The third difficult person is the people pleaser who is noticeably people-oriented as opposed to the task-oriented aggressive and complainer. He agrees with everyone. Consequently, the people pleaser is indirect in his difficult behavior. He creates negative conflict when he promises everyone what they want to hear. The result is unmet expectations because the people pleaser is unable to do what he said when the interests of two parties collide. His desire to please flows from an underlying motive to bring significance to himself as he seeks attention, acceptance, affection, and approval. He utilizes at least four persuasive tools that stem from his gift to gab: (1) gossip, (2) exaggeration, (3) flattery, and (4) a chameleon complex that desires to say, “Yes.”
The people pleaser gossips, although he never sees himself as doing so. In his non-stop conversational banter, the people pleaser shares unverified and even classified information about other people. His desire for significance creates a seemingly insatiable desire to be the bearer of news as he delights in airing his own opinions (Proverbs 18:2). This idle conversation can be contagious: “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts” (Proverbs 26:22).
The people pleaser is gifted in leveraging emotions for his persuasive pleas. In order to do so, he exaggerates facts with his words and his non-verbal cues. His loud tone of voice, animated hand gestures, clever eye contact, excitable facial expressions, and warm body posture are convincing (Proverbs 26:23).
The people pleaser uses charming words to get what he wants, including praise from others. This is flattery. In essence, he tells others what they want to hear, not as much for their benefit as for his (Proverbs 26:24-25, 28). This creates a net that can snag his audience: “Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet” (Proverbs 29:5).
The people pleaser loves to please people. His low expectations of self and others combined with his love to have fun provide an agreeable atmosphere where he genuinely wants to say, “Yes” to everyone he encounters. In essence, he becomes difficult by default. When he says, “Yes,” to two different persons who have opposing interests, he creates negative conflict (Proverbs 26:27).
In order to lead the people pleaser, we must listen to his heart — his will, intellect, emotions, and spirit. These four chambers of the heart can be discovered by learning his choices, thoughts, feelings, and even his prayers.
Wisdom works when we connect, deflect, reflect, and direct the people pleaser through four wise practices: (1) don’t gossip, (2) don’t be gullible, (3) don’t give in, and (4) graciously support him in the wisest direction.