Are you a people pleaser?

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

An article in Psychologies Magazine looked at how seeing things from your own perspective is not an act of disloyalty toward others. We may find over the festive season that we give in more readily to the demands of others on our time and energy.  People want to get together, or want to control events which we may not agree with or want to do.

In a quick quiz of rating a bunch of statements from 1 (that’s not me at all) to 10 (that’s so me) it aimed to identify if you were a people pleaser or someone who has assertiveness superpowers.   I played along.  My scores totalled 69, smack bang in the middle of the 50-75 range.  The results suggested that I should check in with myself “it’s wonderful to be nice, but you have needs too, so don’t end up being someone else’s doormat”.

The article suggested that if you are used to putting others’ needs ahead of your own you are likely to be hypervigilant to the needs of others and out of touch with your own.  It suggested the following that should be done regularly to help re-establish what matters to you and what you want:

  • Decide what you want for dinner, or what you would like to watch on tv, regardless of anyone else’s preferences
  • Read about items in the news and develop your own opinion or position on current affairs
  • Make a list of what matters to you and what is unacceptable to you in your relationships with others
  • Plan your perfect day, doing exactly what you want
  • Get through a day without saying “I don’t mind, it’s up to you”.

When you live with other people, some of these things are not always possible and compromises have to be made. 

I usually go through the recipe books and decide on what meals we’ll have for the week ahead and C decides what day we have which meal based on what else we’re doing.  We don’t often argue about the tv as neither of us is that bothered by it.  We tend to watch the same few channels most of the time and if either of us wants to watch anything specific we can do that, the other person tends to go do something else if they’re not interested. 

I do read, quite a lot in fact, and try to have my own opinion on things but when it comes to voicing it, I often get spoken over and either my opinion is not heard or invalidated by what the other person said.  I often start to say something, someone else talks over me and I give up.  Occasionally someone might ask what was I going to say, but by that time it’s irrelevant.

I know my own values when it comes to relationships, but again, living them is often a different story.  There are so many dynamics and complications around relationships.  I know what I’d like my relationships to be like, but making that happen takes both parties and when the other isn’t willing to participate I’m on a losing battle, and they’re not always relationships you can turn away from, or want to.

Planning your perfect day is very different from living it.  Again, so many complications around that.  What I might want to do doesn’t fit in with other diary commitments, or other peoples.  What I might like to do may have financial implications that can’t be justified.

Getting through a whole day without saying “I don’t mind” is really hard.  Sometimes I really don’t mind. It’s not about being indecisive or letting the other person take over, but I have no really vibe one way or the other, I’m happy either way, so if the other person has a preference, I’d be just as happy to go with it.

I’m not sure it’s as easy as this article makes it out to be.  There are too many variables, which we may take as heavily disguised excuses, but you have to take a whole lot of things into account and being a people pleaser or not requires compromise on both sides.


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