30.12.18

How Tinder stopped me being a people pleaser


Have you seen the film Coming to America? Remember that part where the Prince has to meet his potential suitors, after some elaborate introductions in an attempt to get to know one of them he asks the girl what sort of interests she has; her response? ‘I like whatever you like’.

Hi! Hello, that’s me!!

I have no idea what made me this way but I have always wanted everyone to like me. Yes, everyone. I’ve spent a large portion of my life making sure I’m pleasant and have worked really hard on being nice. My vows as a people pleaser : I will agree with everything you say, I will always put you first and I will bend over backwards whilst the words 'I don’t mind’ literally fall out my mouth any time I'm asked a question or my opinion. 

Maybe it’s partly down to being a third child. You kind of have to go with the flow and do what everyone else wants and just get on with it so you don’t get left out.
Who knows. But it’s definitely the reason so many of my relationships (not just with boys) have gone tits up when I finally lose my shit and speak my mind. It got me wondering whether I’m too eager to please all the wrong people.

When it comes to ~boys and dating though I don’t just want someone to like me, I want someone to LOVE me. So as you can imagine in my mind I naturally feel like I have to level up on my people pleasing ways.

And that's where I encounter problems.

I have this amazing ability to only see the good in people. In fact, even if I only know a couple of things about you (literally your name and what you look, thanks to Tinder) I am able to dream up your entire personality, all your outstanding qualities, your wants and needs, your future aspirations and of course I instinctively know what you want from me as a partner.

Spoiler alert - I’m literally always wrong.

Turns out that when you try to make assumptions based on little or no facts then you quite often get things wrong. huh.

So there’s me, with my highly romanticised way of seeing the world, on Tinder swiping away on guys who I very quickly decide are gonna be the best thing since sliced bread (and I really like bread) I go on autopilot and that’s when I realised how exhausting it all is.

It goes something like this : Hey look we matched. Great. That means you like me - I’ve got the validation I needed, mission complete. 
But wait, it doesn’t end there? I have to talk to them? Meet them? Try to impress them? ugh. That actually seems like a lot of effort. no thanks. 

I wasn’t exactly prepared to be dating at 32 (to say the last time I was single I was 14 and my pool of choice were the handful of boys in my year at school) my trusty ‘do everything to make them like you’ technique just doesn’t work for the swathe of people you get to interact with when online dating. Not suggesting it worked anyway but y'know just clarifying, it definitely is NOT the way to go here.
Because if I’ve learnt anything from using these apps it’s that there are SO many fish in the sea. literally *so* many.

Too many.

And attempting to make them all like you would be impossible.

What’s more of a revelation to me is that I’m actually fine with that.

Because seriously now, let’s be honest if my only aim here is to get someone ANYONE to like me then I definitely don’t need an app for that surely? If I just enjoy the idea of someone liking me more than anything else then I need to be very selective with who I’m actively trying to impress.
The sad reality is that when you spend all your time trying to live up to someone else's expectations (whether they asked you to or not) you slowly start to chip away at what makes you YOU and little by little you start to lose your identity. You put the importance of some random person's opinion of you over the importance of you liking yourself. When you think about it like that it makes you realise you really shouldn’t be having to put that much effort in at all, and you certainly shouldn’t be changing anything about yourself to do so.

The more aware I become of this the more I realise I am bending over backwards to please people because of my own fears of rejection and loneliness not because I’ve found my one true love *heart eyes emoji*
And honestly I don’t even know where that developed from but I think recognising it is a good start. 

When you take away the emphasis of ’someone liking you’ and instead replace that with the value of actually learning more about this other human being and whether you are a good match for each other, the whole ‘does he like me’ thing becomes obsolete ... because by then you’ve probably realised he's not good enough for you anyway.

Obvs I run the risk of going completely the other way here and being so obnoxiously unbearable that in fact no one will ever like me, not even my own mother. So I’ll just clarify : Yes it’s ok to do things to please the people you adore, but not to the detriment of your personality, morals or sanity. And you should most definitely be selective over who you want to love you.


disclaimer : Ok fine, I haven’t *totally* stopped. I still notice myself slipping back into my people pleasing ways when I laugh too hard at some guys lame joke or say I don’t mind where we go for dinner when actually I JUST WANT CHINESE FOOD, but I’m getting better at noticing it now and nipping it in the bud before I'm hopping on one leg and barking like a dog to try and impress him. 

1 comment

  1. Love this. I am an inherent people pleaser, always have been and it was only when my boss once asked me about it that I took stock of it and the implications it has. He said ‘perhaps you just really hate the idea of somebody not liking you?’ I had never even thought about it. But then I did. And he was right. Urgh. This is a great place to start though and it is important to remember that you have to come first. Good luck xx

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