Battling People Pleasing Tendencies

Last week, I wrote about Fellow Warriors in the Battle for Yourself and shared stories of women who show me everyday how saying no and being their own person changes their lives for the better.

I met Sarah Beth Jones, co-owner of Nary Ordinary Business Services, at the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference at Hollins University. She gave a talk about social media, and I approached her after her session to discuss this blog concept. Wow, am I glad that I made that contact.

A self-proclaimed introvert, Sarah gave a humorous and engaging talk and has since given me truly valuable advice about blogging, social media and writing. The true value of her acquaintance has come in reading her posts on the No B.S. blog on Facebook, especially the posts about her struggles with perfectionism, and commiserating online about our shared tendencies to give too much of ourselves to please others.

Today I share with you the story of a Fellow Warrior…in her own words.

By Sarah Beth Jones, Nary Ordinary Business Services

I keep writing and rewriting this intro paragraph because each previous version has been snarky eyerolls that have gone beyond cute and straight into obnoxious. It’s hard to confess to embarrassing habits – that’s what makes them embarrassing, right?

Okay, here we go. This time I can do it with zero tongue/cheek contact.

I have some knee-jerk know-it-all tendencies.

I could stretch out on the couch and get into where I think they come from but at this point, what matters are not the roots but the perpetuation of this really, really annoying habit.

Bottom line: I want people to like me and somehow, it got embedded in my brain a long, long time ago that people will like me if I get their references or am able to answer their questions or otherwise use my brain as a bit of pretty plumage.

I’m pretty sure the Care Bears had a book about this kind of thing. I really do understand how silly this is.

But it’s not intentional – it’s irrational, instinctive, involuntary.

It’s what Bokonon, the religious leader in Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., called foma: harmless untruths that smooth the way to a happier life.

This has nothing to do with false claims about my beliefs or abilities. Fortunately, my knee-jerk affirmations stop short of total, self-destructive b.s.

I do, however, find myself sometimes claiming to recognize the names of musicians/writers/artists people reference, saying, “It’s familiar; I just can’t place it.” I find little nuggets of relevant info tucked into the corners of my gray matter and fluff them up with a bunch of harrumphing to make them seem more relevant.

So how does this differ from foma?

My life isn’t happier for this silly, pointless habit. Now, the foma involved when we gloss over a friend’s or loved one’s not-so-great characteristic when they’re in the midst of feeling rotten and need affirmation a whole lot more than a reality check, I approve of wholeheartedly.

But this fluffing of feathers that I do, it’s just b.s. And I’m down on b.s. 

Read the original blog post on Nary Ordinary’s site at Make sure to check out the other exceptional posts by Sarah Beth Jones, and learn how her business could help your micro or artisan business in Southwest Virginia.
3 Responses to “Battling People Pleasing Tendencies”
  1. PushDumpFatButton says:

    Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

    • Thanks again for the reblog. Whether on a journey to lose weight and recover your true self, or on a journey to rid oneself of bad habits and tendencies to people please, we all need to be healthier and more focused on positive things.

      • PushDumpFatButton says:

        This is a very true statement and straight to the point! Appreciated! 🙂

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