A Remedy for “The Pleasing Disease”

Many women are in the business of pleasing others. Sometimes this is a wonderful thing.  Other times, our “pleasing disease” is the reason we get ourselves into trouble.

For example, have you ever mistakenly told two or more people you could meet with them on the same day knowing it was going to be a tight squeeze?  How did it turn out?  Have you ever had a gut feeling that you should say no to taking on another freelance client, but said yes because you liked the person so much? 

A few years ago I had 3 weddings in one weekend and RSVP’d yes to all of them.  None of the weddings were in the same city.  I ended up missing one of the weddings which was a much worse result than just RSVPing with a “no” in the first place.

The “pleasing disease” spreads into all of the important areas of women’s lives.  Ever wonder how those women who “do it all” seem to get it done?  Busy women like these know that if they want to grow and get it all done, they’ll need to learn to stop trying to please everyone.  As the Economic 101 gods would say, “we are only given a limited amount of time and resources”; saying yes to everything is not a way to conserve it!

The “pleasing disease” only leads to resentment which, in my opinion, is the beginning of almost all interpersonal disasters. 

I thought long and hard about this bad habit in my own life and realized that if I had only set clear boundaries and  “pressed pause,” I could’ve shifted away from over-committal or doing things I didn’t truly want to do.  It’s so easy to get sucked in to the excitement of the moment or the positive energy of the person in front of you.  In the end, if you are only committing in order to “please” you aren’t doing anyone any good.

This week’s challenge…

Practice saying “let me get back to you” over the next week before committing, making plans or attempting to please someone else.  Let there be “white space,” an awkward pause or whatever it takes to make sure you’re really committing to a decision that is right for you and for the other party.

  • How has over committing affected your friendships, relationships and work life?
  • Is pleasing others a natural tendency of yours?  How do you work at overcoming it? 
  • Have you ever been in a situation where your good intentions of pleasing someone actually turned out to be bad?

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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