Our friends, Steve and Jayne, were over last night for an impromptu visit when the subject of dinner came up. We decided to go to a restaurant. However, we don’t have much choice in our small town; I know that Jayne has some challenging food sensitivities, and I wasn’t sure what she could and couldn’t have in restaurants.
The conversation instantly became about what Jayne could eat and not about where the rest of us wanted to go. For me, that seems completely natural, no one minded, and yet others would consider that people-pleaser behavior.
I am kind, thoughtful, and nice. It never occurred to me to overrule Jayne and tell her that she needed to adjust her diet to our desires. That is not who I am at all.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”ePey7″ via=”no” ] A people-pleaser is very concerned with disappointing people. Read here to find out solutions to stop being a people-pleaser.[/ctt]
A people-pleaser is very concerned with disappointing people or putting pressure on themselves to live up to an ideal image they have of themselves. People-pleasing goes beyond kindness and instead causes people to change what they say or do for the sake of another person’s feelings or reactions.
Let’s assume you work with Beth, who has a short temper and fuse and tends to react verbally in an aggressive manner. If you were a people-pleaser, you would walk on eggshells and likely apologize when she yells, even if you weren’t the cause for her yelling. You might feel that you were the one to set her off with something you said or did. You don’t want to upset her and feel bad when she does get upset, thinking that perhaps you could have done something to avoid the blow-up. And when she does fly off the handle, it upsets you that she yells at you, but you never say anything about it.
If you realize that there are times you are a people-pleaser, here are a few things you can do the next time you catch yourself bending your will to others:
– Pay attention to when it is happening. Start writing a list of when you feel you have been taking advantage of. Perhaps a co-worker always asks you to get them a coffee from the coffee shop, yet never offers to get you one. Maybe a supervisor sends texts after hours asking you questions about work issues. Or a family member assumes that you are always hosting family dinners and never offers.
– Ask yourself what you’d like the situation to look like. Would you like to say no? Do you want to stop apologizing for things you had no part in? Do you feel that the other person treats you with disrespect? How would you like the situation to feel for you? Listen to your inner assertive voice when it tells you what should be happening instead.
– Set boundaries and rules to follow. It is fine to be nice and kind. However, you know when your people-pleasing behaviors are taking over when you have boundaries.
For instance, when Beth blows up and starts yelling at you, you may set a boundary that says, “If Beth tells me it is my fault, I will not apologize immediately, and I will ask her how or why it is my fault instead of assuming that it is my fault.”
– Stop making excuses. People-pleasers justify the situation, even if they don’t blame themselves. These excuses allow the behavior to continue, making them feel as if someone has taken advantage of their pleasant disposition.
When you hear the excuses jump into your conscious thought, revert to the boundaries and rules you’ve created for yourself to ensure you are protecting your rights as well.
Just because you are a people-pleaser doesn’t mean that people treat you with disrespect or take advantage of you consciously. It may not be aggressive behavior on their part, but your passive behavior allows the situation to take advantage of you.
When we chose a restaurant last night, my goal was to spend time with my friends, and I had no preference to where we spent time together. Because I am aware that eating out for Jayne isn’t always easy, I wanted to make it easier for her to choose what worked for her restrictions. If I had been all set on going to a specific restaurant for a reason that mattered to me, I would have shared those reasons. We could have then negotiated or talked it out and decided what worked for us all.
That’s not a people-pleaser. That’s kind.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”9M0U4″ via=”yes” ]Be kind, but don’t be taken advantage of by people-pleaser behaviors.[/ctt]
Be kind, but don’t be taken advantage of by people-pleaser behaviors.