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People pleasing behavior vs genuine kindness

Sometimes it can be a little confusing to know the difference between people pleasing and just being a genuinely generous, kind, and helpful person. Often the behaviors are exactly the same.

The key is the difference in intention.

Sometimes it’s primary and sometimes it’s secondary, but with people pleasers there’s always an intention to get certain benefits for themselves; namely approval, validation, a good reputation, maybe to be owed something by another person, and so on.

Generally speaking, the “kindness” from a people pleaser is not freely given. It’s been carefully designed. It’s a manipulation. It may appear to be giving but it comes with an obligation to get a return on their investment.

While some people pleasers are nice to everyone, if you watch carefully you’ll notice that many of them aren’t so giving when there’s nothing in it for themselves.

They don’t give anonymously because they wouldn’t get recognition. They don’t give to people who can’t return the favour, or people who wouldn’t be grateful. They treat outsiders like their boss better than their own loved ones because their family’s gratitude is already taken for granted.

People engaging in truly generous behavior – being genuinely kind and thoughtful for healthy values-based reasons – simply don’t care if the other person appreciates them or reciprocates or approves of the behavior.

When you’re confident and authentic, you’re just doing it for your own sake. Giving from confident people is ironically self-focused, because the reward they get is from themselves, while people pleasers are fixated on the reaction from others.

2 Responses

  1. A hack to break out of this is to try to be most giving to the people closest to you first, and try to avoid being noticed as you give (be anonymous)

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