I Hope You Like My Article On People Pleasing

Doug Bender

April 27, 2021 | 3 minute read

Here it is: my article about people pleasing. I hope you like it. I really do. I’ll be sure to check all the analytics to make sure. I’ll see how many people viewed the article, how long everyone stayed on the page, and whether you commented or interacted with it. Then, I’ll take a look at our social media feeds and see if you “liked” it there, too, or gave me one of those happy emoji’s. Those are the best. I’ll be sure to read all the comments, too, especially, the nice ones. They always make me feel better. Thankfully, social media algorithms even help make sure you only see content that you like. So, if you are reading this, the best minds in computing already think you’ll like it. That sure makes me happy. Does it make you happy too? I hope it does. Surely with all of these positive feedback mechanisms, I’ll end my day much happier than I began. That’s how it works right? 

When I was younger, I didn’t have all this help in knowing if you liked me or what I’ve said. Maybe that’s why I got picked on a lot. I just needed more ways to hear all the ways that you might like me, or, at least, like what image I’ve presented to you. It took me a while to know what parts of me I should hide and what parts of me I should let you see. Well, really, I learned to just hide me completely. I stopped talking to people. I stayed away from crowds. I worried constantly about what others might think of me. It was petrifying, terrifying, and paralyzing. But at least hiding everything meant you couldn’t laugh at me.

But that only worked for a time. 

Soon, I felt nothing but loneliness. 

That’s when I had to change tactics. I learned to put on a smile, even if I wasn’t happy. I learned to laugh, even if I didn’t think what you said was funny. I only said things I thought you would like. That helped for a while. I made some friends. Or at least this person that I made up made some friends. But me, the real me, still felt lonely. I realized that after a while. 

I actually realized another thing after a while. You are lonely, too. At least most people reading this are lonely. I know this because I’ve seen your social media feed. It’s like everyone else’s. It’s like that smile I used to put on. It’s always happy. You’re always laughing. Life is always the best. I know every word you put up there has been carefully crafted to get as many people as possible to “Like” it. That’s because if they like your picture, they might like you, too. That’s how it works, right?

I know this because I spent many years doing the exact same thing. I did it before Facebook and Twitter, before Instagram and TikTok. I spent many years never actually engaging with anyone on anything that matters because I wanted people to like me. I spent all my days wondering if you’d like me and all my nights dreaming that you might not. 

I wrote this article because I still sometimes fall back into this same bad habit. I’ve learned better over the years. But I still slip up. Spending my time hoping that you like me will only make me like me less. I’ve learned that. 

Worse, all this effort won’t actually help you like me more anyways. Why? Because if you clicked on this article it means you might be a people pleaser, too. As long as we are both stuck wondering, “Do you like me?” then we won’t have time to actually say, “I like you.” 

But I learned something. Or, rather, I met someone. I met someone who was different. He liked me, long before I ever liked him. He loved me, long before I ever loved him. Every time I say something embarrassing, I worry you might not like me anymore, but I’ve learned that this person still does. Every time I fail at something, I worry that you might like me less, but I’ve discovered he never does. He loves me infinity, maybe even infinity plus one. 

Really, I wrote this article to confess to you that I worry too much about what you think. And I think you probably worry too much about what I think, too. I want you to meet the person I’ve met. The person who is pleased with me. He likes me. He loves me. He sees right through me, and comes out the other side still in love with me. I’m not sure how he does it. I see me and struggle to like me most days, but he doesn’t. I’m telling you this because he sees through you, too. And he likes you, a lot!

I’m pleased that you’ve made it this far into the article. I can tell, because the average viewing time on this article tells me you probably actually read it. Plus, how could you be reading this line if you hadn’t? (That’s a joke. Did you like it?) I still hope you like me after all that I’ve confessed. But more importantly, I hope that you will learn to like this other person I’ve talked about. Because he sure likes you. 

If you’ve never met him, his name is Jesus. He really is fantastic. He follows all your social media accounts, even though he won’t show up in your analytics. But he sees everything anyways. Even crazier, he sees all the things you didn’t post. He sees your faults, your mistakes, your regrets, and anything else you hoped no one would see. He saw them. And he still is madly in love with you. 

You really should meet him if you haven’t already. 

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

Search for what you’d like to read about