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How to Communicate with People Pleasers

by Maura Banar, studioD

Individuals known as "people pleasers" have the tendency to put the needs of others before their own needs. As a result, these individuals can be considered a type of addict, notes the website Health Guidance. Trying to communicate with a people pleaser can be frustrating because your conversation may lack balance, negotiation, compromise and objectivity. Having a discussion with a people pleaser may require an approach that differs from the approach you take with someone else.


Stick to the facts when communicating with a people pleaser. People pleasers often find it difficult to perceive reality because they construct a perception that fits their need to make everyone happy. As a result, communication that is wrought with emotion and opinion probably won't be as effective as being clear about what you are saying and expressing it without judgment. If necessary, ask the people pleaser to state what you have tried to explain. This can help you understand the distortion in perception that may prevent the people pleaser from having a clear understanding of what you are saying.


Reassure the people pleaser that saying "no" isn't a bad thing in conversation. Perhaps the most difficult word for a people pleaser to utter is "no." This seemingly benign word represents the potential for the people pleaser to disappoint someone, even if the situation warrants disagreement. Reassure the people pleaser that her disagreement isn't just encouraged, it's essential to facilitate communication. If she seems to have difficulty disagreeing with you but you believe she is resistant to the word "no," offer an alternative opinion as a possible response.


Point out to the people pleaser the effects of the difficulty with balanced communication. Individuals who rely on people pleasing as their primary approach to interaction may not have enough self-awareness to recognize how their behavior affects others. Health Guidance notes that people pleasers derive benefit from an ally who guides them in changing their communication approach. Keep in mind that it's important to be tactful in your approach to explaining the difficulty of communicating with the people pleaser.


Provide a positive role model for the people pleaser. Leading by example can be effective in helping a people pleaser experience a new approach to communication. Avoid monopolizing the conversation, instead asking questions to elicit an opinion from the people pleaser. Rather than simply sharing your position in the conversation, explain how you arrived at your argument without forcing your opinion. Be supportive of the people pleaser, especially when you see him making a concerted effort to implement an alternative opinion or to say "no."

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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