I am, by my very nature, a people pleaser. I have a desperate eagerness to please that’s pretty fucking unattractive, and needs to be knocked on the head, quite frankly. I’ll tell you for why: other people are arseholes, preying on dickhead people pleasers such as myself.
I’ve spent my whole life being a people pleaser. I’d rather run naked around Trafalgar Square with a pigeon on my shoulder than have people think badly of me. That’s not to say I don’t piss people off – oh I DO, and regularly – but it’s always completely unintentional and usually a result of me attempting to make a lame and inadvertently racist joke. That gets me into trouble a lot. But! I’m not malicious and I’m not nasty and I will do anything you ask so long as you like me. Yeah, I’m that fucking desperate. Seriously! My Instagram account says, “I may not be for you, and that’s cool,” but that’s actual bullshit. I care what you think. I care way too much. Each new liker on my Facebook page brings with it a warm glow of acceptance. Every liker lost is a virtual knife through my over-sensitive heart.
This is a trait that I’ve passed on to my eldest son, along with my ability to spell big words and my penchant for chocolate-covered biscuits. Ben’s a people pleaser. He gets into LOTS OF FUCKING TROUBLE because he can’t say no to people. It’s how we ended up with three cartons of freshly laid eggs recently, when we only wanted one, and why he gave his shoes away to a boy in the park. And so on and so forth.
I can’t say no to people either. Ask me to do anything – anything! – and I guarantee I’ll answer with an enthusiastic OF COURSE, because the alternative – to say an honest and upfront NO – is completely out of the realm of possibility, because you MIGHT THINK LESS OF ME IF I SAY NO.
That’s not to say that I do things purely because of a sense of obligation and a piss-weak personality. No! I do nice things for people because it’s nice to do nice things for people. It’s nice to be nice! Like, I was at the hairdresser’s the other day, and I went to the neighbouring café with my cape and hair dye on, cos COFFEE. And I asked nicely for a coffee, and the coffee dude goes: “Hey, no worries, go back to the hairdresser’s and I’ll bring it over when it’s ready.” And I was, like, “Are you sure?” And he goes: “Yeah! You were nice to me, so I’ll do a nice thing for you.”
THAT’S HOW THE WORLD SHOULD WORK. I BE NICE TO YOU, YOU BE NICE TO ME. I ASK YOU NICELY FOR COFFEE, YOU NICELY BRING IT TO ME (and also get me the fuck out of your hipster café, in the process).
But back to the subject at hand. My inability to say no – and to let people down – results in me finding myself in situations that I’d rather not be in, thank you very much. Movies I don’t want to see, gigs I don’t want to go to, meals I’d rather not eat, jobs I don’t want to do. I grumble and mutter and swear and complain, and tell Paul that it’s OKAY, because the end of the world will definitely come before I have to fulfil the obligation that I’ve just enthusiastically committed myself to, but then the end of the world doesn’t come, and I have to do what I said I’d do, and I FUCKING HATE MYSELF AS A RESULT.
Paul’s just as bad. Maybe not AS bad, but pretty fucking bad. It’s why we’ll never be rich. We’d each rather eat, I dunno, urine-soaked Shopkins than chase up an outstanding invoice, or charge the appropriate hourly rate for services rendered. It’s why we can’t use Gumtree – we’d both rather pay double than have to look at another human’s sad face as we asked whether the price was negotiable. And then there was the time we sold our bed to a nice man, and felt bad for charging him money, so gave him some of his money back.
My mum DESPAIRS of us both. I don’t tell her half the shit we do for other people, ‘cos she’d string us up and stop us interacting with other humans, just to save us some self-respect and dollars.
You know what? This whole eagerness to please would be fine and well if other people were just as eager to please. But they’re not, are they? OTHER PEOPLE ARE ARSEHOLES. Other people spot people like me, Paul and Ben a fucking mile off, and rub their grubby little hands together, and think: SUCKERS. These people are also – usually – very, very rich. I used to believe in karma. I used think – in the least biblical sense possible – that if you do unto others as you want to be undone, or done to, or something, I dunno, then you’d be done right. If you know what I mean. But these days? I’m starting to fucking wonder.
The point of my story is: YOU SHOULD STOP TAKING THE PISS OUT OF ME JUST BECAUSE YOU KNOW I WON’T SAY NO TO SHIT. Or: I should start saying no, and hope you still like me. Or: JUST BE FUCKING NICE. Or: DON’T BE A CUNT TO ME, AND I WON’T BE A CUNT TO YOU, ‘kay?