“Why do I have to be a people pleaser?”

How’s your Christmas been?

Absolutely manic.  We went round to my mum’s, her mum’s and her dad’s on Boxing Day – spent most of it in the car.

I know Christmas is a time for family but that sounds a bit much.  It doesn’t sound the most relaxing way to spend Boxing Day.

The whole thing’s been a nightmare this year.  We’ve ended up buying presents for people because we feel obliged to, going to things we don’t want to, and eating food we don’t need with people we don’t like.

Well next year you can do things differently.

That’s what I said last year, and the year before that.  And the year before the year before that come to think of it.

Sounds like you could do with being a bit more assertive with people.

Well I do ask people if they’re sure about inviting me – so I am hinting at what I want, and giving them the option.

Letting other people decide isn’t being assertive, and neither is hinting about what you’d like.  And in fact if you keep palming decisions off onto other people you’re much more likely to upset them.

Even more than saying that I’m not staying all evening, or not even going?

Even more than that.  Just be straight with people – and that’s easier if you decide where your boundaries are and what you want before you start talking, rather than during or afterwards.

Anything else?

If you want people to value you, then you have to value yourself.  And you can practice that when the stakes are a lot lower.  Find something in a conversation where it’s safe to disagree with people.

Like whether this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert is any good?

That seems pretty uncontentious.

Well I prefer the one with the flying carrot.


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