Sandra Benedetto: The Art of People Pleasing

If you’ve ever woken up thinking that you’d like to lose just a little more self-respect, this list is for you. Fellow people pleasers, you will recognize these behaviors. My friends and family will probably read this and say, “Funny, she never goes out of her way to accommodate us”. That’s because I have the really messed up version where you care more what strangers think than the people you actually know. I blame the doctor who put me on barbiturates when I was a raging toddler, which I believe rewired my brain for total compliance. What can you do — it was the 80s and he’s probably in his own poolside Quaalude stupor in Miami right now. Anyway, I spent the ensuing decades perfecting this art, and hope that you can benefit from these tips:

  1. Sleep in your car if the hotel gave your reservation away, because Grandpa’s welfare is less of an issue than the front desk clerk thinking you’re demanding.
  2. Apologize for your slow reflexes the next time someone drives over your foot, stabs you in the eye, or drops a piano on your head.
  3.  Be extra cheerful on the phone so the customer service rep in Colorado thinks you’re a nice person, because otherwise there might be a customer service rep in Colorado who doesn’t think you’re a nice person.
  4.  For God’s sake, don’t ask anyone for favors. If your friend wanted to give you a ride to the airport or loan you a suitcase they would have read your mind and offered to do it already.
  5. Avoid delivering bad news at all costs, because you don’t want to be associated with that kind of negativity.
  6.  Drive 30 miles each way on a snowy mountain pass to drop off the handcrafted anniversary gift you made for your friends, because the cost of gas is nothing compared to the cost of a make-believe loss of friendship.
  7. Help people do their jobs: “Here, just let me fold those shirts/bag those groceries/dig that drainage ditch.”
  8. Refuse all assistance, including CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
  9. Be sure to ask your companions, “Are we allowed to do that?” before you walk on grass, bring snacks into the movie theater, or violate any other important social convention.
  10. Don’t take the last brownie, even if it’s been sitting there for a while, because someone more deserving should have it.
  11. Make it a priority not to waste other people’s valuable time by being late. Conversely, if someone else arrives late make sure they understand that it’s not a big deal AT ALL.
  12. Never accept payment for services rendered. Prostitution is illegal, anyway.


  1. Yes, but “people pleasers” all have at least one friend that is the opposite (i.e. me) that embarrasses the shit out of them. I don’t know how many times I’ve given a deadpan sarcastic reply to someone, walked away, and heard my friend following behind me apologizing for me lol. So, at least there’s that….. and your self-awareness. 😉

  2. I knew I would like this after finishing the first sentence. I am way too guilty of number 3. And by “number 3” I mean all of these. Whoops, gotta go, there’s a drainage ditch needing to be dug.

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