Do you put everyone before yourself? Is saying yes a habit, more than a true intention? If more people helped others, the world would be a better place. However, psychologist Susan Newman says it can be dangerous to be a constant people-pleaser.
This behavior can lead to you not taking care of your personal obligations, developing resentment for those around you, and eventually feeling under-appreciated and taken advantage of. Newman is the author of The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say and Mean It, and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. She points to the following reasons why you should not let helping others get out of hand.
Your Relationships Can Suffer
You probably have a desire to help everyone, and make everyone happy, if you can’t say no. Sometimes though, trying to please everyone means leaving some people out. You have already agreed to so many obligations there is not enough time left on your schedule. Also, when you take on too many commitments, the quality of your efforts can suffer. This means your personal and business relationships can be damaged as a result.
You Begin to Resent Yourself
A lot of “yes men” and women do not like that part of their personality. They realize that they are stress-filled because they are constantly trying to keep everyone around them happy. They see their own obligations taking a backseat, while the people they do favors for advance in business and in their personal lives. This can cause you to resent yourself, as you recognize your people-pleasing personality is pleasing everyone but you.
You Are Hurting Those You Care About
If you do everything for your friends, family members and coworkers, they never experience growth. You limit their ability to take on new tasks successfully when you can’t help them, because they may not know what to do on their own. Even if you see someone you care about struggling in a particular endeavor, sometimes it’s best to let them learn the process themselves, as this develops a new skill and an improved sense of self-esteem.
You Might Be Wrong
Is your every behavior dictated on what you think will please someone else? This is the case with a lot of people-pleasers. They try to perceive what will make others happy, and then act accordingly, even if it is detrimental to their own situation. Remember, you are not a mind reader. Trying to assume what will keep everyone happy could lead to the opposite result.