People Pleasing

On Wednesday, I shared a little insight about what I'm learning through this whole wedding-planning process. Another one has since occurred to me.

So here is wedding-planning lesson number two: Things that you generally get upset about will also make you upset during the planning process – but on a much more magnified scale. If you're a people-pleaser like me, planning a wedding and sorting out the guest list is a veritable mine field. You can't make everyone happy and I've had a few sleepless nights trying to figure out if maybe this concept is actually wrong – that maybe I can make everyone happy! (My brain is like a big blackboard with equations scribbled over it as I try to prove the theorem: me + trying really hard = happiness for all creatures, big and small).

Being a people pleaser is not a great thing generally and it's something I really struggle with. I did some sessions with my friend while she was training to become a life coach and one of the exercises she gave me to do was to say 'no' to at least one thing everyday, no matter how small the request was.

Cue terrifying music. In fact, I'm not sure I even did the task I found it so daunting. This is not like me, as I'm such a goody two shoes that now I'm worried she is reading this and is upset with me for not doing it.

I'll give you another example of my general people-pleasing tendencies. My friend was buying a cookie at the coffee bar the other day and this is my recollection of our conversation:

Me: I have one of those cookies in my desk drawer. I wish I had known you were going to buy one, I would have given it to you. I don't even like them.

Her: Then why do you have one in your desk drawer?

Me: Well, someone gave it to me and I didn't want to offend them by not taking it.

Look, I know this sort of behavior isn't normal. But I'm working on it! Throwing a colossal party into the mix with a guest list of people from a few different continents is certainly giving me a lot of practice.

For one thing, I have seriously scaled down my social life to give me time to do all the wedding-y stuff. How else will I have time to trawl through photographers' websites and decide what color my shoes will be? This means saying no to friends, which I'm not great at (because I genuinely do love seeing them). But I've done it.

The problem with being a people pleaser is the only person who ends up miserable is you. I am trying to put myself first these days more and more. It sounds selfish, but it's not, because when I'm tired, cranky and overwhelmed from taking on too much, the people who suffer most are me and those people closest to me – the ones who have to see me day in and day out (like Future Hub). When I say 'yes' to everyone I become a much less loving and caring person.

So I'm working on it – and as I just stated, this wedding is good practice. Maybe I should try my friend's coaching exercise again. If you hear me say 'no' to you, please understand – maybe even pat me on the back?

(Incidentally, my friend's coaching business has now taken off. She specializes in career fulfillment and career transition. Jung is based in California, but does a lot of work over the phone. If you're interested, check out her website.)


  1. I feel you on being a people pleaser. That's one of my weak spots too. I really try to remember that caring for myself helps me be better to others. Wedding planning can bring out so many lessons, huh?

    Tina (

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I am glad you say that on the people pleasing -- I'm glad I'm not the only one :) It is SO easy to get stuck in that trap because it is nice when you can help others or make others feel good, but at the end of the day if you're the one running around making yourself worn out, or worse, ill, then it's definitely not a good thing. I do find it hard to remember though.


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