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blogging, Mental Health, Philosophy

How to Please People

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Jim Rohn

Do you like to Help Others?

We are encouraged to help others according to the religious and social conventions of our world. Doing so, promotes joy in others, a sense of, ‘loving kindness,’ in our interactions with others and community.

But,

where are the boundaries between helping others and neglecting our own needs in order to please others?

People-pleasers typically have low selfesteem. They overdo it on kindness and helpfulness because they feel a need to prove their worth. They’re uncomfortable with conflict and negative emotions, so they work hard to always keep their partners happy, with no concern for their own feelings.

Psychology Today

This statement goes a little far in finger-pointing, and it could incite feelings of guilt in the person who aims to please. But I take their point on the fundamental issue.

So how do we achieve that balance between helping others and not hindering ourselves?

I think that it’s a learning process for some of us.

People pleasers hope that saying yes to everything asked of them will help them feel accepted and liked. However, no matter how nice they are, some people won’t like you for no good reason.

Why not?

Who knows?

Do you like every person you meet?

Kindness or Pleasing Others?

Many people-pleasers confuse the act of pleasing people with kindness. When discussing their reluctance to turn down someone’s request for a favour, they say things like,

“I don’t want to be selfish,” or “I just want to be a good person.”

Consequently, they allow others to take advantage of them.

https://www.psychologytoday.com

It is impossible to be all things to all people. Trying to be that person will just stress you out.

Some people-pleasers have a history of maltreatment and somewhere along the way, they decided that their best hope for better treatment was to try to please the people who mistreated them.

Psychology Today

Some People-pleasers seem to spend a lot of time walking on eggshells and neglecting their own boundaries to keep a significant other happy*. For these folks, people-pleasing becomes a habit and a way of interacting with family, friends and other people.

*NB. If this tips over into an abusive relationship, professional help should be considered, at the earliest opportunity.

What You Can Do to Break a People-Pleasing Habit

  • Start by saying no to a small request or take a stand for something you truly believe in.
  • Express your real thoughts and opinions to something small or less significant.
  • Validate the other person’s right to a different opinion before calmly stating your own.

Check to see if this works for you.

A positive or neutral response to this, from the receiver, may help to build confidence in one’s own ability to be more aligned with the true self.

Any adjustments in this communication might mean re-phrasing your words without acquiescing your own beliefs. Validating other people’s right to their own opinion, whilst calmly stating your own, may also be helpful.

“I get why you would think that and it would be nice if I could see it your way/agree with you, but right now, I see it/think differently.”

“The Number 1 reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbours.”

– Napoleon Hill

45 thoughts on “How to Please People”

  1. Over the years I was a people pleaser. I was so obsessed that I lost my self trying to please other people. But am so grateful that am no longer that person again. Truth is; no matter how you try to be nice to people they’re still gonna want you to do more beyond your capacity. I made a promise to myself that am not gonna try to please anyone else ever again.
    Thanks for this piece.
    Maybe you could follow me so I can learn more from you cause this is 💯

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Godson for your heartfelt comment. I will pop over to your blog.
      Re this post: I am pleased to hear that you have overcome this habit of bending over backwards to please everyone. It is just not possible to do that all the time without it hurting yourself. Although there is nothing wrong with pleasing someone if it suits you and respects your rights as an individual. You may choose to do that, but you should never feel obligated to do so. That is the difference. If you choose to do something to please another, it is because you have given it careful consideration and have weighed up the pros and cons for you and the other person. Blind helpfulness is just blind. Keep the respect you have built for yourself.

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  2. Hi Amanda, A very relatable post. Over the years I have also tried to compensate by people-pleasing. Each decade I have more tools at my disposal to deal with these challenges. Kermit is a wise frog and he makes me smile. I always enjoy the quotes you add to your post! A sense of time and perspective helps for me on how I “see” things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a great point, Eric/ka. Time and perspective can change the lens through which we see our actions. What seemed fine in our youth might look ingratiating in retrospect. You mention compensating by people-pleasing. What are you compensating for, may I ask? You are enough just as you are!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a funny thing isnt it I think as we get older & more aware of our needs it gets easier to say no. We had a great book on boundaries cant remember the author but wow. Setting boundaries actually is not only doing the right for yourself but also for the persons involved. By asking for respect we give it in return. We combined the reading with a book about the 5 love languages. Often if you have a difficult personality to deal with recogniizing their love language actually sets boundaries naturally, works wonders for all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That book sounds interesting, Linda. I didn’t expect it would cover boundaries. It is excellent that it happened so naturally. I just had a brief look at some of the google images for the 5 love languages. I think there is something there that each of us could do a little better with not much effort. I am guessing it would make a bit difference.
      As for saying no respectfully, that definitely comes with more experiences, and age. Aging brings so much wisdom and for that I welcome it. The other aspects of aging, I don’t welcome so much! You point about asking for respect, being implicit in setting boundaries, is an excellent point. We respect ourselves and the other person. Schooling teaches us to conform, and the ability to say no to a stronger personality or a person in authority is much more difficult unless we view this in terms of respect. The words we choose are also ultra important.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whoa ! What a curious time for me to read this having just finished telling three friends-on-line that, well, I saw things differently today. Well, in two cases this was followed by a ‘love letter’ privately 🙂 !! Yes, well, a ‘low’ self esteem enters the arena in both . . . I just cannot see a relationship developing and being worth while unless there trust develops to make thinks real . . . I actually think it great when someone comes to know me well enough to say ‘well, that is a bloody foolish way to think . . .’ If they dare methinks they also care .. . .

