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And I Can't Say No!!

In a workshop on Managerial Excellence, we were talking about Assertiveness in communication...being honest, direct and caring and yet saying a No.

One participant, eyes big with what seemed a mixture of amusement and horror at the same time asked, " Can we say no to a client? Or a boss?" His body language suggested to me that his mind had already rejected the proposition the moment it was introduced in the workshop. I knew that changing his opinion was going to be an uphill battle because the conviction in his stance said it with finality - Saying No is Impossible! Its Unthinkable! Its just not done!

While I continued with the 5 steps to assertiveness in that workshop, I realised that at times its a much deeper issue behind the simple behavior of not saying a No. It is called the People Pleaser Personality.

Am I a People Pleaser?

Here are some ways to recognize a People Pleaser:

  1. People Pleasers are the nicest people we know. They always put others ahead of themselves. They are ever ready to help, lend a hand, be there. They are last on their own priority list. For example, a colleague who will help you out in your work even if their own work suffers.

  2. They are very uncomfortable with conflict and prioritize harmony and peace over anything else. They would rather agree with what the other is saying than get into a conversation that can become an argument. For example, a spouse who will agree to go to a social gathering where they feel out of place just to keep