Your People-Pleasing Habits May Be Problematic
People-pleasing isn’t always a bad thing and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person.
On the plus side, you just want others to be happy and comfortable. However, the negative side of people-pleasing could be a compromise of your values or opportunities to be taken advantage of.
Take a close look at a few of the telltale signs of overeager people-pleasing and how you can curb it:
You’ll do anything to keep the peace — even when it means sacrificing your own happiness or comfort. I’m not encouraging you to start conflict, but you have to muster the courage to stand up for yourself even if it means rocking the boat.
How to Fix It: Practice in low risk situations, such as choosing a restaurant for dinner. Perhaps you always agree with wherever the group wants to go, despite not even liking the restaurant. It sounds like a minor issue, but getting comfortable with speaking up in smaller situations will give you confidence when the stakes are higher.
Being a “yes man” is great until a certain point. When excessively saying “yes” to others’ requests starts interfering with your personal responsibilities, obligations, happiness or mood, it’s a problem. You may have even found yourself agreeing in the moment then faking an excuse to get out of it later on.
How to Fix It: Just say no! If that still feels too cold, offer a compromise. Perhaps you can’t cater the entirety of your Bible study group, so offer to bring just appetizers or snacks. Know your limit and only commit to what you’re comfortable with.
Unfortunately, “I’m sorry” has become a nearly empty phrase. Whether we bump into someone at the grocery store or forget a friend’s birthday, the go-to phrase is, “I’m sorry” — doesn’t that seem a little off? Apologizing too much can condition people to believe you are actually to blame.
How to Fix It: Try phrases such as, “Excuse me”; “Pardon me”; “My mistake”; “Whoops!”; “My apologies”. Different phrases will be appropriate for various situations; reserve “sorry” for occasions when you are truly sorry.
It’s not always appropriate to voice your disagreement; for example, with a client who has differing political views. Being overly agreeable just to be liked can oppose your values and put you in situations where you are not entirely comfortable.
How to Fix It: Instead of agreeing, sit politely and listen; steer the conversation to a topic of mutual agreement; share your opinion! You’re entitled to your own opinion, and there’s plenty of ways to express it in ways that are respectful.
The most important lesson for stopping people-pleasing behavior is to become comfortable with yourself.