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'People Pleasing' is an addictive vice similar to alcoholism or drug addiction

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Some addictions that men and women suffer from are very easy to identify. For example, when someone is an alcoholic or heroin addict, we can usually detect this from their bizarre and volatile behavior. Even a man who is addicted to internet porn or video games creates certain behavioral traits that are usually easy to spot.

Arguably the most underrated form of 'addiction' that many people suffer from is what is known as "people pleasing." Men and women who suffer from this particular vice tend to feel happy and excited about life one day, and then as quickly as a day or two later, these same people are feeling grumpy, irritated, and/or sad.

When your self-esteem is constantly dependent on how others treat you, and your emotional disposition frequently vacillates back and forth between feeling like you are on 'Cloud Nine' (ecstatic) to feeling dejected, frustrated, and morose, this is usually the first tell-tale sign that you suffer from "people pleasing" tendencies. Many of us know men and women we work with, socialize with, and generally come into contact with who are full-fledged people-pleasers.

At the root of the people-pleaser's problems is an insatiable desire to be 'liked' by everyone and receive positive reactions and responses from everyone they interact with socially.

There is nothing wrong with people developing a favorable opinion of you while you are exhibiting authentic and real behavior toward them and engaging in activities that you have a genuine interest in and passion for. When the desire to be 'liked' becomes a problem is when you find yourself exhibiting behavior that is disingenuous and duplicitous toward others, and you regularly participate in activities and events that you know deep-down you have very little interest in as a means of motivating certain friends and acquaintances to flatter you, become more interested in spending time with you, and shower you with positive comments and reactions.

Once, Comedienne Roseanne Barr was being interviewed on television, and was asked if she enjoyed being a famous Entertainment Industry celebrity, or if she had criticisms of the whole idea of being famous and living her life under a media microscope. Among other comments she expressed, Barr said, "Most people who want to be famous are usually those who are very egotistically insecure. They have an insatiable need for constant attention and adulation from others. The desire to be the center of attention all the time becomes like a drug."

This type of addiction also happens in the world of dating and relationships. There are many men who rarely behave in the manner that they truly want to with women. Instead of being real and authentic with women, they become duplicitous and 'pleasantly phony' with women. Why? Because of their desire to be 'liked' by each and every woman they come in contact with.

A few examples:

- A man who excessively compliments a woman and fawns over her. Is this his natural behavior? No. This is representative of a man who desperately wants to be 'liked' by this woman and win her favor.

- A man who is very quick to offer to 'wine and dine' a woman he just met, and frequently offers to spend money on her and buy her a variety of materialistic gifts. Is this his natural behavior? No. This is representative of a man who is looking to earn 'brownie points' from a woman in response to him being so financially generous with her; his ultimate hope is that he will be rewarded with this woman's romantic and/or sexual attention and companionship.

- A man who engages in lengthy conversations with women about subject matter he has no genuine interest in (e.g., talking with a woman for two hours about Olympic ice skating when this man could care less about ice skating). Is this his natural behavior? Not at all. This is representative of this man being 'pleasantly phony' with a woman as a means of provoking her to feel more comfortable in his presence, and hopefully view him as an entertaining, 'likeable,' and trustworthy gentleman.

Here is the problem with such behavior: people-pleasers are only happy and fun to be around as long as they are receiving favorable responses and reactions from others. The minute these types begin to feel criticized, disrespected, insulted, or taken for granted, they will usually unleash a very 'dark' side of their personality. In extreme cases, this dark side could result in suicide or violence toward others. At minimum, this person's personality will suddenly become angry, antagonistic, insulting, or anti-social and reclusive.

If you are currently a Facebook user, how many times do you get excited when you make a comment that receives a lot of 'likes?' Similarly, in those instances when you receive very few if any 'likes' for your photos, comments, and status updates, do you find yourself feeling dejected, frustrated, or even ticked off? If the answer is 'no,' then nine times out of ten, you are probably not a 'people pleaser,' but if your response was, "I hate it when people don't like my stuff on Facebook," then you might be guilty of being a people-pleaser.

Top 5 general characteristics of a "people-pleaser":

  • People-pleasers tend to place a high emphasis on being 'liked' by others, and receiving flattering and favorable responses from others; experiencing adulation from others becomes like a 'drug' to them
  • People-pleasers tend to exhibit a high degree of disingenuous and duplicitous behavior (i.e., their 'public' persona is often much different than their 'private' persona) and will often express many insincere compliments to others just so they can be 'liked' by this person and maintain their attention and companionship
  • People-pleasers tend to exhibit a high degree of erratic, moody, or passive-aggressive behavior when they feel like they are being unfairly criticized, disliked, disrespected, ignored, or taken for granted; Many times they go back and forth between feeling extremely happy and excited to feeling very dejected and frustrated
  • People-pleasers will engage in a number of activities that really do not create much enjoyment or satisfaction for themselves just to make their friends and/or casual acquaintances 'happy'
  • People-pleasers will usually go out of their way to avoid talking about anything negative or controversial with others (such as bad health issues, problems related to personal finances, political issues, or religious issues); people-pleasers usually stick to discussing subject matter that is general, lighthearted and positive in nature

People-pleasing may not be as physically self-destructive as say, alcoholism or substance abuse, but over a period of years, it can definitely have a very negative effect on one's mental and emotional health. It is simply not healthy to care too much what other people think of you, and to regularly allow compliments from others to give you a 'boost' while at the same time allowing criticisms and insults from others to make you feel like a 'loser.'

Again, if people like you because of your genuine, natural, real behavior ... then you are okay (in other words, people like you just for being yourself ... even when you are not really 'trying' to be liked).

But if you are constantly making changes and modifications to various aspects of your behavior and personality for the sole and specific purpose of wanting to attract more friends and get more people to like you ... then you need to engage in some heartfelt self-examination exercises. In very extreme cases, you might need to consult with a professional psychiatrist or therapist.

When you are constantly giving people the misleading facade that you are 'happy' about who you are and what you are doing in life ... when the reality is, inside, you are miserable and depressed ... that is a problem. A major problem.

If you click the Facebook 'like' button above, it will be appreciated. If you choose not to ...

... well, you get the point.

Alan Roger Currie is the author of a number of books, including Mode One: Let the Women Know What You're REALLY Thinking and Oooooh . . . Say it Again: Mastering the Fine Art of Verbal Seduction and Aural Sex. Currie's latest eBook, The Possibility of Sex: How Naive and Lustful Men are Manipulated by Women Regularly is also available exclusively on Amazon.com in their Kindle format. You can also download a copy of Currie's eBook on your iPhone, Android Smartphone, or other Smartphone. Starting with Monday, August 4, 2014, you might be eligible to download a FREE copy of the audiobook version of 'Mode One' on Audible.com. CLICK HERE for more details.

Upfront & Straightforward with Alan Roger Currie, the most-listened to talk radio podcast program in the category of "Romance" and "Self-Help for Relationships" on the BlogTalkRadio Internet Radio Network, can be heard LIVE every Thursday evening at 10:00pm EST / 7:00pm PST. Visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/modeone and http://modeone.net for more details

Currie offers email, telephone, and Skype consultations to both men and women; Visit http://modeone.net/products to purchase a consultation.

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