People pleasing has caused many a blunder in my life.
The earliest blunder happened in first grade. I made friends with a boy I’ll call McDonald.
McDonald was an overweight kid with a speech impediment. He had trouble with his R’s, so whenever he tried to say my name, he’d say “Bwe.” He didn’t have many friends, but neither did I.
I felt sorry for him, so I decided to be his friend. It was a match made in heaven. While we gave each other company, he gave me the approval I desperately needed.
Every time he talked to me, McDonald would say my name: “Bwe. It’s cold outside.” “Bwe. Let’s go on the swings.” “Bwe. Have you tried the PS2 yet?” The Bwe’s were endless.
It annoyed me so much that I didn’t want to hang out with McDonald anymore. I couldn’t tell him off though because that would risk disapproval, so I took the easier route: I avoided him. Even then, he was too socially inept to get the message. I eventually gave up and continued to be his friend.
In high school I started receiving phone messages: “Bwe. You wanna hang out?” “Bwe. Whewe awe you?” And ignored all of them. He finally understood. It took seven years before we stopped being friends.
People pleasing can be far from pleasing. I was a dick to McDonald. Here’s the sad part: he was a good kid who meant well. I probably caused him a lot of psychological trauma.
If I ever again cross paths with McDonald, I’d apologize profusely. And then I’d willfully receive a slap in the face.
(for part 2, click here.)