People Pleasers

This life. Who is it about? You or others? Throughout my life, I’ve always been a people pleaser. I’ll go wherever, do whatever (within reason) and sacrifice what I must, in order to please those around me.

Yesterday I was talking to a fellow people pleaser. She spoke of how her good intentions are always interpreted incorrectly. People see her good deeds as unthoughtful and rude. I could easily ask, “How can that be?” except for the fact that the same thing happens to me.

There have been times when I’ve tried to help others, and I’m accused of treating them as though they are incapable. Times where I’ve run out to get items for people to make them happy, and then accused for trying to sabotage their day. I could make a list a page long if I wanted to, but I’m short on time.

The woman I was talking to asked if that is why I’m such an introvert. I suppose it is. If a person frequently gets reprimanded when they’re being kind, then why even try? When around those people, it’s easier to just shut down.

What I’ve learned, is that it’s impossible to please others. We should always be kind and loving to others, but it’s not our job to please them.

Are you a people pleaser? If so, where is the line when it comes to pleasing others?

 

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33 Responses to People Pleasers

  1. Desiree G says:

    I am not a people pleaser … at all. I do have a son that is one, though. And I already see the negative effects it has on his self-esteem. But I also see the effects it has on the people around him — on how it makes others want to be better, do better. Because of his, I am able to help him draw lines, but I am hoping he won’t suffer too greatly as he learns where his own lines will be as he gets older. Great post. Thank you!

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    • mewhoami says:

      I think part of the reason that people do try so hard to please others is in part, due to their self esteem. Some are looking for acceptance through pleasing others. Like you said about your son, through all the good that can come of it, it can also have negative impacts.

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  2. Could the people pleasing drive stem from unconscious anxieties of not being liked or likeable? In this case, it’s conceivable that the anxiety is interfering with the accurate interpretation of emotional and situational cues from the other person.

    Just a thought for consideration. I’m no expert. Another thought is to ask if it is a Mars-Venus socialization difference.

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  3. socialbridge says:

    Interesting post! I’m not so sure that there is a divide between ‘people pleasers’ and ‘non-people pleasers.’ I think it’s a continuum and also that we are inclined to be ‘people pleasers’ for those we love, especially those who are dependent on us, like young children or frail parents. But, the notion of people-pleasing in general is something that’s a bit alien to me ~ maybe that’s saying something?

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    • mewhoami says:

      You’re right about that. We do sell out to please those we love and in general I see no harm in that. Love is am action and often times that includes people pleasing. As far as others go, I don’t think that it’s a bad thing that it’s alien to you. We can’t please the whole world.

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  4. I used to be a people pleaser and I drown in the sea of no gratitude! I stopped doing for myself and became angry because no one was worried about my needs. Then I realized it was my problem and not theirs and people could only take advantage if I let them. I’ve learned to please because I want to and to never expect anything in return. But I pick and choose who and when I please. I think I’ve found a healthy balance 😉

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    • mewhoami says:

      We certainly are the only ones who can allow people to take advantage of us. If we don’t want them to then we shouldn’t open that door in the first place. We have a choice. It’s great that you found a healthy balance. It’s important. I feel that in life, we should give without ever expecting anything in return. Giving should be from our heart.

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  5. I’m a people pleaser! And yes, frequently I’ve been misunderstood, but I don’t let it stop me. I want to help others find their happiness, but I make a point to try not to interfere with their journey. I have to be careful that I don’t step in to “fix” their issues! I draw the line when it becomes unhealthy for me. Pleasing others brings me joy, but when it doesn’t, then I know it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. 🙂

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    • mewhoami says:

      I really like how you worded this. Fixing other people’s problems is a job that we’re not fit to do. I learned long ago that we can’t fix people. They’ll change when/if they’re ready. “…Not what I’m supposed to be doing”…that’s definitely something to ponder.

