When you are taught to treat your neighbor as yourself, or treat others as you would like to be treated… You may forget that it’s a two way street. Some people will take all that you have to give and then ask for more. These people are soul suckers, and us people pleasers tend to gravitate towards these types because like ying and yang, we give they get…
You must put a stop to this. If you don’t, you will suffer. You will be stressed and anxious and unhappy for no reason except that someone else’s issues or priorities have come before your own.
I have my own process of dealing with the people pleasing problem which has proven to be affective, and I hope this translates to others in the same scenario.
1. Be a no person.
This doesn’t mean say no for the sake of it, but be careful who you say yes to. If you have a history of accepting tasks at work because you don’t want to let your boss down, or you don’t want to get fired…. You need to stop. You won’t get fired for not going further than anyone else, you’ll just become a doormat.
As a woman, it’s hard to assert your authority or put your foot down because by nature we are caregivers. Not that all women have this trait but I think as a general rule we have an inbred ‘yes’ which we need to reassess. It’s not always going to get you ahead of the game or benefit your repertoire, it’s going to burn you out.
2. Stop! Think! (And) Don’t answer so quickly…
It’s ok to say “let me think about it”. In fact in this instant gratification world we live in, it’s better to stop and assess what the given task entails. Maybe you want to take it on, maybe you don’t, but you need to stop and think about the pros the cons and the reasons you have for doing whatever the task is.
Do yourself and your time a favor and think about what you want. Does this serve your general goals? Do you like to do this thing you are being asked to do? Are you doing it for you or someone else?
Just ask yourself why you should… And if the reason is because you want to or it will be good for learning or networking or something that ultimately is going to help you grow, do it…
If you can’t consider a good reason, save yourself some aggravation.
3. Voice your feelings, carefully.
Maybe someone asked you to bring something for a bake sale, and you hate baking, but you have a history of doing it anyway… Don’t do it again!
Don’t say “I really hate baking” or make a petty excuse… Just say no you won’t be participating this time.
Tact is so important in this PC world, and God forbid you offend someone over something that means so little… Just be mindful that while something might not mean anything to you, it may mean something to the person you are declining to.
If you don’t want to do it for don’t do it, but don’t hurt someone’s feelings over it.
4. Don’t say maybe…
Nothing says yes more than maybe.
If you can’t commit 100% don’t do it at all… The problem with saying maybe is that you open yourself up to a very gray area…
If you say maybe you will go to an event, that compromises the coordinators headcount.
If you say maybe you will do something after work, you are making someone else work harder and someone else work less.
Commitment is part of why people ask specific people to take on tasks. If you aren’t a commitment person, just say no. If you want to help that’s nice but don’t take on a role that requires more than just taking direction… You will stress yourself and anyone you are working with out!
5. If you don’t stand up for yourself no one else will.
You have to know your limits. Everyone has them. Some of us test them constantly.
Do yourself a favor and just say no. Resist the urge to continue speaking my after being asked. Just say no.
If no sounds too alarming for you, try this: “I am flattered that you thought of me for this, but I can’t commit to it, sorry.”
This tells your audience you respect them, you are still a point person but you aren’t the one for the job this time.
So…basically… say no and be strong and eat cake that we don’t make for someone else for once!
Your time, your energy and your priorities are important, don’t let someone else dictate them because you do have a choice.