Pleasing People, A Horrible Personality Trait

pleasing othersThis is a tough one for me to swallow, personally. But I absolutely must learn that I can’t please everybody all the time.

In fact, I probably can’t please even some of the people all of the time.

In one of my businesses, I routinely deal with hundreds of people on a daily basis.

This is all in the online world so we only have the benefit of the written word when communicating. That can easily be read in ways that the writer did not intend, especially on easily debatable topics. As a moderator of all of this, it can be difficult to keep my opinion out of the mix while imparting fair judgment on those who cross the line with insults and attacks.

Everyone is not always happy with the decisions that I make. It can bother me quite a bit and I admit that it is certainly a weakness of mine. Unfortunately, its a known weakness and an easy advantage point for those who know it.


Why do we have such a need to please people?

I suppose my own personal need goes back to my childhood with always wanting to please my parents. It bothered me greatly if my parents were upset with me or even if there was a possibility my parents would be upset with me in the future. This often led to me turning myself in whenever I broke a rule even if I had not been caught. The people pleasing has continued through my jobs and now into my own businesses.

People Pleasers and Managers Don’t Mix

In my last corporate job before starting my business, I was the director of several departments and had a few people who reported to me. I hated it with a passion. I despised having to manage other people and to reprimand them when they went against the guidelines of the company to learn more.

I wanted to be friends. I wanted them to like me. I wanted to please everyone, including them. What did this ultimately result in?

Me hating my job.

How Do You Change?

Those who are able to have a cavalier attitude about what others think about them will easily tell you to just ignore it or shrug it off. They make it sound so very easy. It is not easy for me though and requires a conscious effort on my part.

I have to remind myself that I cannot please everyone. I have to make the best decision that I can based on the information I have at the time. I think about my decisions and ask myself if I would be comfortable with it being on the front of a national newspaper? If the answer is yes, I proceed.

If not, then I rethink that decision. I look into the decision and ask am I uncomfortable because its not the right thing to do or because someone may be upset after I implement my decision? If it is that someone will be upset, will it be because I wronged them?

Obviously, I don’t go through all of these questions for every decision that I make. But I have found that dealing with these questions makes me more comfortable with making bigger decisions that will impact people other than just myself. So far, it has not led me astray.

How do you deal with your people pleasing tendencies?

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