The Pros and Cons of Being a People-Pleaser


I bet you’ve experienced this awkward moment when you are asked to do a favor, and you don’t want to. The strangest thing is that in nine times out of ten, you agree to help. After a moment, when all is said and done, you may ask yourself, ‘Why on earth have I agreed?’ But it’s too late to step back. I’d like to discuss how such situations can benefit you and why you should still set a limit for them.

Amenability Saves You Time and Nerves

My mother used to tell my sister and I that it’s easier for her to say us ‘yes’ than to explain why not. I wouldn’t say it worked well. But anyway, this approach saved her a lot of time and nerves. The same thing can work out at your job. In most cases, it’s much more productive to go along with some unpleasant ideas than to resist them. For example, you don’t like gossiping, but you have to tolerate it when your teammates discuss the personal life of some other colleague. You cannot confront everything you don’t like about your coworker’s habits. Otherwise, you’ll be impossible to communicate with.

By Saying ‘Yes’ You Integrate with Your Team

When you start a new job, it’s a good thing to demonstrate your readiness to help. It will bring you extra points since your manager will certainly appreciate your responsiveness. Besides, your colleagues will see you as a person who is ready to give them a hand when it’s needed. At the request of your colleagues, you can translate letters, install some software tools, take a night shift for your partner etc. This attitude lays the groundwork for trustful relationships with your coworkers. In other words, it will help you to become a part of the team.

You Shouldn’t Turn into the Stooge

stand up for your position

It’s good if you are a non confrontational person, but you won’t gain any respect by being the permanent yes man of the team. My favorite character, Atticus Finch, explaining to his children why he withstands the whole town, says, “Before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself.” You need to decide for yourself where the line is. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your colleagues when you feel they are about to cross that line. To be sure you understand what I’m talking about, reread To Kill a Mockingbird. It will remind you how to stand up for your position and why it’s important to do so.

Don’t Say ‘Yes’ Constantly

By doing so, you oblige yourself to do everything, but to do nothing properly.

 When some of your coworkers ask you for a minor favor, it doesn’t seem so critical. But after a couple of months of people-pleasing, the range of favors you are doing for your colleagues gets wider. Eventually, a vast amount of time you see yourself doing work for somebody else. This will be noticed by your supervisors, and it may not be a good thing. Long story short, you cannot cope with your tasks since you lose time helping others.

As you see, before preventing an image as ‘always-ready-to-help-everybody-for-free’, you should set a limit of your generosity. It is basically the only way to show people the value of your time and effort. It will convince them that they shouldn’t take your help for granted.

Our inclination to people-please has two basic forms:

  • we tend to agree with someone’s opinion even though we are not comfortable with it.
  • we’d rather waste time on helping others and spend a sleepless night doing our work afterward than simply say no.

In most of the cases, it seems reasonable and turns out to be an effective way to get along with the people around you. However, if you want to keep to the right track in life, you should mind the moment when you need to stop pleasing people and stand your ground. There is no other way to make your colleagues respect you and your opinion.

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