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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Please Don't Be a Pleaser: Diplomat, feeling uncertain or needing validation.


Recently I wrote a blog post called: Please Don't Be a Pleaser.  The upshot of it was that there are point(s) in your life which you realize you can't please everyone.   More specifically it went into the types of circumstances in which you can't please people and how to deal in those circumstances.  While I think this is a constructive angle to look at in the study of "people pleasing", essentially it is a sort of "I'm here" vs. a "How did I get here" perspective.  So, I will focus today's post on what's behind the tendency to people pleasing, that is to say what drives them.  As the title indicates, I believe there are (at least) three drivers for people pleasing.   They are in no particular order: the need for being a diplomat, feeling uncertain about self and needing validation.  People pleasers can have one or more of these personality types.

THE DIPLOMAT
  • This person values peace and strive to find common ground.
    • It maybe that they feel they are just good at making others feel good or bring peace.
    • It may be that they have had to deal with dysfunction and fighting at some point in their life.  This drives them to defuse confrontation wherever they see it.
    • This person can serve as a go-between multiple two parties.  They work to positively massage the egos of each of multiple warring parties, all while softening the hard edge between what each party wants to communicate with each other.  They serve as the "happy face" for each side.
  • This person may get some sort of sense of value from being a 'peacemaker'. 
    • If he or she can bring different factions to a peaceful outcome, they have saved everyone from the destructive effects of conflict.
    • If he or she can bring different factions to a just (or 'everyone wins') outcome, they have advanced progress for everyone.
  • This person is probably considered having the most "noble" reason for being a pleaser. 
    • As long as he or she is considered fair and just, who doesn't appreciate the peacemaker?
    • While this type of pleaser likes to consider themselves fair and impartial, they may be more political than advertised.
    • Provided this person doesn't just another run all over him or her, some degree of wanting to be the diplomat or to help bring happiness to another isn't a bad thing in relationships.

UNCERTAIN YOU
  • This person may not have a well-developed sense of self. 
    • If you don't know who you are, it is hard to be centered.
    • The cliche 'if you don't stand for anything, you'll fall for everything' is appropriate here.
  • This person's sense of self may be reasonably developed, but they may fall into the trap of second guessing.
    • This can be a result of being stuck in a pit of shame, especially if they've had significant prior failures.
    • They may allow their better judgement to be overrode by the seeming certainty of others.  Someone with strong and unflinching 'certainty' can be intimidating to others who don't have such certainty and may cause one to second guess. 
    • Certainty, even if misguided, projected by another can be intoxicating, especially if all you have to do is just "buy into the program".  There can be some attractiveness of trying to go along with or please the alpha.
  • This person would probably be considered the "weakest" type of person/pleaser.

VALIDATION VALUER
  • This person may be struggling with their sense of self and instead of looking within for approval may seek to be seek to be agreeable with others in an attempt to quench the hole in their soul that looks like it is the shape of approval.
  • This person may have a reasonably well-developed sense of self, but is still seeking approval for their own reasons.
    • They seek approval as a means to power.  By seeking the popular position or consensus they are looking to have the largest group of people support them.  In short, they find people that need to 'be heard' and agreed with and seek to 'please them' to gain their support.
    • They may be narcissists by nature, thinking highly of themselves for "understanding" the needs of others.  In other words, self-validation.  Hearing and 'schmoozing' (aka pleasing) others is really just means to an end.  That is to say they 'know' what is best for others and have at least pretend to listen. 
  • This person in some circumstances this person may be considered the most "cynical" type of pleaser. 
    • This type of pleaser may get into politics.  What better way to validate yourself than to convince others into selecting you.
    • This type of pleaser may get into other types of stages.
      • By choosing the theater in any form--movie, TV, Broadway, ect--they can validate themselves by capturing the minds, heart and the $$ of others, by playing a 'role' and bring happiness to their 'fans'.
      • By choosing other types of entertainment--such as sports and music--they also can validate themselves by capturing the minds, heart and the $$ of others, by bring happiness to their 'fans'.

I guess my takeaway on this post is this: If you are a people pleaser, what drives you?  Secondly, understanding what drives people to try to 'please' others may help you relate to them better.   Whatever drives us to please others, we won't truly be healthy emotionally and spiritually until we find a healthy way to 'please' ourselves.  That doesn't mean be selfish, but does mean to be at peace with ourselves and to peace with our Higher Power (God).