People are always going to have expectations for you. If you struggle with the need to please people, it can be very hard to say no.
We think that by fulfilling people’s requests of us we will make them happy and then they will think well of us. We don’t want to be considered selfish, rude, or uncaring. The problem is, everyone will want something from you and you can’t please everyone.
There is not enough time in the day to do all the things other people would love for you to do. You will inevitably let someone down or feel like you failed because you were not able to do all that you wanted to or committed yourself to. Rather than tying yourself up in knots and worrying over everyone else’s happiness, try to remember what brings you joy and follow that. Here are ten FUN ways to cure yourself of the need to please others.
1. Adopt a toddler like attitude where no becomes your favorite word. Respond to every question with a quick, short, “No!” Say it aloud to yourself over and over, “No. No. No. No. No. No.” Try it, its fun.
2. Walk around with iPod earphones in your ears at all times. When someone calls out to you or tries to get your attention, blissfully walk by as if you couldn’t hear them.
3. Say yes and then ask for a huge commitment from them in return. For example, “sure, I’d love to man the concession stand at the soccer games. We are starting a fund raiser for my daughter’s band. Could you bake me five dozen gourmet cookies for that? I’ll need them in two days.”
4. Imagine a clear, indestructible force field surrounding you. When someone asks something of you their voice hits this force field and bounces back. You hear their voice as if it is coming from underwater. Respond all wrong, “Why thank you! I love the color of my shirt too.”
5. Put your fingers in your ears and sing, “I can’t hear you! Tra la la la.”
6. Retreat to a hammock, your bath tub, the woods, a private beach and stay away from all people.
7. Adopt a really scary looking dog, bring him with you everywhere.
8. Memorize a really bland response and repeat it like a robot, “I’d love to help but I already have a prior commitment.”
9. If someone is upset with you imagine they are your sibling and go on the typical sibling offensive, “you think you’re mad. I’m madder at you than you are at me.”
When you are a people pleaser you will most likely always struggle with saying no and standing up for yourself. These tactics may not always work for you but it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve to feel better about saying no. Sometimes you will have to say yes and you don’t want to be completely shut off to people. You can get much joy out of helping others but only if it comes from a place of desire. If you truly want to help, you will feel great. If you say yes out of a sense of obligation or not wanting to upset someone you will feel resentful. So be bold, be brave and just say, “No!”