Generally you will hear a lot of positive things about the people pleaser personality type.
That is, unless you are one - or happen to be in a relationship with one!
The very qualities that make the people pleaser so popular, can become detrimental in their closest relationships.
Meet Joe*. Ask anybody, and they will quickly tell you:
Joe is such a nice guy!
He’s the most helpful person you could ever meet.
Everybody likes Joe!
Joe? He’d give you the shirt off his back!
Joe suffers from the typical people pleaser personality type - and yes, people pleasers do suffer (but more on that shortly).
Joe wants to be liked. He wants to be helpful. He is the first to volunteer when something needs to be done. He doesn’t want to create a stir, nor does he want to hurt anybody’s feelings, so he will usually go the flow.
To the outside world, he seems amiable, agreeable and easy-going. To his partner and / or family? Not so much.
Problems for the People Pleaser Personality Type
You see, while the people pleaser like Joe aims to, well, please people, he often does so at his own expense (and that of his loved ones.). So he finds himself saying yes to things he actually doesn’t want to do, or doesn’t have the time for.
As a result, resentment begins building up within. Joe is frequently exhausted and irritable, and finds it difficult to get enough rest and relaxation. He is constantly stressed, and feels guilty if he thinks he is letting anybody down.
About the only people Joe actually can put his foot down with, and stop his people pleasing behaviour, is his partner and/or family. That’s because deep down Joe knows that his nearest and dearest love and value him regardless, so he is able to get away with not always being on his best behaviour.
The People Pleaser and Relationships
This never-ending quest to please others can make Joe’s loved ones feel that they are at the bottom of the totem pole. Joe madly flits from one place or project to the next, helping out every man and his dog … taking for granted the family waiting at home.
Obviously, this can have a negative impact on his relationships.
The people pleaser personality type is desperate to feel important and needed. Their lack of self worth, confidence and self-belief, makes it almost impossible for them to set and maintain healthy boundaries with others.
If people pleasing is taking a real toll on your life, it’s not as simple as deciding to quit cold turkey! As with kicking any habit, it is best accomplished by taking small steps over time - and support from a psychologist can make all the difference.
*not a real person