What To Do if Your Girlfriend’s A People Pleaser
Your girlfriend is giving, empathetic, and thoughtful. A ‘nice’ girl.
A former people pleaser once reflected on her life and shared that she was often left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and absolutely miserable after realizing the pattern in all her relationships: An imbalance of her constantly giving, and being surrounded by people who are way too happy to benefit from her generosity.
Until one day, you realize that also comes with a whole host of other little things – Her difficulty saying ‘no’ to anyone and everyone, even to the extent of feeling guilt if she ever does. She’s constantly apologizing or overly preoccupied with what others think.
Here’re other possible signs of people-pleasing behavior:
- She stresses earning the approval of others.
- She takes the blame when something isn’t her fault.
- She neglects her own needs to fulfill the needs of others.
- She agrees with others even if she disagrees internally.
- She struggles with low self-esteem.
- She doesn’t have much time because she’s busy doing things for others.
While one of these signs alone might not point towards the person being a people pleaser, a combination of a few (or all) would most definitely suggest that.
Relationship Dynamic With A People-Pleaser Girlfriend
Yet, for two people to build the strongest partnership, both need to be able to stand on their own prior to coming together. This means they’d need to already know themselves well and can show up for each other fully.
This cannot be attained in a relationship with a people-pleaser girlfriend – They’re after all people who aren’t sure of who they are, much less stand up for themselves.
Narcissists prey on such people – They’re takers so they need givers. The more extreme the lengths the other party is willing to go to fulfill their needs, the more they feed off that energy. That imbalanced relationship works to their benefit until the girl stands up for herself someday.
For the rest of us though who aren’t narcissists, people-pleasing behaviors in a partner can be detrimental to relationships.
Needless to say, the lack of reciprocity will eventually cause people-pleasers to feel resentful.
Unfortunately, everyone can only take so much before they speak up, or in most cases, because it has been bottled up for so long, you will probably be on the receiving end of random outbursts.
What to do if you’re dating a people-pleaser girlfriend
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely you yearn to create a more equal and satisfying relationship.
An open discussion is always a good step. Do tread carefully though because this conversation isn’t an easy one, and it’s best to put it across in a way your lover doesn’t feel attacked.
For example, if you’ve noticed that your paramour has been lashing out at you for reasons that aren’t related to you both, and that frustrates you, ask if it’s a good time to chat and say, “I love you, and I would like to raise something that bothered me if that’s okay?” Get her green light before proceeding.
Then, perhaps say something along the lines of, “I noticed that there were times I was on the receiving end of outbursts, and I understood that you had a bad day that day. Maybe instead of lashing out the next time, I just want to let you know that I’m always here if you need a listening ear or if you need to rant about your day.”
If your girl seems receptive during the conversation, you can always dig a little deeper to find out where this people-pleasing behavior developed. It would almost always stem from childhood, so you can ask about her time growing up and how the family dynamic was.
Be aware that there may be trauma there – Show empathy and compassion for what she has been through.
Let her know gently that people-pleasing doesn’t make us nice. A people pleaser is essentially a person who lacks boundaries, a person who doesn’t prioritize herself, and a person who doesn’t show self-respect.
If she’s able to recognize the issue at hand and expresses the desire for change, support her. It might mean double or triple checking on even simple things at first like where to go for dinner and making sure her needs and wants are met. Your constant encouragement will go a long way.
This is a journey most of us have been through – We’ve all at one point made ourselves smaller than who we are just to fit in.
It’s time to reclaim our power. Let us help one another show up as our most authentic selves, in order to create the most genuine connections, and immerse ourselves in the highest form of love.
We are all connected. We are all part of a greater whole. And we have the ability to connect with each other on an entirely new level. You can also read our post on how to stop bringing up the past and how to tell a person's true color.
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Deborah Choo loves discussing relationships, platonic or not, as that remains at the heart of human existence. She draws upon learnings from couples’ counselling, and continues to celebrate an incredible journey of growth.