I was talking with a friend the other day and she was so frustrated she could barely speak for crying. I knew exactly what she was feeling and trying to process because it is also something I go through myself. It’s not something people talk about because it’s not considered polite or politically correct, but being able to put it into words is the first step to begin healing from the problem.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about the people in your life that you support on a consistent basis, and they never return the favor by supporting anything you do.
For instance, this blog. Yes, it’s a blog and blogs have a certain stigma attached to them, but not all blogs are alike. My blog happens to be original and I think it has some interesting twists and turns. It’s not the same stuff over and over again. You can find other topics on here besides advice.
It’s my blog and I’m proud of it, so I ask people to have a look on occasion. I see nothing wrong with that especially since I’m always being asked to look at their stuff. “Come see my band!” or “Look at this painting!” I totally get that! It’s their art, it’s their means of self expression and I do go and I do have a look. Sometimes I will return to look again and again. If there is anything of some value I can add to help promote them, I offer this too. Like writing about them…it’s rare that I get turned down when I offer, but I have been blown off before. I totally don’t get that 😦
I have even had bloggers ask me to check out their blogs, and I do that too. I have even subscribed to blogs that my friends are writing just so I can keep up with what they’re doing or thinking.
I have found that more often, than not, many folks that have asked me to check out their writing, never even bother to click on the link to my writing when I send it to them. It is rare, and I am NOT KIDDING! that someone will actually follow through and sometimes they are so incredibly great about it that they invite me to join them on writing expeditions (Nikki, I totally heart you).
Through the tears I probed her to get the unpolitical words to come out of her mouth, but she still danced around it and said the nice thing instead. I’m not that nice, so I said it for her.
“It sucks when you go out of your way to help people and to do things for people and they can’t be bothered to answer your fucking text message or offer to help you when you need it, without you having to ask them for help. And sometimes they don’t even say thank you. It sucks, doesn’t it? It sucks, right? Go ahead and say it. It’s just you and me now. No one else can hear you.”
With that she blew through a litany of angry epitaphs and then she laughed. It feels good to get it out of your head. It feels good to say it and it feels good to admit it.
Like me, she also feels guilty when someone asks her to do something and she doesn’t get it done. This is a kind of guilt that can be overwhelming, if you let it.
Both of these afflictions are suffered by people that like to please other people. Do you feel bad when you suspect someone might be unhappy with you? If you do, then you are a People Pleaser. There is nothing wrong with being a People Pleaser, but you have to be prepared for the build up of frustration, anger and blows to your self esteem that will happen to you over time.
I am still a People Pleaser, but I am now a reformed People Pleaser because I started learning how to say the word NO. It wasn’t that hard to learn how to say it to other people. It was nearly impossible to learn how to say it to myself though! Holy crap I am a demanding bitch!
“No, you will not keep calling that friend to make plans with you because they are always busy doing something else every single time you call them.”
These days people have busy lives, but when you have a friend that is always too busy to do anything with you, then you might want to rethink that friendship. People always make time for their friends eventually and someone that is always too busy when you want to do something, might not necessarily be your friend. Oh, they’re your friend when they need something from you though. You are always available to do something FOR THEM, right? See how that works? Does this sound like a real friend to you? But keeping myself from giving them another chance and then another chance and yet another chance, was a difficult thing for me to do. Do I call them anymore? No, I do not.
This is just one example of a plethora of reasons you need to learn how to rein yourself in and stop participating in the destructive behavior of a People Pleaser.
You would be surprised by the number of people in your life that think nothing is wrong with asking you repeatedly to help them do something, and then ignoring you when you ask for help. I am not telling you to never help someone or to never go out of your way on occasion to show someone that you love them. I am telling you that you need to learn how to tell the mooches in your life NO and really stick to that.
I am telling you that the way you feel, the frustration and the tears you shed, are all very real and what you feel IS NOT PETTY!! That’s the other thing. When you work up the courage to remind someone of how you have always been there for them, but when you need them, they blow you off, and they tell you that you are petty for harboring these thoughts…I just want to smack them in the mouth. Petty? Really?
Do not ever allow someone to discount your legitimacy.
I am here to validate you today. What you feel is a warning flag and the person that has brought this on is not someone you need to continue helping. Just cut it off and say NO. It will finally be something they take notice of because it will mean you have just cut off the gravy train. They do not deserve you. But more important is that you do not deserve to be treated this way. You deserve better and the best way to achieve this is by starting with yourself. Treat yourself better by learning how to say NO to them and to yourself.
People will still like you. The best part is the people that like you, even if you aren’t doing anything for them, are the best kinds of people. You don’t have to stop doing things for other people, but you do have to start being discriminating about who you do stuff for. Find a better reason for extending your grace. Do it because it makes you feel good and for no other reason. Do it with the expectation that you might not get a thank you from them because the person you need gratitude from the most, is YOU.
I asked my friend to perform an experiment by asking one or two of her friends that are constantly asking for her help, to help her do something she could not do by herself, like lifting something heavy to move it in her house. I told her to take baby steps and to reach out in good faith that her friends might surprise her by giving back the support she has always given them. If they don’t, then she knew that the next step would be to reevaluate her friendship and to start saying NO to herself and to them in the future.
Until next time, being a People Pleaser can be a good thing as long as the person you please most, is yourself. Love to you all out there and I send that without any expectation of a return, though I am already certain there are a few of you that love me too.
- To my fellow People Pleasers: (rconoley.wordpress.com)
- All you need is love? (theelementinc.wordpress.com)
- Emotional Boundries (kkbutterflyjourney.wordpress.com)
- He was a people pleaser (bibleaid.wordpress.com)
- Mon Ami…or My Enemy (soulmovingsoliloquy.wordpress.com)
- When Friends Aren’t Friends (directsalesdrama.wordpress.com)
- Blogs I read and why I like them (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Be My Guest: Rarasaur (ardenrr.wordpress.com)
- How To Force Yourself To Start Blogging (mukeshbalani.wordpress.com)