If you struggle with people pleasing tendencies all year long, then the holidays might be a time of great stress for you. It can seem like the demands, pleas, requests and favors come in tenfold. Everybody needs help transporting a Christmas tree, getting a ride to the airport, decorating their living room, prepping the appetizers, picking up that gift they forgot and the list goes on. Most people put too much on their plates around the holidays, and frantically find themselves looking for someone to pass some of that burden onto. If you’re a people pleaser, it will all fall on you.
While the holidays are supposed to be a time of rest and reflection, if you’re a people pleaser, they can leave you feeling depleted, frustrated, taken advantage of and exhausted. If you find yourself dreading the holidays rather than looking forward to them, there is a good chance that you do too much people pleasing. Why would you look forward to the holidays if they just come with lots of work for you? Here are ways to combat your people pleasing tendencies this holiday season.
Traveling All Over
There are often many friends and family members who want to see you during the holidays. Everyone has their “reasons” that it’s just not best for them to do the traveling this time around. If you’re a people pleaser, you might bend over backwards, running (or flying and driving) all over the place to visit everybody. You might have several friends with children who say it’s easier that you just go to them than them to you. You might have divorced parents who live in different cities or states who both beg to see you. You might have a childhood friend who is “just” a two-hour drive from your mom’s place so…why not pop over while you’re there? Before you know it, you spend your entire holiday season hopping on planes and making long drives. You can tell people, “I’ve decided not to travel this holiday season” or “I’m only making one trip.” Friends and family cannot begrudge you for not making a trip, when they themselves were also unwilling to make it.
There is always some way you can be helping at a holiday gathering or during a visit, if you look for it. You could be on your feet for an entire holiday dinner, prepping the meal, helping to serve, picking up people’s dishes, cleaning the dishes, passing out presents, cleaning up the wrapping paper, taking the dog for a walk, sweeping up under the tree and beyond. But you know what? Everyone can split up tasks. You can help with one or two tasks, and then say, “I’m done. I helped make dinner and clean the dishes. I’m relaxing for the rest of the night. Other guests can help with whatever else comes up.”
Saying Yes To Every Invite
You might be invited to more holiday events than you can count. Between your friend’s cocktail party, your other friend’s holiday play, a cousin’s fundraiser event, another friend’s gallery opening and so on and so forth. People love to send out invitations during the holidays. You do not have to say yes to everything. Pick out a few things that A) you would really enjoy and B) would mean the most to the person who invited you. Don’t forget to leave some empty time slots on your calendar so that you can relax. If you go to every event you’re invited to, you probably won’t enjoy any of them. You’ll be tired and you’ll feel rushed.
Spending A Lot To Gain Approval
Do you remember any of the gifts you received last year? Or the year before? Not likely. And the same is true for anyone to whom you give a gift. If you’re a people pleaser, you might opt for the $100 gift instead of the $50 gift for every person on your list, for fear of looking “Cheap.” You know what your budget constraints are. Nobody who truly cares about you would want you to go into debt in order to buy them a present. You can even send out an email to loved ones saying your budget is tight this year, so gifts won’t be massive. As such, they don’t need to spend a lot on you. But no matter what, don’t overspend to gain anyone’s approval. They’ll forget about the gift within a week.
Accommodating Dietary Requests
If you are hosting a holiday meal, know that you do not need to operate like a restaurant. You certainly don’t have the staff or the supplies that a restaurant does. You’re just one person, and so your guests cannot and should not expect you to accommodate every dietary request that comes your way. In fact, you’re allowed to send out an email to everyone before your party letting them know what you will be serving. If they need to eat in advance, they have the chance to do so. If they’d like to bring something that they can eat, they can do so. But you don’t have to accommodate everyone’s requests.
Another way people pleasing can come up when hosting is in accepting every plus-one request that comes in. Perhaps you’d like to have a no-kids rule for your party, but, of course, that one friend asks if she can be the exception. Once you say yes to her, you feel the need to say yes to everyone. Before you know it, you have seven kids running around your home knocking things over during what was meant to be a peaceful adult party. And several guests ask if they can bring a friend, or a date they hardly even know. You have the right to put in your invitation, “I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing each and every one of you who I have invited. I put a lot of thought into my guest list. Unfortunately, I cannot accommodate any additional guests this time. Thanks for your understanding.”
Taking On The Problematic Guest
In almost any social circle or family gathering, there is that one problematic guest. It’s that one cousin’s boyfriend who is incredibly rude and condescending, or that one friend’s roommate who always causes drama. Nobody wants to talk to them. And you decide to be the saint who spends time with them, essentially sacrificing your evening. You don’t have to do that. Let someone else dive on that grenade this time. Hey – let the person who brought that person into the mix deal with them. Be ready with a polite way to get out of conversation when that problematic individual approaches you.
Accepting The Crappy Room
If you’ll be visiting family and good accommodations are limited, you don’t have to be the one who always agrees to sleep on the lumpy, uncomfortable fold-out couch in the den. Or the one who sleeps on the blowup mattress in the living room and is woken up by everyone who passes through early in the morning. If you got that last year, this year, you can say that it’s your turn for the good guest room. And if you can afford to stay in a hotel and would be more comfortable there, you don’t need to give into the guilt trip from your family about staying at their home. Your rest is important and you have a right to prioritize it.