We all like to be liked.
But that raises questions.
Doesn’t the Bible instruct us to serve others by putting their needs before our own?
If so, where is the line between being a pleasant person and being a “people pleaser”?
The boundaries can be murky.
In high school, my wife Jean once said yes to three different boys who asked her for a date on the same night.
Dr. Mike Bechtle, a writer, public speaker, and communications expert, had trouble telling his children no because he wanted them to like him. He wanted to be the “fun dad,” the “nice dad.” He was, but he also had no boundaries.
People pleasers seem selfless. They are upbeat, friendly, and helpful in every situation. But that’s often because they go out of their way to avoid conflict or disapproval. And because they stuff parts of themselves, they often feel that they are unworthy of someone else’s respect, love, or acceptance. That’s no way to live. It’s unhealthy and inauthentic.
It’s also impossible. We simply cannot make everyone happy. Over the years, Dr. Bechtle has learned to see himself as a surgeon. Surgeons are nice people, but they’ll cut when it’s necessary.
The goal is to be fun, nice, and pleasant to be around but also to live with the courage and strength to say what needs to be said and to do what needs to be done. If you need help that, join me for my conversation with Dr. Mike Bechtle on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Giving Up People Pleasing for a Better Way to Live.” He’ll explore your motives for pleasing others and help you develop a healthy, godly balance between caring for others and caring for yourself.
Dr. Bechtle’s book, The People Pleaser’s Guide to Loving Others Without Losing Yourself, is available for a gift of any amount. Visit our website for more information.