How I've Gotten Cured of My People-Pleasing Disease in Relationships
"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear."– Rosa Parks
I used to be an extreme people-pleaser. Maybe it's because a psychologist may tell me one day, "I didn’t feel like I was good enough growing up." Or it could be that I'm a Pisces, female or a mammal. Or that I'm a female mammal Pisces. Who knows what the studies may show? Coming to terms that it has always been an anxiety-filled thought to tell someone "no" in fear of hurting their feelings or that they would no longer like me was something I had to realize was a problem. I've learned to overcome it.
Saying yes to commit to something isn't a bad thing, as long as you want to do it.
Let's use "Jason" as the example of a needy guy that needs to be in a relationship-
Jason keeps asking you to be in a relationship with him. You've only known him for about a week (and in that week, you didn’t really know him, you just know what his Facebook allows you to know about him) and you've said yes. I'm not knocking people for getting into a relationship after a short amount of time of knowing someone. Sometimes it actually works out, marriage and all. But if your reason for saying yes was because Jason kept asking and you didn’t want to hurt his feelings- then that's people pleasing.
The solution to refrain from committing to something you don’t want to say yes to:
First, Jason needs to learn about your specific boundaries. Boundaries are not written in-stone rules, but they do help lay the ground work for things you are and aren’t comfortable with.
The other thing to note would be to always trust your intuition. Instead of immediately rushing to say yes, give answers that'll let him know you need some time to digest and internalize the question. "Let me think about it" is my favorite go-to response. Thinking about something that you're unsure about before immediately saying yes gives you a chance to have control over a situation and to weigh your options. Because at the end of the day, saying yes just to satisfy someone really doesn’t do you that much good. Saying yes to everything a guy has asked of you will not give him any incentive to work harder in the relationship. If you're not comfortable with saying yes, chances are you won't be that satisfied. Telling Jason that you need to think about it is a mature response.
Fearing what the person will do after I've said no
Some of the thoughts that may run through your mind when trying to find the courage to say no: Will Jason stop talking to me if I say I don’t want to be in a relationship? Will he stop letting me use his Netflix account for free if I say I'm not ready to be serious with him? Will he lose interest?
Jason says he understands that you're ready to be in a relationship and respects that. Although he is a little disappointed by your decision to not be in a relationship at the time, he doesn’t want to stop hanging out with you.
Solution to the fear of a reaction
You are not responsible for how someone feel, you are only responsible for your words. Saying no to something you aren’t ready for or don’t want to do lets others know that you have confidence and trust in yourself. It also lets others know that you saying no now versus later is making way for less drama and negative feelings later down the road.
If Jason (or any guy for the matter) would cut you off and immediately stop talking to you because you're not ready to be in a relationship that is NOT your fault. He's putting his selfish needs before you and is setting an early tone of how he would be if you two were in an exclusive relationship. Don’t ever do something out of fear of missing out on a perfect relationship. A guy who couldn’t stand to be friends with you after only knowing your name and that your favorite color is purple is doing you a favor by leaving. After all, he wasn’t even patient enough to find the in-depth fun facts about you, like you prefer lavender-colored sheets over violet. #MoveOn.org
You feel like you've made too many excuses for saying no
This is Jason's third time asking you to be his girlfriend and he's thinking you keep making excuses. He thinks you're prolonging to say yes, ignoring the possibility that you actually don’t want to be with him. Now you feel obligated to say yes because you've never said "no," but you've said "not right now."
Solution for putting something off:
You don’t owe Jason anything. At this point, you're still not ready to jump into something serious and that's OK. Being honest with yourself will make it easier to be honest with Jason.
It would be good to see if you can come to a common ground. Acknowledge that you understand what Jason wants from you, because Jason needs to know you've heard him the first three times. Then use this opportunity to explain what your needs are right now. Maybe you need to see if you can trust him a little more before you're ready. Or maybe you simply want to build a stronger connection. Whatever the reason, it is good enough. Stand by your reasons with conviction to let him know you are not a people-pleaser.
It doesn't do you any good to keep saying yes to everyone. Or finding yourself being depleted of resources to help you financially or emotionally.
If you have a hard time saying no, then practice saying no and feel how empowering it is. Saying no is not the worst that can happen, but saying yes to everything is not honoring your feelings – remember that!