“I just don’t know what to do. She drains all my energy out of me. Every time I see her number pop up on my cell phone, I send her to voicemail because I just don’t have the energy to deal with her at that time.”
Years ago a lady shared these thoughts with me. She had a “life-sucker” who was literally draining her energy and she didn’t know what to do.
Her “friend” had recently navigated a few of life’s difficult blows and was living into her new normal, but not in such a way that this person could support her. The friend wanted the lady to spend face to face time with her each day, whether it was exercising, having a glass of wine after dinner, running to the grocery store . . . the requests seemed innocent enough. However, the lady who was asking for my counsel felt overwhelmed because no matter what she did, it was never enough.
She didn’t want to damage the friendship but she also knew she couldn’t continue to offer the level of engagement she was currently.
We discussed boundaries and compromise. We discussed the importance of transparency about her feelings and a determination to be friendly and loving, yet not a people pleaser, giving into every request, just to keep her friend happy.
Clearly, her friend was working through her own things, and happiness would not come from “time spent” with friends, but rather a peace that comes with inner healing and God.
It’s so easy to get caught up in other’s needs. We love our friends and family, we want to do what is right by them. However, we all have our limits.
One way to gauge whether or not we are “people pleasing” is to do a time/value check.
Our words and our behaviors must be in line with our beliefs before we can begin to enjoy a truly authentic life![1]
As Amy Morin suggests in her book
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, look at the list below and see if the things you value are the places where you spend the majority of your time. If not – try to think through how you can make some adjustments so that your life can be that which brings you contentment and joy, rather than trying to appease other people.
  • Friendships
  • Romantic Relationships
  • Children
  • Extended Family
  • Religion/Spiritual beliefs
  • Volunteering or Helping Other People
  • Career
  • Money
  • Taking care of physical health
  • Having a sense of purpose
  • Leisure activities
  • Pleasing people and keeping everyone happy
  • Education
Proverbs 29:25The Message (MSG)
25 The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.

[1] Morin, A. (2015). 13 things mentally strong people dont do: take back your power, embrace change, face your fears and train your brain. New York: William Morrow.