People-Pleasing

Conflict
Management Blog
by Cinnie Noble

Would you call yourself a people-pleaser? If so, how does this lead to conflict in your life? If you are not a people-pleaser but find you get irritated with people who are, what specifically triggers you that results in conflict? These are just a few questions to consider with respect to this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog, if you are interested in exploring the concept of people-pleasing.

So, what is people-pleasing all about? This is another query that comes up for reflective people who want to shift their tendency to be so, or to better understand those who seem to spend a lot of energy trying to placate others. The reasons why some people-please may be to avoid conflict, to gain favour (to be liked, respected, needed), to get something, to make up for wrongdoing, or due to guilt – to name a few possibilities.

Where does conflict arise when it comes to this character trait? For some, when provoked by people-pleasers, it’s because it is experienced as disingenuous and phony. Some attribute other things to people-pleasers, such as being insecure and needy and that they must be trying to prove something. Others see people-pleasers as manipulative. As a consequence of these and other reactions to people-pleasing, conflict can ensue. For instance, we don’t know or misinterpret the real reason and react accordingly – leading to conflict. For those who people-please, there might be a tendency to react to direct or indirect criticism and not understand how good intentions, insecurities, reasons, etc. get misread.

Please consider if this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog questions give you more to think about regarding people-pleasing:

  • If you are a people-pleaser, what do you think compels you to be so?
  • If there’s a possibility you fear something, what are you afraid of?
  • How does people-pleasing work for you? What doesn’t work for you about this trait?
  • In what ways has being a people-pleaser led to conflict in your life?
  • Considering one of these conflicts, what is the situation? What would you have preferred to say in that situation that you didn’t?
  • For what reasons didn’t you, in that case?
  • What were the consequences of not saying what you wanted to?
  • Now let’s look at questions if you dislike people-pleasers. If that’s the case, what is it specifically you dislike?
  • What has actually led to a conflict due to your perception and experience of the other person as a people-pleaser?
  • What reason(s) might the person trying to please give you that would have made you less reactive?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
                        author

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE >

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