Pleasing

I have a confession. When I was in high school and college I didn’t really care about people not liking me. I cared if people were mean to me, but if someone didn’t like me I figured I wouldn’t like them much either so nothing was lost there. I’ve been called blunt, or told I say things out loud that the rest of people just think and never say. This can be seen as awesome or incredibly obnoxious. The thing is, I don’t always notice when I do it. My filter isn’t as thick as other peoples. Sometimes I just blurt something out and then everyone laughs and I wonder why.

But in recent years, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut (this has happened slowly and I’m sure not everyone has noticed), maybe not completely, but let’s just say it’s an improvement. I’m doing my best to play a grownup and to be seen as kind and gracious instead of troublesome. But now I’ve found myself a little choked by fear. I don’t want to upset anyone ever. I’m terrified of being seen as the friend who causes all of the drama, or the one who gets the most silent eye rolls. If you upset me? I don’t want to share it. If I don’t agree? I think I’ll just keep that to myself and scream into my pillow. I want to please others more than myself and I really, really care what people think of me. Having a blog is a special kind of exercise in keeping my sanity when it comes to this – lemme tell ya.

I angst over the decisions I make with wedding planning, with who I invite where, with making sure to keep everyone included so no one has hurt feelings and no one is left out. Everyone must remember everyone else’s birthday, I want to make sure my best friends don’t hurt each others feelings so that no one is upset. My main goal has become keeping the peace. I must remember to be thoughtful and go above and beyond for my friends spread out across the country. And this? This has sent me into total paralysis. The book I was supposed to send you? Is still on my counter. The beer gift basket I wanted to ship you for Christmas and didn’t have enough money to? Still weighing on my mind. Emails go unwritten because I am too overwhelmed with all of the other details of my life.

How did this become such a thing? I have guilt over things I’m sure no one even notices! But I do. I care, and I don’t know how to NOT care. And this is my confession. I don’t want people not to like me, and even though I KNOW that not being the best person in the world will not make people dislike me, and even if they do who gives a shit? I can’t help but feel worried and pressured. And I’m not sure how this became me and how to quit it, cuz it sucks.

6 thoughts on “Pleasing”

  1. I still have a lot of what I like to term, frontal lobe dysfunction… And people sometimes don’t like it, and sometimes I care, but most of the time I do not.

    My in-laws (the entire family) do not get me. And I am trying to accept that. I have tried to keep things under wraps as far as the mouthiness goes a bit when we are with them, but then they stayed at our house for 10 entire days and I simply couldn’t handle it anymore and the real self came out and I felt, well, much better.

  2. I have a side to my personality that my friends affectionately call “Bitchel” (Rachel + Bitch, if that wasn’t obvious). It’s just me being brutally honest, when I’m too tired to hold up the I’m-nice facade. Not that my nice side is a facade really, I think I’m Usually genuinely nice, but certain people have a tendency to bring out the bitchel in me faster than others. All this to say, I feel you on the struggle to balance it all so you’re not constantly feeling stifled, but you’re also not alienating people around you.

    Wedding planning on top of everything just amplifies this struggle. I can’t tell you how to quit feeling angsty over it, but I think maybe giving up some of the self-censorship might make you feel better. I am with you on wanting everyone to like you, I am the exact same way (unless you annoy me and then I don’t care if you like me). The thing is, it feels so much better to know someone likes you Despite/because of your occasional outbursts. Right?

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I have a need-to-please problem too. I never want people to be angry with me, or to look down on me. It causes me to feel like I’m being torn between everyone. I hate that feeling! I wish I could just “forget about everyone else” but it’s not as easy as it seems.

  4. Thank you so much, ladies, for your comments. I think this is all a part of growing up and realizing your actions and words mean something …. like a certain kind of mortality complex – I’m not as reckless with my actions anymore either. But I think my tendency toward anxiety has swung me to the total opposite side of the spectrum when I really just need to find a middle ground. But the middle ground is hard! Sometimes biting my tongue and then knowing when to let it loose.

    Navigating social graces and keeping friends is hard and makes me want to hide in my bed.

  5. Oh Honey!! I think you will notice as we all get older that we ALL swing towards this side of the spectrum, despite it serving us well (and not so well) in various situations. It is noble and admirable that you aim to keep the peace, I know how it is, its my middle name! Just always make sure to keep the balance between politeness and honesty so your pillow screaming doesnt take over your life 🙂 Scream in the pillow sometimes, vent it to someone(ahem me) and other times its perfectly okay to have an honest and adult conversation, thats also part of growing up! Chin up 🙂 You are doing great and I love you!

    -C

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