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  6. LindaGHill says:

    I will go out of my way to help people who are in need, but I do think there’s a fine line there – and as you say, cross it and it only gets you into trouble. Been there myself and don’t want to go back. 😛 If I’m not sure, I ask, simply Can I help? Nothing specific. It usually works out better that way, in my experience. 🙂

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  7. I do think it is sad that kindness is offensive. And I think that says more about the person who is offended than the person extending an act/word of kindness. I don’t know if I would use the term “people pleaser” for myself. I’d have to give that more reflection. But I do believe in kindness and respect to others. And I believe that includes ‘action’. If I would offend someone when I was trying to be kind…..I think it would make me sad. But it wouldn’t stop me from wanting to be a kind person.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I agree. How can kindness be offensive to people? But, it is. As you said kindness and respect are important qualities to show others. They shouldn’t be thrown to the side and even when stepped on, we should continue to show those things to those around us.

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  8. idiotwriter says:

    Is there maybe a difference between doing for others what we think they will like and be happy we did for them? And doing things that people need us to do that will benefit them. They may not even like it.? Hmmm – you got me thinking about this 😉

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    • mewhoami says:

      I believe that there is a big difference. Too often people do to others what they think they’ll like without taking into account the person’s true wants and needs.It shouldn’t be about our opinion of their needs/wants. Our opinion could be wrong. It’s about them.

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  9. Glynis Jolly says:

    Although I like the feeling I get when I successfully please someone, I admit that I’m not really a people pleaser. I do what I want when I want and it, can often, coincide with what other want as well. Hubby visits his mom every Saturday. She’s getting on in years and she gets lonely. Sometimes I go with him. I enjoy her company and she’s a good cook. There are times when I don’t want to go and I don’t feel bad about it. I have things I want to get done and I prefer to get them done alone. Hubby visiting his mom is the perfect opportunity.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It does feel good to make others happy, but I like how you’ve also pointed out that it’s important to make ourselves happy as well. We can’t make anyone else happy, if we’re not happy.

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  10. Pingback: Pleasing vs Giving | Idiot Writing

  11. suzjones says:

    I will go out of my way to help others if I can however there are times that my wish to help has been taken advantage of – particularly in the work situation.

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  12. I am a chronic people pleaser, but I’m learning as I get older that it is truly impossible to please everyone. Sometimes there are those situations where doing what is right or what is best for the group (especially as a leader) will always lead to someone being unhappy. It’s hard to get out of the people-pleasing mindset, though! Great post!

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  14. Jenni says:

    I spent a great deal of my life pleasing others without realising I was doing it. My career, education everything was based around the expectations and needs of others and as such despite success it was not sustainable. I’ve also experienced the frustration of bending over backwards to accommodate others and I’ve learnt that in most cases it isn’t appreciated and if it is in fact noticed at all it is usually to be taken advantage of. So I learnt years ago to be kind and thoughtful does not require me to sacrifice what I want or need and that you compromise with those close to you who support you also but in the main unless asked I rarely step in at all anymore.

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    • mewhoami says:

      People certainly do take advantage of kindness. It’s a shame really. Like you, I’ve learned (or am learning) that we cannot always meet the expectations of others, and trying to do so is exhausting. As you said, we can be kind but that doesn’t mean that we should sacrifice ourselves for it. What’s funny about the examples I gave in this post, was that the things I did to please were the very things that were requested of me to do. Strange how that works. I rarely step into anything without being asked beforehand. I learned that lesson years ago from watching others do it and seeing the negative consequences that followed.

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  15. I gave up on being a people pleaser long ago, instead I try to be a good friend when needed.

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  16. There are certainly many reasons people are people pleasers; I used to be when I was younger because we were raised to please everyone in our family but then I learned to moderate it but I still enjoy pleasing some people. I do think self-esteem being on the low can impact on why some may want to please as well…finding “worth” of self only if they please another person….actually making that other worth rather than self worth. I have met many people who also question my kindness when they don’t know me at first…wondering if I have a hidden agenda. They are wise, I suppose I could have. Interesting post!!

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    • mewhoami says:

      You have an excellent point with the low self esteem being a culprit. I think that’s why many people are people pleasers. We’re not confident enough in ourselves and must ‘prove’ our worthiness through the eyes of others. It’s good that you have learned to moderate. It’s impossible to please everyone.

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