I half-jokingly tell people that I am 'naturally popular'. I am an extrovert and have never had a problem meeting people and making friends. It's always been this way. Yet when I was younger, I'd say until my early 30's, I needed everyone to like me. When someone didn't, I'd wreck my brain trying to figure out why.
This also made me a people pleaser. I didn't want to have anyone upset with me. I became the girl who couldn't say no. If a friend was in a bind or needed something, I would be there ... even if it set me back. As a freelance writer, I would undercharge and accept unrealistic deadlines.
Then, one night when I was up late working on a project where I had agreed to do too much work for too little money and with not enough time that I came to a realization, actually two.
- The only person suffering with these unrealistic expectations was me. Everyone else was getting what they wanted.
- The world wouldn't end if I pushed back a little. Other people said no, so why couldn't I?
So I started doing a better job of setting boundaries. I was shocked to realize that I didn't lose friends and people didn't hate me if I said I couldn't do something. I also realized the power of the counter-offer. I can't do what you asked but this is what I can do.
Because people pleasing is in my nature, I occasionally find myself doing too much for the people in my life but it doesn't happen as frequently (i.e. all the time).
I also realized that it is okay if people don't like me. Maybe it is me and maybe it's them. Either way, it is nothing to lose sleep over.