You know, as a complete people-pleaser, I usually go through life being flexible, picking up on cues about what people want and expect, and do my best to make them accept me. It’s not always the best way to be: I can sometimes struggle with confronting someone who should be confronted, but usually being a people-pleaser works out: people generally like me, I’m a peacemaker and a socal equalizer, and I don’t have to stress about people disliking me.
Here’s the biggest problem with being a people-pleaser: the people-pleaser’s arch enemy. That’s right, it’s the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased. As you can imagine, the the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased really messes with the head of the people-pleaser. The people-pleaser derives a lot of social comfort from the fact that they can make everyone happy, but they come up against a wall with the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased. The people-pleaser tries again and again to get on the good side of the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased, only to find his attempts frustrated. The People-pleaser feels a great deal of stress over this, because much of the people-pleaser’s piece of mind is built on the idea that he can please everyone, and the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased blows this out of the water. The Person Who Can’t Be Pleased can be incredibly perfectionistic, utterly devoid of any sort of gratitude, or merely a grumpy human being, but after many failed attempts to get on their good side, the people-pleaser has to come to grips with the fact that the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased…can’t be pleased. Now this typically ends with the people-pleaser getting righteously indignant and (they think justifiably) hating the guts of the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased. The people-pleaser might then unleash his greatest weapon, the tool that he feels will create devastating, long-term mental pain to the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased: passive-agression. When the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased fails to notice the people-pleaser’s attempts to psychologically cripple him, the people-pleaser usually gives up and just quietly hates him, making his life miserable, and changing nothing.
This is what’s wrong with being a people-pleaser. If you are one, I feel your pain; if you haven’t run up against the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased yet, just wait, you will. If you don’t want to be angry and miserable whenever you’re with the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased, you’re going to have to grow as a person a little. You’re going to have to learn how to be ok with not pleasing everybody. I mean, think about it: it’s really an impossible task. If you try to make sure that everyone you interact with is totally happy at all times, you aren’t going to be much happier, only more tired. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t help and serve people as much as you can, just that placing your psychological health and happiness in their hands makes you very vulnerable. Work to make your foundation something that isn’t so changeable as human emotion, or the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased might just mess up your day. Or your life.
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Mild-Mannered People-pleaser, meet your arch-nemesis: the Person Who Can’t Be Pleased.