People pleasing and being overly accommodating is a severe type of self-defeating behavior. This one is not just limiting but it can absolutely cause you, your career, and the people around you harm.
On the surface, people pleasing and accommodating sound great and certainly some people could use some more of it in their lives. Maybe just a little accommodating or pleasing to others. And certainly, I don’t want any of you to become obstinate, objecting, difficult asses because of this. Quite the contrary, you want to be a good person, but not at the cost of your own needs and happiness. That’s what happens to people pleasers and the overly accommodating. They sacrifice their own needs, emotional health, and boundaries to make others happy and ignore their own happiness and well-being.
People pleasers struggle with any form of the word “no”. It just gets stuck in their throat even when they know the answer should be a hard “no”. They agree to just about anything reasonable and will offer help even when they do not have the capacity for any of it. They rarely turn down any request and many times this creates an undue burden on their time and capacity. They will work incredibly hard not to disappoint anyone to whom they have made a commitment to help. People pleasers often report feeling a sense of great burden to take care of the needs of everyone around them, work and at home.
Another sign of people pleasing includes an inability to disagree unless in extremely subtle ways and many times, not at all. People pleasers will acquiesce in conversations even about a subject they are passionate about just to not upset the other person. They can morph from liberal Democrat to conservative Republican based on who they are talking with and the subject at hand. In extreme cases, people pleasers and over-accommodating people take on the personality traits of those that they are around. The chameleon whoever they are around and validate everything that comes out of other people’s mouths, demonstrating an agreement and alignment with that person. In general, people pleasers and over-accommodators will be conflict adverse or conflict avoidant and they will struggle to ask about anything that resembles their own interest. A healthy working environment and a healthy home has conflict that is rooted in issues, managed without emotion, and dealt with in real time. Avoiding conflict does not resolve it but makes it worse later when it has no choice but to boil to the surface.
Avoiding any form of even the most benign conflict and being extremely uncomfortable or upset when someone is mad at you is also a signal that you are a people pleaser. The overly accommodating and people pleaser is very uncomfortable in these types of situations and will then bend their own needs and desires even further to restore peace.
One final symptom of people pleasing is overly validating and overly apologizing. People pleasers will often go out of their way to validate the thoughts, words, and feelings of others, including many times when this is not needed. They can even end up taking on the emotions and feelings of others as well. And equally often they will use leading apologies or apologize for their actions when none is needed. Consider this example:
Steve approaches his leader to talk about a manager opening in the department. Because he is a people pleaser and his boss is a busy woman, Steve starts by saying “Sandy, I’m sorry to bother you but I would like to talk about upcoming manager position”.
Or another example from a home setting:
Shannon has been avoiding talking about her needs with her husband for a long time but has finally worked up the courage to do so. She leads by saying “I’m sorry for bringing this up but…”. She later apologizes again for starting a small conflict.
It is painfully obvious that the key penalty for people pleasing, and overly accommodating behavior is a complete disregard for your own needs. Your needs are not just second, they are non-existent in most interactions because you choose to always put the needs of others first.
Now some of you are going to raise a hand and object that this Mother Teresa-esque type of selflessness is noble and should be encouraged and certainly not discouraged. The needs of others are extremely important and must not be ignored, but we cannot run ourselves dry of emotional and physical energy helping others and not paying attention to our own needs. There also comes a point that when we are not tending to our own needs, we will withdraw and shut down. Your needs are every bit as important as everyone else’s.
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – People Pleasing / Overly Accommodating
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overcoming Being Extra
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Being Extra
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Defeating Procrastination
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Procrastination
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Conquering Perfectionism
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Perfectionism
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overcoming Overthinking
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overthinking
- Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Frequency and Encouragement