Stack of rocks with trust on top

People Pleasing Can Lead To Anxiety

A classic example of people pleasing is Julia Roberts in the Runaway Bride movie. She keeps changing her mind about how she likes her eggs depending on who she’s involved with at any given moment. She doesn’t seem to even know her own likes and dislikes and experiences anxiety as a result.

Another way of people pleasing can come in the form of asking someone what they want to do. Then they say “whatever you want” no matter how often you press them for an actual answer. The reason why this can feel like such an annoyance is that we all know deep down what we want.

Our bodies don’t lie. You tell someone you don’t care where you eat for dinner, but then you feel disappointment when they don’t choose the place you were craving. This is a clear sign that you’re aiming to please, rather than going inward to check in with yourself and see what you really want.

Having an opinion doesn’t mean you can’t compromise with someone.

It simply acknowledges that you have your own personal preferences. Taking responsibility for them is the healthiest choice you can make. Indecisiveness is not sexy in anyone, whether it’s a platonic or romantic relationship.

Trust Is Built Over Time

How do you ever really know what a people pleaser wants? If you ask someone to come to your party and they say yes, but then you found out they told friends they were dreading it and how much they didn’t want to go, would you even invite them next time? Would you trust their word on much of anything?

Brene Brown has used the example of trust being like a jar of marbles. Every time someone does something small to earn trust, they get another marble in the jar. The marbles slowly add up over time. It only takes one event, one lie, one situation for the entire jar of marbles to be spilled out.

Trust is extremely delicate. Do you really want to lose trust just to make a handful of people you don’t even care about happy? What about relationships that are particularly important to you. Trust them enough to show them the true version of you. There’s a good chance they might love that version of you even more than they already do.

You Can’t Control Someone Else’s Happiness

We have to quit making the assumption that we have the other person entirely figured out and give them the benefit of the doubt to make their own decision and let the chips fall. If it doesn’t work out the way you want, perhaps it will open the door to a bigger conversation and deepen the connection you have with the other person. Or, maybe it wasn’t the right relationship for you anyway, and you both likely would have been miserable and exhausted in the long run.

Sometime there are situations that are more delicate. For example, someone might ask an opinion about whether you like their new outfit, their hairstyle, or a similar topic that could easily hurt feelings depending on your response. My suggestion is to not be unkind, but don’t lie, either. Most people really do appreciate honest feelings, and if they don’t, then they didn’t actually want an honest answer to begin with, and maybe they aren’t the right kind of person to be in your life anyway. That’s something they may need to do inner work on for themselves to figure out why they’re seeking outside opinions.

Christian Counseling Can Help You Deal With The Anxiety Of People Pleasing

Soul health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated.  Our counselors are ordained Christian ministers and certified and licensed Christian counselors.  We are able to help you experience freedom from shameanxietydepression, or marriage issues with methods that are purely Christ-centered.  Please click on this link to learn much more about how our Christian counseling for anxiety in Louisville, Kentucky can help you become a more authentic follower of Christ, and help you find freedom from identity dependence.

Life Training offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, and online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime.  Our non-profit counseling practice has had an outstanding track record from over a decade helping men and women, individuals and couples who are ready to move beyond anxietydepression, and conflicts in marriage or other relationships find hope and healing in their lives.  Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at

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