And why that’s a problem
Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Someone that puts your needs above their own? They are always looking out for you, making sure you have everything you need. They don’t mind going to see the wrestling match with you because they know you love it. They don’t mind you watching cricket all weekend. They don’t mind that you only ever buy white bread because you like it.
Well, there are downsides too. Here is what you need to know.
First of all, you have to spot what they are doing. This should be easy enough:
They will help you with whatever is bothering you
They don’t have their own hobbies or never make time for them
You always choose where you eat out
They never say anything is wrong
They bend over backwards to accommodate everyone
Now let’s look at the problems that these seemingly innocent behaviours are bringing to you, even though you were blissfully unaware (until now).
1 They will help you with whatever is bothering you
If you have a strange spot, they will google it for you. If you need a new jumper, they will buy it for you. If you are pissed off with work, they will suggest ways to feel better about it.
But you might not want that kind of help. You are quite capable of doing things for yourself. Maybe you just want them to listen. Or let you get on with stuff yourself.
The trouble is, they want to fix everything and they feel responsible for everything. And they want you to be happy because if you feel bad, they are going to feel bad too.
2. They don’t have their own hobbies or never make time for them
They are quite happy that you enjoy going to the gym. They might even join you. But they don’t pursue their own hobbies because they don’t think about what they might like to do. Even if they did, they wouldn’t want to create unnecessary distance from you.
But this means that you never get alone time, or time to chill with your mates. Or, if you do, you feel that they resent you for it. You may even witness a tantrum.
3. You always choose where you eat out
They are happy if you are happy. They will follow your lead. Except that they do have preferences on what they like eating — they are just not thinking about what they want.
Presumably if you like this person you would actually like to know what they like and dislike! Also, to have a relationship, you need to be two separate people with separate identities. Otherwise you are a two-headed blob.
4. They never say anything is wrong
That doesn’t mean that everything is ok though. Don’t be fooled. And you can tell, right? You might ask them what’s up but they don’t tell you. And then one day out of the blue they explode.
People-pleasers are terrified of ‘rocking the boat’ in terms of their relationships, so will keep a lid on what they are feeling. They get out of touch with their own feelings and their own bodies. Ultimately, their relationship with themselves needs to improve so the rest of their relationships can too.
5. They bend over backwards to accommodate everyone
They are great at seeing different points of view and listening to them. They are often pretty adept at smoothing things over. So when your mother wants to dine out at the fancy restaurant for the next family get together and your partner’s father wants to eat out at Nandos, they will do their best to build bridges and make everyone happy.
But it isn’t their job to make other people happy. They are taking on a burden that isn’t theirs. And that will be causing them undue stress. See, they want to control what is happening so that everyone will be happy. But they can’t control what other people do and say. And if they don’t manage to find a solution that suits everyone, they will blame themselves and feel bad. You don’t want that.
The good news is that if you find your partner is a people-pleaser, you can support them in changing that. That’s another article I need to write.
But step 1 is Awareness. You have just got that sorted.
Thanks for reading. If you have any challenges with creating the life you love that you would like some support with, let’s have a chat about how I can help. I offer a free, no obligation, introductory session where you can experience my coaching firsthand.
Click here to get in touch.
I run a closed Facebook group for recovering people pleasers (women only).
I am running support groups in London and Surrey for women who want to live free of the tyranny of people pleasing. See https://www.meetup.com/London-Recovering-People-Pleasers-Meetup-women-only/ and https://www.meetup.com/Surrey-Recovering-People-Pleasers-Meetup-women-only/ for more details.