People Pleasing  

rm_lifesriver 65M
9 posts
7/17/2006 9:00 pm
People Pleasing

God I hate the term “people pleaser”.

I was at a civic/social function this evening and was subjected the to the overly self-analytical whining of a fairly attractive woman. Throughout the conversation she continued to describe herself as a “people pleaser” over and over. It seemed to offer her an excuse to have unsatisfactory relationships with her parents, children, ex-husband and most likely the family dog and cat. Seemingly, she blames her desire to “please” people on her willingness to engage in behavior that is not in her best interest.

Had it not been for a pretty nifty little sundress that I thought for a moment I might get to explore; I am sure that I would not have listened as long as I did. (I am a big fan of little sundresses…or at least a fan of what one may discover that they cover.) As the conversation wore on, even the prospect of hiking a little skirt over tan thighs was not enough to keep me from saying what was on my mind.

“I know just what you mean,” I said, “But when I act like that, it has NOTHING to do with pleasing people. It is all about pleasing me.” I continued “ If I am willing to exchange my behavior for your approval or to make you like me better, then that is about me, not about you. When I sell you my behavior in an exchange like that, it’s not being a “people pleaser”; it’s being an emotional whore.”

“Maybe you are different from me”, I added, “Perhaps you really just do it because you have some kind of Mother Teresa ability to help people…but I’d be willing to bet that if that was the case, you would not have been standing here for a half hour complaining about how they don’t appreciate all your hard work and how much you could help if they would only listen.” With a really genuine smile I lowered my voice down into my best Barry White register and suggested, “If I am wrong, and you really do get off solely on pleasing others, I have a number of suggestions about how we could spend the rest of the evening.”

I was not overly surprised when she declined to incline.

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