9 Struggles Only People Pleasers Will Understand

Like forgetting the word 'no.'

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By Mary Patterson Broome

Some of us are a little too dedicated to the art of people pleasing. Whether it’s a constant need to be liked or a chronic fear of conflict in an effort to keep the peace, we sometimes go a little too far.

Here are nine situations all people pleasers can relate to...and how you can maybe avoid getting yourself into them as often.

1. Saying yes to things you don’t want to do
Most people pleasers end up over-committing, but whether it’s a girls’ trip to Vegas you know you can’t afford, a baby shower you’d rather not sit through, or an extra project you know you don’t have time to handle at work, try adopting "no" every now and again. You'll probably end up having to bail on at least one of the commitments anyway, so ultimately, you were defeated from the get-go.


2. Never just bluntly turning down a guy who keeps asking you out
He keeps pestering, you keep nicely saying you have plans or dance class or a children’s hospital to build. Just tell him you don’t like him that way, but you’re still very flattered! The flattery mention is the smart people-pleaser’s specialty. There are plenty of nice ways to say it — "it" being "no." 

3. Paying more than you owe when the bill comes
Group dinners can be hellish when it’s time to pay. You always end of shoveling over more than your share just to ease the tension of, “We still owe them $68.50.” But we’re sorry — if you had one beer and the guy next to you had six, you shouldn’t have to pay the same amount. Stand your ground, Madame Niceties and calmly remind them that you only had one beverage. The world will not stop turning if you keep what’s rightfully yours. Or just find some richer friends.


4. Always feeling the need to put your grocery cart back in the designated spot
Okay, come on, this one’s just common courtesy. If this makes you a people pleaser, then wave that flag proudly.

5. Talking to that annoying person on a plane
You want to sleep; they want to talk your damn ear off. You politely respond, then start to just nod when you’re exhausted from responding. Bottom line: You don’t owe them anything except courtesy around the armrest. Do not feel obligated to become plane BFFs with Debbie from Cincinnati.

6. Rushing to finish a transaction
This applies to when you’re making a transaction and the person behind you is stomping his or her foot, sighing heavily and champing at the bit to place their order. There's nothing wrong with taking the time to put the credit card, change or receipt in their designated place, then closing your wallet properly. Do not feel pressured to just shove it all in your purse haphazardly because this jackass behind you can’t wait an additional five seconds. And don’t even hesitate to ask for extra guacamole if you realized you forgot after you’ve already paid.

7. Being too agreeable
You say pizza’s fine when you really want sushi...or really anything but pizza. You agree to split dessert even though you’re trying to stay off sugar. He wants blue curtains, you’re gunning for grey ones...but give in because you don’t want to seem too needy. This could go on forever until you’re married to the wrong guy, living in a neighborhood you hate, and working a job completely unfit for you. Give yourself permission to start small by agreeing not to compromise on some things—it will be healthier for you in the long run. 


8. Not standing up for yourself
This can happen when you see you’re charged too much on your cell bill, but don’t feel you have the right to question Sprint. Or maybe you find some mysterious new fee tacked onto your latest dry-cleaning receipt. There's no shame in wanting answers on this stuff, so put that need to please aside and get to the bottom of it. Sadly, people will take advantage of the overly bend-over-backward type of kind.

9. Giving money to charity when you can’t afford it
That person with the clipboard on the sidewalk asks you if you care about saving the whales. When you say yes (because you’re not a monster), they ask you to give money to some nonprofit that keeps whale babies from dying off the coast of Costa Rica. Yes, of course you’d love to donate, but sometimes you just don’t have the funds. That doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer your time or contribute at some point in the future when your finances do allow for it. Say you aren’t able to help at this time, wish them luck, and be on your way. And P.S., some wealthy celebrity will probably save those whales anyway.