People-Pleasing: What’s So Wrong With It?

people-pleasingWhat’s so WRONG with people-pleasing?

While there’s nothing inherently wrong about wanting to please someone else–especially your spouse, your partner or someone really close to you….

There are quite a few things wrong with a pattern of being what is commonly called “people-pleasing.”

Let’s start from the top with a fundamental truth…

There’s no such thing as people-pleasing.

Whether the “pleaser” realizes it or not…

What they’re almost always doing is trying to “please” someone (in ways they THINK the other person wants) in exchange for something they want in return.

In other words, it’s really a back-handed way to get your needs met.

This could be love, attention, recognition, money, safety–anything.

The truth is that most people-pleasers (and we’ve been there) are almost never aware that they’re bending over backwards or going to extremes to try to make someone else happy–and the reasons they’re doing it.

It all starts with a simple thought.

A thought that sometimes happens so fast that often you aren’t even aware of it.

People-pleasers are:

  • It’s the woman or man who gives and gives and gives in a relationship without feeling like they get anything in return.
  • It’s the partner who says “whatever you want, dear” and doesn’t express an opinion, allowing resentment to build to a boiling point.
  • It’s the husband who buys his wife WAY too much jewelry thinking it will make her love him more or make up for all the time he spends away from home doing other things.
  • It’s the mother who smothers her daughter with unwanted advice in an unhealthy attempt to show love.
  • It’s the man or the woman at the office who wears himself or herself out working overtime because they’re short-staffed and want to look good in the eyes of his boss or co-workers.
  • It’s the wife or husband who “bites their tongue” and says nothing each time their partner tells them how to see the world (at least the world according to them).
  • It’s the neighbor who agrees to build a fence when he’s physically not well for his fellow neighbors in an unhealthy attempt to show everyone how great he is.
  • It’s the woman who racks up massive credit card debt to finance her desire to overwhelm everyone in her entire family with ALL the Christmas presents they could ever want (and more).

Unhealthy, painful and desperate to try to get something that in most cases, they aren’t even aware they’re trying to get…

Those “pleasers” very often anger, irritate and agitate the very people they’re trying to please with their over-the-top (usually unwanted) helpful or loving behavior.

And the problem really comes when the “pleaser” can’t take not getting what they want any longer because they have an unspoken agreement that the other person isn’t aware of and blows up!

So, again, the question has to be asked…

What’s so wrong with wanting to please someone else?

We say NOTHING is wrong with doing kind things to please other people as long as you’re conscious about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

In other words, if what you’re DOING is coming off as creepy, manipulative, overbearing or any other way that pushes someone else away or you think if you do this, you’ll get something in return…

Then it’s time for a “time-out” to examine your behavior for hidden agendas and unconscious attempts to get something from someone else.

What’s the magic key to stopping your people-pleasing behaviors?

It’s two things…

Consciousness and Curiosity.

It’s coming into a consciousness that you might be trying to play a little game of “I’ll give you this so I can get that…” without being aware of it.

And it’s having the awareness to ask the other people in your life whether they’d like what you’re considering giving to them or doing for them or not–instead of assuming they would.

It’s also about being honest about your desires and preferences and making loving requests.

People-pleasing doesn’t have to rule your life or your relationships.

You can still be kind and loving but to create healthier relationships, examine your motives and ask first!

If you have a question about how to get out of the people-pleasing hole, ask it here…

Scroll to Top