On a recent work-related trip, a co-worker regaled us with some of her favorite (mostly snarky) lines she likes to use to cut through the BS. One in particular that came to mind today was “Have you considered that the problem might be you?” I was thinking about that recently in terms of people pleasing behavior, and it occurred to me the flip side might be helpful for perennial nice guys and gals – i.e., “Have you considered that the problem might NOT be you?”
People pleasers often have a distorted view of how much their thoughts and actions matter to the people around them – and how much influence they have over others – and often don’t take into account that people they are dealing with might not be open to changing or even considering points of view that don’t align with their tightly held beliefs. They think that if they are just nice enough and patient enough and smart enough and eloquent enough that they can win others over (woo) to try or do something the nice guy or gal is advocating.
People pleasers are slow to consider, if at all, that the other person may never be willing to entertain their point of view, and will find at the end of it all that for all the effort, they have worn themselves down with little or no impact on the other person. It takes a long time for them to consider that the other person might actually have a problem blocking them from progress – a resistance no amount of niceness or logic or dutifulness will overcome.
So… the next time you find yourself repeating a behavior with someone and getting the same disappointing results, ask yourself – “Have I considered that the problem might NOT be me?”