s like shouting advice into a canyon and waiting to hear your own echo. Focusing solely on other people’s healing can leave your own wounds unattended and festering. They’re only going to get worse, you know.

7. You chase applause to avoid feeling empty.

The rush of being everyone’s go-to fixer can be intoxicating, especially when you’re constantly being praised at how good you are at helping everyone out. But when all is said and done, you recognize that your life feels kind of hollow. This pursuit of external validation can never truly satisfy the deeper need for self-acceptance and inner peace.

8. You stay busy with other people’s lives to avoid figuring out your own.

men drinking alcohol at the pub

By spending so much time focusing on everyone else’s life being squared away, you avoid sorting out your own in the process. You get so invested in what everyone else’s future is going to look like that yours remains nebulous and unknown. Maybe this is done on purpose because you lack direction or don’t know where you’re headed, but you’re never going to find out if you don’t start working on it.

9. You’re looking for the same love you’re giving away.

Broadcasting a “here to help” signal is often a silent wish to find someone who offer you the same in return. It’s a roundabout way of seeking the connection and understanding that everyone craves. Sadly, taking on an approach to fulfilling your emotional needs can be and usually is inefficient and unfulfilling.

10. You fake deep bonds to avoid real ones.

young couple chatting on street

Getting pulled into other people’s drama can make you feel like you’re close to them, but there’s nothing real under the surface — it’s all just superficial chaos binding you together. Authentic relationships require vulnerability and openness, something that can’t be achieved through surface-level interactions.

11. You’re always trying to be busy to avoid silence.

Filling every moment with tasks and to-dos can be a way to drown out the quiet times that might prompt self-reflection. You’re keeping the proverbial volume turned up so you don’t have to hear your own thoughts. Sadly, trying to keep up such a relentless pace ends up leading to exhaustion and prevents you from engaging in any kind of meaningful introspection.

12. You give unsolicited advice as a way of asserting your worth.

young man and woman chatting on park bench

Jumping in with advice or solutions without being asked can be a sign you’re trying to prove your value and relevance. It’s an attempt to feel important and needed, but it can come across as overbearing and dismissive of other people’s abilities to handle their situations. It can also strain relationships by making people feel undervalued or incapable.

13. You overshare to create false intimacy.

colleagues on their phones

Sharing personal stories and details can sometimes be an attempt to fast-track intimacy and connection, but when it’s one-sided or too much, too soon, it can feel overwhelming and inauthentic to the people you’re doing it with. Genuine intimacy takes time to build and requires a balance of give and take. Slow down a bit.

14. You take on other people’s problems at your own to feel needed.

male and female friend chatting on sunny day

Doing this might make you feel indispensable in their lives. It’s a way to ensure you’re always in demand, but it can lead to boundary issues and personal stress. It’s important to remember that being supportive doesn’t mean carrying the weight of someone else’s world on your shoulders.

15. You copy other people to fit in and feel accepted.

Multi-ethnic group of smiling young people talking outdoors in the city

Adapting your interests, opinions, or even your personality to match the people around you can be a sign of insecurity about your own identity. While it’s natural to want to belong, losing yourself in the process can lead to a sense of disconnection from your true self. Authenticity is key to forming meaningful connections.

16. You downplay your own needs to come across as selfless.

Consistently putting your needs last and playing the role of the selfless caretaker can be an attempt to be seen as noble or saintly. However, this can lead to neglecting your own mental health and harboring resentment over time. Self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary for maintaining your ability to care for others.

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Originally from Australia, Emma Mills graduated from the University of Queensland with a dual degree in Philosophy and Applied Linguistics before moving to Los Angeles to become a professional matchmaker (a bit of a shift, obviously). Since 2015, she has helped more than 150 people find lasting love and remains passionate about bringing amazing singletons together.

Emma is also the author of the upcoming Hachette publication, "Off the Beaten Track: Finding Lasting Love in the Least Likely of Places," due out in January 2025.