Are You A People Pleaser?

Are You A People Pleaser?

I admit it, and I’m calling myself out on this one.  While I’m about to lay out veritable words of wisdom, this is definitely one I’m guilty of doing.

Why do we try so hard to please others?

It’s like our puppy, Bernie.  If ever there was a cuter puppy who wanted to please their owner, I haven’t met him…or her.  He is content to wag his tail and make us smile. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t as cute as Bernie and face licking is frowned upon.

For some of us, it’s easy to go overboard, and at some point, enough is enough.   There comes a time when you have to make a conscious decision to be comfortable being the best version of you, regardless of what others think.

There’s nothing better than a great story to illustrate a point:

An old man and a young boy were travelling through their village with their donkey. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.

As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.  The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people that remarked, “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.”  They then decided they both would walk!

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying “how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey”.  The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.

As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal, and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye.


Resilience Expert, Author, Keynote Speaker Anne Grady
Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it.

Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of Mind Over Moment: Harness the Power of Resilience, 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work, and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.


  1. This was one of my grandmother’s favorite stories! She told it so often that she could she could just say “and you might loose your donkey.” We all knew the rest of the story! Thanks for the reminder to be true to my beliefs and principles. And the remembrance of my wise Granny.

  2. Well this holds true…not only where work is concerned but in interpersonal relationships. I am very….very….guilty of this. Now I have to face…the loss of my “donkey”. 🙂

  3. Thank you! This is so true. I’m a people pleaser and end up so exhausted. The more you try to please, the more is what it’s expexted because you put them in that habit. At this point, made so many decisons that have made me happy and only requires to please one person..myself.

    • It’s totally exhausting, AND you end up inevitably either disappointing someone anyway or you end up frustrated and tired. Either way, you’re right. You have to do what’s right for you.

  4. This is a wonderful story, which I hadn’t heard before, but I most certainly will remember! This “people pleasing” has always been a huge stumbling block for me,so thank you for this. I still can’t believe how fortunate you are to have this adorable dog.

  5. I’m a Middle School counselor so I too get wrapped up with trying to please everyone and when I fail to do so I take the blame. Well, thanks for reminding me that I’m human and i can only control what I do and say.!

  6. What a great story, Anne! Thanks for the laugh. Dogs can give us a good lesson on happiness but obviously even they can’t please everyone all the time.

  7. When my youngest daughter was small she did actually lick people’s faces. HAHA It was pretty cute, but not always taken well by some people. Luckily she out grew that and just stayed cute.

    I am a reformed people please, well I’m working on it. I think my recent divorce has helped with that, although I find myself still wanting to do nice things for my ex, when I have no reason to. He still expects me to do things for him, take care of the all the details of the divorce and the seperation of our lives etc.

    That old saying “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” With age my give-a-care level has gone down, I just care less whether I make everyone happy or not.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this, I always enjoy reading your posts, just saw you speak in Austin a couple of weeks ago. You spoke to my life and heart.

    Have a blessed day.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Thanks so much for writing. Your comment about your daughter made me chuckly out loud 🙂 Divorces stink, and I’m sorry you’re having to go through it. Keep your chin up 🙂 Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  8. I needed that reminder! As I am in the midst of a lay off, I am already getting other job opportunities knocking at my door. Well, I want to please everyone so I have to explain myself to those jobs I’m not really interested in. It’s hard. I am reminded to focus on my goals and interests and to not be afraid to pursue them. After all I only got one person to please -muaw.

    Thanks Anne.

  9. Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Thank you so much!

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