Have you ever noticed how the people pleaser in your life has a tendency to agree with almost everyone? The people pleaser is weak in willpower, and his desire for significance apart from Christ leads him to be a chameleon as he continually adjusts his values to accommodate whomever he is with at the moment.
In his effort to be popular, the people pleaser foolishly says, “Yes,” to everyone he encounters. The people pleaser says, “Yes,” to the Sunday school budget increase and the new elder retreat committing the same finite dollars twice. The people pleaser says, “Yes,” promising the same car on the same Friday night to two different teenage siblings. The people pleaser says, “Yes,” to two appointments at two different locations at the same exact time. The people pleaser says, “Yes,” to the differing values and opinions of two people with opposing views. Only after two persons or groups with opposite interests experience each other’s carte blanch from the people pleaser does negative conflict occur. The result is an over-commitment of life’s resources: time, talent, and treasure.
The people pleaser needs a new benchmark for success — wisdom. His desire to please will motivate him to try wisdom when it is graciously presented as an alternative, and he feels supported to get there. Grace means “undeserved love” — where one finds ultimate significance in Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). Support means that he will not go there alone.
Solomon believed in graciously supporting one toward wisdom: “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11). Solomon compelled young leaders to shrewdly save those who are directed toward foolishness: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). The weak-in-willpower people pleaser will become warm toward a wise alternative when he is emotionally supported in that direction. Paul said that we should support the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Connect with the heart of the people pleaser by recognizing his desire for significance apart from Christ, and don’t gossip. Deflect his difficult behavior, and don’t be gullible to his exaggerations. Reflect his heart, and don’t give in to flattery. Finally, direct him toward wisdom, and graciously support him in the wisest direction.
After being prompted with wisdom from the Holy Spirit and the Bible say, “Based on my understanding of the Bible, this direction would be a wise solution for you. Your gifts would greatly honor God. I would love to help you get there.” He will want to please you with his wise behavior. If he is an unbeliever, use discretion in your use of the Bible and God in your conversation (Matthew 7:6). God will use you to wisely lead the people pleaser in your life through listening.