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    1. So let me get this straight, Eha. You called them out on something and they wrote words of love or an apology perhaps?
      Trust is absolutely imperative to any serious relationship I think. Each person does have to stand their ground or else they do lose respect for themselves and from others. I would not phrase it in exactly the one you quoted, but I get the gist of what was meant! Lol. Standing up for oneself indicates a secure person and others find people who are self-assured attractive. This may be evolution at work directing us to stronger individuals?

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      1. *grin* NO ! Just a few private words so they knew I was ‘funning’ !!! I just cannot see the value of giving an incorrect picture of ‘who’ you are ! You suit some and not others ! Get to know the first and quietly walk away from the second . . .’tis a large world . . . have fun traversing it . . .

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    1. Indeed there is, but for some the line is blurred. Schools teach and preach conformity and then the distinction is lost. I wonder if reciprocal respect should be “taught” or at least promoted in schools, that means teachers respecting students to some degree too?

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    1. No tears here, M-R. I wondered where you were and whether you had moved again. Seriously though, I think it is good to be aware not to bend over backwards for others hoping for it to be reciprocated one day, wouldn’t you agree with that?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oeuf coarse ! It is definitely no my style. I s’pose I meant that the whole topic is fraught with traps for young players.
        I completely stuffed my online i.d., and it took ages for the techos at WordPress to sort it out. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I may have expressed this previously, but I can definitely identify with the “Psychology Today” assessment. It seems I spent my entire youth and a good part of my adulthood trying to please others. What a waste of time! I learned the hard way people don’t really respect someone if they try too hard to be nice to them. Most may grant that person a modicum of respect, but people will consider the individual as too weak and defenseless to be worthy of much attention. Ultimately, if you can’t help yourself, even the most devoted friends and loving family members will tire of you.

    I’ve tried not to be a burden to my loved ones, but I’ve realized in such places as the professional work environment, a conciliatory attitude won’t get one too far or garner much respect. Instead it could create a hostile environment, where that person is considered a mere part of the furniture – easily shoved around and replaced.

    In personal relationships, an overly conciliatory demeanor will subject one to the role of second-class; perhaps a toy; someone who will pick up after everyone else and take out the trash; someone who will always alter their own schedule to help others feel better.

    Regardless of the situation, we each have to realize we’re important and have something to give to this world. We may not necessarily lead, but we don’t always have to follow. Personally, I’ve found I prefer to chart my own path. I’ve let too many others do it for me, and it only lead me into loneliness and despair. Now I’m often alone, but I am my own person.

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    1. Well Alejandro, You are never alone with the WordPress community. And you are absolutely correct, each of us are important and generally have something to give to the world. Some of us spend our lives searching for that, others find it early in life. We are all different and react in different ways and that makes life interesting and at times difficult.

      I cannot imagine you being a burden with your loved one, particularly if you have been a people pleaser. On the contrary, the loved one may not have fully appreciated the value of your kindness. In the workplace, it can be dog eat dog and unless you have a great collaborative workplace, I think the boundaries are quite different to the boundaries in one’s personal life. It all depends on the atmosphere coming from the boss – the CEO may be interested in their worker’s welfare or they may be merely job-hopping with their career. It trickled down the layers and permeates work morale. The only way to manage a toxic workplace is to maintain dignity and respect. Respect for yourself by sticking to the boundaries and if you are respectful in your communication to others, no matter how poor their behaviour, it will show as a decent human being. If a people pleaser tries to stand up for himself without showing respect, or becoming emotional, they may be ignored or reprimanded. It is quite a tight rope to walk, but once the language of respect becomes a habit, I think it imparts strength which can translate to other life situations, like personal relationships. If another friend, lover, worker or boss becomes hostile, it defines them and not you!

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    1. Indeed it is when you are in the habit of saying yes! Small unimportant matters are the easiest to opt out of, Laurie. Language like, “I am going to have to pass on this one./ I can’t commit to that at the moment,” seems to work well in respecting yourself.
      “I can see you really need some help, so I will see if I can set aside a time tomorrow/next week/month to assist you.” If you keep it positive, I doubt the most sensible people would have an issue.
      You can even opt out of something that you have committed to. I think I was around 45 years old when I learnt how to do that. I used words like, “I am afraid I am going to have to reneg on doing xyz…..” You don’t always have to give a reason either.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, there’s a fine line between acts of kindness, and too many acts of kindness. And you are right Amanda, some people that become intense people pleasers do indeed have low self esteem. I’m sure we all know one or two of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi! I never thought I’d relate to a blog post so much. Such an interesting read. I kept nodding along as I read through it. I’m in my early 20s and I have this thirst to prove myself which may come off as me being a people pleaser. Thanks for this, I learned a lot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joe Lynn, Thanks for your welcome comment. I love that you are so open to learning about yourself and others. That open-mindedness and desire to learn will stand you in very good stead. In later life, you will be a very wise person.
      As for people pleaser, it is easy for other to interpret helpfulness. Inwardly they think that person may need validation. The key here is to maintain respect for yourself, and then that will come across as helpfulness and a kind nature, rather than someone vying for attention. All the best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your visit and comment, Veena. Yes, I think it is all very well and good to read articles but we often forget them as soon as we finish them. I think putting a small thought into action solidifies it in our mind? How do you action good ideas that you read, Veena?

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    1. Thank you, LaDonna. Changing ingrained behaviours and habits is really hard, so if we can find something small and achievable, we can chip away at the challenge a bit more easily. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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