Confessions of a People Pleaser

Hello. My name is Rebekah. I am a recovering People Pleaser.

I feel like I should be further along in my journey. After all, I discovered my people pleasing tendencies over 20 years ago. I thought I had stopped being so concerned about what people thought waaaay back then.


But people pleasing is tricky. You can say you don’t care all the while, deep down, you care immensely. And here’s why it’s so tricky; If you generally get along with everyone in your life, you can easily say you don’t care what people think because they are thinking nice things! That’s like saying you don’t believe in dieting when you are naturally a size zero…it’s a pretty safe belief.


It’s when something happens in your life that opens you up for people to misjudge you, to think wrong things about you and you can’t do anything to change their misconceptions…THAT’S when you find out just how much you care about what other’s think. That’s a really scary place for a people pleaser.


But I can honestly say I’m thankful for those revelations, if not the pain that those times cause. Because I don’t want to be so concerned with being liked. I want to be true. I want to say and live what I believe because it’s right. I don’t want to be afraid to question status quo or dig deeper into scary issues because people might not like me.


The people in life that I find most refreshing are the ones who say what they think even if it’s not popular or traditional or even “Christian.” Jesus was one of those “counter cultural” say-what’s-true, not-what’s-popular kind of people. And since his is really the only opinion I should care deeply about, maybe I’m on the right track.


So for today, I invite you to make a small change with me that could have huge repercussions. Start filtering what you say and do thru this lens. “Am I saying/doing this because I want people to like me or am I telling the truth by being real?” It’s really a simple change but the difficulty comes in how many times a day we may have to ask ourselves that question. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting that when the cashier at the grocery store says, “How are you?” you should stop and tell her your life story. But if your best friend says the same thing, maybe try telling the truth. That’s a good place to start.




Photo credit: Simon Doggett (creative commons)

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  1. Hello, my name is Thera. I think we may have met at a People Pleasers Conference a while back. 🙂
    Here is what I have discovered since then:
    1. You are one of the most likable people I know! Being true to yourself and standing by your beliefs is what makes you a great writer and priceless friend.
    2. One of the best things we can do for each other is admit that sometimes we don’t have a stinkin’ clue how we should proceed in this big messy world. Better to admit it than act like you have it all together and expend all of your energy trying too hard to be liked!
    3. Being liked is all about being respected. “Some of the smartest people I have crossed paths with have known when to stop talking, ask questions, and listen.”
    Thanks for reminding us to ask questions of ourselves. Afterall, when we are our most genuine, we are more likely to let people in, and most likely to open doors….you might find someone just like you on the doorstep.

    • Excellent comment, my friend! I haven’t seen you since the last PPA (People Pleasers Anonymous) meeting! 😉 Thank you for your kind words and your insight. Number two is one of the points of this blog…to let people know that none of us have it all figured out. It’s okay to say you don’t know. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Wow – this is so true and it hits right at home with me! I too am a recovering people pleaser 🙂 There is no 12 step process for us – it usually is learned the hard way when God takes you completely out of your own control and no matter what you just can’t please someone. That is the moment when the Lord shows you it’s not the end of the world. Speak the truth in love – that is what matters. Don’t bridle your tongue when the Holy Spirit wants to use you. Let the Lord worry about their heart’s reaction. This is what I have to re-learn one day at a time 🙂 Thanks for sharing this great post!

    • Thanks Christy! Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of 12 step creed to follow? haha. But I agree, it’s good realizing it’s not the end of the world when you can’t please someone. And it’s probably more about them than it is us anyway, so why get so stressed? I hate learning this lesson. It’s so uncomfortable. But I hope to learn it really good this time so I don’t have to keep learning it! 😉

  3. I try to filter my words with this filter- Is what I am about to say true? uplifting? encouraging? edifying? Kind? For if it is not perhaps I should hold my tongue ,swallow the words and follow this scripture verse ” Be Still “( my translation) shut up Ken … and I also believe it is natural to “want people to like me ” so I make silly comments(sometimes un-timely or off color) It works alot but man on those “oops” times I wish it were possible to actually “put the toothpaste back in the tube”
    So what is my point- I like you Rebekah !! you are sweet,focused, giving and a great friend to a lot of people.

    • Well said, Ken. I try to make a habit of encouraging people whenever something positive comes to mind..even if they are strangers because I don’t think people say the good stuff often enough. We are more likely to complain when something goes wrong than we are to compliment when something goes well.
      And I’m glad you like me. But didn’t you read my post? I don’t care what you think of me. Haha. Kidding. Love you 😉

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