Are You A People Pleaser?

January 9th, 2014 by

‘I don’t know the key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everybody’ – Bill Crosby

business people

Do you scrabble through life on a constant mission to keep everyone else happy? Do you adapt your personality to suit your present company? Do you find that you constantly say yes to things even if they aren’t what you want to do, in order to please others?

You may be a serial people pleaser …

Trying to constantly please everyone will never work out. After all – why keep everyone happy at the expense of your own pleasure or peace of mind? Of course, this does risk falling into the trap of selfishness, which none of us want to be, so how do you remain a loyal and loving friend/partner/parent whilst shrugging the impossible task of striving to keep everyone happy?

Learn to say no. Don’t make excuses but sometimes it’s best to spare the cold hard truth too. For example, your husband suggests inviting all of his family over for Christmas – You know it will be a struggle to manage spending that much time with your mother-in-law, but of course you can’t say this! Try, ‘that will be a lot of stress to cater for them all, why don’t we invite them over for the evening instead?’ Or if your best friend asks you to go to a party tonight when you know you dislike most of the fellow guests – rather than respond with ‘Why would I want to spend time with those vacant brained morons?’ give a firm but polite ‘no thanks.’ Be firm, and exert your control over a situation.

Learn to voice your opinion. It is surprising how many people will shy away from expressing themselves and go along with the general consensus when in a group. This will often lead to decisions that you’re not entirely happy with – for example food choices that you’d rather not make, or sitting through movies that you’d rather not watch. People will have more respect for you if you stand up for your own beliefs, even if it’s merely a preference of Chinese food over Indian!

When you make personal decisions, don’t factor in the thoughts of others. There may be things that you want to do in life that others won’t agree with. Why sacrifice your own wants and desires in the name of keeping others happy? It makes no sense when you think about it. Unless you are actively affecting them by doing what you want, block out the judgemental noise of others and be your own person.

We all know people who don’t care what others think of them. Although refreshing this can make them rather unpopular and alienating. Learning to shrug off what others think of you whilst remaining socially savvy is about striking a balance between maintaining awareness and consideration of others whilst not caring so much that it interferes with your happiness, productivity or individuality. Worrying about what people think is the root of much superficiality, missed opportunity and regret. Understand that people are not thinking about you anywhere near as much as your imagination might have you believe.

It is a natural human trait to mimic people that we admire, however do understand that no matter how alike you may be to this person, you are different. Taking inspiration from others is natural, healthy and actively encouraged, but striving to become just like someone else is dulling the unique perspectives, quirks and idiosyncrasies that make you ‘you.’

Accept that ‘people will think what they think.’ Often people base opinions on people on very little evidence – i.e. judgements are formed before people know you, based on superficialities or even someone that you remind them of! Sometimes these opinions are difficult to break. It is up to those people to reform their opinions, and no amount of striving to please them will change their mind. If people don’t accept you for who you are, there are billions of people in the world, so why would you ever change yourself just to please one person?

Remember this – living your life in the pursuit to please others and trying too hard to appear like we are always doing the ‘right thing’ in other people’s eyes spells a fast track journey to bitterness and regret.

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