This may come as a surprise to the lot of you (sarcasm), but I am not and have never identified with being a people pleaser. It’s something I’ve never quite understood; a phenomenon that baffles me and usually makes me angry or annoyed. To feel an innate need to adhere to any and everyone you cross paths with in life sounds exhausting, ludicrous, and impossible. Not to mention stupid and dumb.
This isn’t to say I’m hard to get along with, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. It also by no means insinuates that I’m a bitch. Why does the opposite of a people pleaser have to be a raging, “don’t fuck with me” bitch? That’s almost as stupid as the idea of emotionally pleasing as many people as you can every day.
I’m just someone who doesn’t take shit and doesn’t feel the need to make every person in my life happy. Because, let’s face it — I’m only one person out of (hopefully) a handful of persons in their lives that influence their daily mood. Why should it all weigh so heavily on me? If it does, that’s on me – not them.
I also don’t do stuff I don’t want to do. There was a time I was semi-vulernable to peer pressure – most likely in my teens like everyone else. But even then, I had strict AF parents and pretty much spent my Friday and Saturday nights at the local picture house (movie theatre) with them. I tried a cigarette at age 16 while being more or less pinned up against a fence while my friends cheered me on, and I drank one beer and thought I was blacked out. But, in general, I didn’t drink and party and have sex until, like, last year (lololol JK). So perhaps because I made it through the worst, most influential stages of my life without getting beaten into an unidentifiable lump of peer pressure and people pleasing that’s why I came out the way I am now? Just speculating, but it makes sense, no?
I found this article online that gives the reader character traits of people pleasers to check themselves against and deduce whether or not they fit the mold. The bullet points were:
- I try to be who someone wants me to be.
- am afraid to rock the boat.
- It is hard for me to know what I want.
- I avoid speaking my mind.
- I find it easier to go along with what someone wants or with their opinion.
- I fantasize about a strong person taking over my life and making it work.
- It is hard for me to express my feelings when they are different from someone I’m close to.
- It is difficult for me to say No.
- I avoid getting angry.
- It is hard for me to take initiative.
- I try to be nice rather than expressing how I really feel.
- I want everyone to get along.
I mean this sounds MISERABLE. So, basically, you’re suffocating your true self on the daily just to avoid conflict and confrontation? Why are you so scared to be you and do what you want? And who says that speaking your mind or voicing something that is opposite of what someone just voiced means it’s automatically going to cause conflict? Unless you’re surrounding yourself with argumentative, know-it-all assholes, not every opinion or feeling you have should solicit a fight. Yes, if you’re avoiding speaking your mind openly about Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice or whether or not Obama rules or drools, fine. I get that. No one wants to mess with that stuff — not even me, and I love to chat and talk. But being that person who agrees to a Mexican dinner even though you hate Mexican food or being the friend who has to commute an hour to work and back every day, but offers to drive your other friends around on a Friday night is bullshit.
And, again, I’d just like to drive home the point that the opposite of a people pleaser isn’t an impossible-to-deal-with asshole or bitch. That’s extremely extreme. To me, the opposite of a people pleaser is someone who knows what they like, who they like, and how they like stuff and who doesn’t allow any of this to be shaken up unless for good reason. It’s someone who isn’t afraid to say what they’re thinking and speak up when it’s necessary and when they don’t like what they’re hearing.
In short, it’s someone with a backbone.
Personally, I feel life is much too short to go through it agreeing with everyone and calculating your actions and reactions to appeal to the masses. Life is too precious, too fast, and too personal to let those around you control it. And, look — I’m not saying don’t be nice and agreeable. That’s not what I’m saying at all. You should be nice and agreeable, but not if acting that way is you forsaking your true feelings or thoughts. For instance:
You shouldn’t be nice to a friend who has clearly wronged you but they’re a part of your bigger group of friends, so you feel the need to “play nice” and fake it whenever they’re around.
You shouldn’t agree to take your friend to the airport if it’s laughably out of your way, but they guilt trip you about it.
You shouldn’t be nice to a significant other who cheated on you or dumped you or treated you like shit just because you don’t like not liking people.
You shouldn’t agree to doing everything your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife wants to do just because you’re nervous to make him or her annoyed or you feel that it’s selfish and wrong not to want to partake in their interests. Compromise, people.
You shouldn’t be nice or do favors for people who would most very likely never return the gesture.
Surely you catch my drift by now? Being a pushover or a doormat or someone who is literally petrified to their core to ever upset anyone for any reason for fear of being hated or having to confront the issue is no way to live. You can have a heart and worry that your actions and words might hurt others’ feelings, of course. I mean, you’re a human after all. But if I’ve learned anything from writing and putting myself out there on social media for all the world to see if they want, it’s that you cannot and will never be able to please everyone. Ever. I could write a post about sunshine, butterflies, puppies, and how beautiful life is, and people will still hate me and what I stand for. And I’m totally cool with that, because this:
You may not agree with any of this, and if that’s the case, then GOOD! Because that means you aren’t a people pleaser or, if you thought you were one this entire time, perhaps… just perhaps… there’s an inkling of hope for you and your people pleasing ways.