People Pleasing


Yes, I have been called a people pleaser. I strive to keep everyone in my life happy and content. I aim to please. It all boils down to a deep seated desire to have everyone like me. Ugh. I hate even typing that out. Please don’t hate me for writing that. (Gotcha! See, I’m always trying to keep you liking me.)

It’s true. I want everyone to like me. If you have ever tried to make “everyone” like them, you know the truth. It’s impossible. It’s absolutely a mission destined towards failure. Because guess what? No matter how hard you try and how much you put other people first, there are always going to be people out there who don’t like you. There are going to be many people that you disappoint. You are going to “drop the ball.” You are going to fail. There is absolutely no way around it.

While writing this post I looked up the word combination “people pleaser” on Google. I found a wikipedia entry for it (because Google really is the best). It is frightening how well their description fits my life.

Do you habitually give in to other people because you just can’t stand the thought of upsetting them? Yes!

Do you put your needs to one side because you get a buzz from someone else’s happiness, only to find that he or she is not a bit grateful? Yes!

If so, you are a classic “people pleaser,” and you are, in all probability, not getting what you want out of life. It’s time to shift the focus from others to yourself and stop being a martyr. Ouch!

There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests. Your task is to be true, not popular.

The entry goes on to list the ways “people pleasers” can put an end to this ultimately unhealthy way of living. Of course, there are worse ways to live your life and being a selfless, caring and considerate person isn’t necessarily an evil. However, one of the most important life lessons to learn is to love and respect yourself. This will never happen if you are basing your own happiness on the happiness of others. There is too much pressure on both parties involved.

One of the tips provided in the Wiki post is to list five times where you have done something that did not truly reflect your wants and needs, in order to please someone else. It then advises you to write down ways you would have handled it differently and then ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could have happened?”

The Wiki post then advises you to write down your worst fears. Because, truly, this desire to keep people happy is rooted in fear. Fear of losing people, letting them down, being alone and disliked. I don’t know how to stop this fear. If I did, I wouldn’t be trying so hard to keep people happy. And I certainly wouldn’t be Googling “people pleaser” at 11:07 on a Wednesday night. But maybe the fact that I have recognized this issue,  put it down in print and made it real and tangible is a start. I am holding myself accountable.  Now I can begin working on myself, being more present in the decisions I make. I can print out my little Wiki post and take tiny steps towards reclaiming my happiness, even if it means upsetting some people. If they really love me, asserting my independence is not going to stop that love. And if they leave, feeling let down and disappointed, then maybe I am better off without them.

Is anyone else out there a people pleaser?

Do you have trouble saying no to the demands of others?

Do you put yourself first?

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