Tuesday, March 21, 2023

I am a recovering people-pleaser

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Shreya Christinahttps://cafe-madrid.com
Shreya has been with cafe-madrid.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider cafe-madrid.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

This is a response to What It’s Like To Be The Girl Who Can’t Say No.

In high school, I was the definition of a people pleaser. I relied heavily on my friends and those around me to see what the cool things were to say, wear, and who to be with. My opinion was never really shared for fear that someone wouldn’t like me and I wanted so badly to be liked. It also caused me to be walked all over the place and seen as the girl who is too nice.

Fast forward seven years, I went to college and “found” myself. Found Meaning I learned what was important to me, what I liked based on my own opinion and found independence in myself that didn’t exist during most of my high school years. I had been through romantic and platonic relationships that served me and some didn’t. Some of those moments really changed my life and my way of thinking. But that was all part of my growth and most of all I was doing things for myself.

Now that I’m in my mid-20s, I find myself being that frightened 15-year-old trying to navigate high school just by trying to fit in. Instead, I’m trying to navigate adulthood. Between figuring out the corporate world in the middle of a pandemic and making new friends after graduation, the goal is to get by with as little to no stress as possible. Unfortunately, this has compromised my ability to speak my mind and my ability to say no.

My current job gives me many opportunities to try new things that I can’t say no to. And frankly, I don’t want to because I take every opportunity to try and learn something new. I say yes to any friend who is willing to hang out with me. Even if it means dropping everything I’m doing, or jeopardizing a night of self-care to see them. Because I’m afraid if I say no they won’t consider me hanging out anymore. Or my job doesn’t see me as a ‘team player’. My therapist recently broke the news to me: “Megan, you’re a people pleaser.”

I was disappointed. All that hard work I had done in college seemed like it paid off. The truth is, I don’t think my people-friendly behavior has ever gone away. I became a more authentic version of myself, but I was still concerned about what others would think if they saw that side. Now that I’m aware of it, I note when it happens (which is still a work in progress). When I slip up, I learn to give myself grace. While I know it’s hard for me to say no, I know it will get easier because I will listen to myself instead of others and what they may be thinking.

I believe there is such a thing as being too nice. I experienced it firsthand in high school and tried my best not to be such a people pleaser. Although I’m not perfect, I’ve worked on it a lot and I’m still working on it. Just because you may not be able to say no right now doesn’t mean you can’t assert yourself in other ways. Expressing your opinion and feelings is a way to be nice, but not to please people. It won’t happen overnight, but it will become easier to listen to you. To the person who can’t say no, know that you are not alone.

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