I Dated A People Pleaser & It Sucked

My last boyfriend seemed perfect at first, but then I found out why—he’s a people pleaser. You would think that dating someone who loved making others happy would be great but it was actually the complete opposite.

  1. He didn’t always have my back. A lot of the time, he was so busy making sure everyone else was okay, he would forget that he was even my boyfriend. He would constantly put other people’s opinions before mine. If it meant that the entire group was against me, he wouldn’t be so quick to take my side; in fact, he would often take the more popular side just to avoid being part of an argument, leaving me in the dust.
  2. He would get easily distracted by other people. Whenever we would go out, his head was always swinging around looking at everyone but me, especially if he ran into someone he knew. It would almost be as if I ceased to exist. ALL of his attention would be on them and he wouldn’t even introduce me. It was nuts. It was just crazy to me that he would zone in so easily on people around him when he had his girlfriend sitting right in front him.
  3. He would criticize me for not being nice to strangers. I remember this one time, I didn’t hold the door for an old man and he said out loud that I should have held it and even said sorry to the man on my behalf. Who does that?! It was so embarrassing that he honestly cared WAY too much about what other people thought of him, especially strangers.
  4. He would flirt with girls in front of me. I understand that his “accidental” flirting was fuelled by his people-pleasing tendencies but still, it bothered me. The second a girl would start talking to him, he just couldn’t look away. He couldn’t end it or make sure she knew he was already in a relationship because he was so afraid that she’d get mad or annoyed at him if he said anything, so he just kept talking. He would even do it when I was right there beside him. It was the worst.
  5. He had no backbone. The worst part about dating a people pleaser is that I could never depend on him to have an opinion or to follow through with things because there was always that chance that his fear of people not liking him would get in the way.
  6. He would pretend to be happy when he really wasn’t. So much of our relationship was a lie. He must have decided about halfway through that he wasn’t happy but was so afraid that I’d get mad at him that he just put up with it, pretending he was okay when he really wasn’t. What he didn’t know is that I would’ve rather him been real than “okay” all the time.
  7. He would lie all the time just so I wouldn’t get mad at him. He would tell these little white lies just to keep me happy and I would ALWAYS know when he was doing it. He would hold back details or make stuff up just to make sure I still loved him and it was pretty sad.
  8. He had a hard time making a decision. One of the most unattractive qualities in a man is the inability to make decisions. He didn’t want to make the wrong one and cause me to be upset, so he figured that it was easier to just not make any decisions at all, leaving me with the brunt of the responsibility. Even though I’m all for equality in relationships, it’s just so much more attractive when a guy is confident and sure of his decisions.
  9. He was like a ticking time bomb. With all of these unexpressed emotions built up inside of him, he was like a bomb about to go off. I could feel it. It would often look like him going quiet or rolling his eyes or whatever it may be and he was totally just doing it to himself. He started to get annoyed at himself that he was afraid to express honestly to me so instead of pulling up and doing it, he got all reclusive and weird, which eventually ended the relationship.
  10. He ended up resenting me and then dumped me. He didn’t feel like he could be himself around me and that caused him to end the relationship altogether. He said it was too much pressure trying to measure up to me, which was interesting because all I ever wanted was for him to be himself—not a perfect, people pleasing version. Oh well. He’ll learn eventually, I guess…
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.