I’ll admit it: I like to see people happy. Whether it’s my friends, my family or even random strangers I see, I like to see people with smiles on their faces and hear that they are having a good day.
That shouldn’t be frowned upon or discouraged by any means, but my problem was always thinking that I could please everyone all the time. I learned that that is not possible.
Without getting into a whole sob story (which I wouldn’t mind telling you if you’d like to hear), I never really had a ton of friends growing up.
Though the friends I have back home are certainly good people, I never really knew what it was like to have quality, Christian friends until I came to Waynesburg.
My close friends here still aren’t many in number, but where I lack in size of my friend group, I gain a lot in their character, compassion and companionship.
Now, I’m sure many readers can identify with my plight, while others are just natural friend-making machines and have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about.
Yet, I’d at least hope you know the joy, the excitement, the thrill and the thankfulness of having those people who you enjoy hanging out with. These are the people you can talk and bond with in the happiest of times, and in the periods you wish to forget.
For me, after feeling this feeling for the first time in my life, it was a perfect opportunity for a lesson I’m still fully learning.
I thought that after feeling so thankful and blessed for these friends, I needed to be the perfect friend to them in order to show my appreciation, proving that I am someone willing to reciprocate in a friendship.
Much easier said than done. Turns out, you can’t be the same person and please every single friend you have to a tee.
Not that it's incorrect or wrong to make some personal adjustments in order to improve a friendship or a relationship, because that’s usually very healthy to do. However, don’t do what I did and feel that any small criticism my friends had about me was something I needed to fix to keep the friendship going strong.
If a friend says to you that you aren’t good friends because you don’t like the same sport or activity or band as they do, let me sound the alarm bell right now: that’s not a quality friend.
I’m thankful that none of my close friends have done that in our friendship.
At the same time, I quickly discovered that my attempts to be the perfect compliment or perfect clone of my friends was not what they wanted, and trying so hard was actually causing me more stress in the friendship than there needed to be in the first place.
And that’s just one type of example.
If not with friends, I can say with high confidence that at work, in the classroom or with your family, we have all tried to be the unifier and consensus builder type figure in a situation.
That’s needed sometimes to a certain extent, like say if you are trying to choose a restaurant to go out to for dinner.
On the other hand, when it comes to heavier stuff like a family deciding who gets what belongings of a deceased relative, you probably won’t all agree on every detail.
For example, in my experience serving on the Student Senate, it is nice, on occasion, for the entire Senate to agree on what we want to do regarding a bill or proposal.
However, knowing that there’s going to be some disagreements on some things, the aim is not to get all 21 votes to be a yes, but instead to get a majority of people on board with the proposal.
One shouldn’t halt progress or feel that they are failing because one thing or one characteristic or one person doesn’t fall exactly in line with what you had in mind or what everyone else thinks.
You will drive yourself crazy if you try to please every single person’s whim.
I end imploring you to not be a people-pleaser, because if you are, the chances of being successful will be occasional to rare.