I hate being a people pleaser…

In the last couple of months I have been so mad at the responses from some of my “friends” to my Facebook posts that I honestly wanted to tell everyone I’m quitting FB and then deactivate my account. I’m not given to posting stuff like “eating dinner”, “hope it stops raining”, “can’t find my shoes”…I’m getting irritated at myself as I’m typing these lame fake posts. My wife tells me I post stuff that is a little deeper than most. My posts are usually something I’ve learned that day to help me be a better person and I would love to hear what others think about it. I personally hope my posts cause a little more thought beyond “I found my shoes this morning…what’s his problem?”. I also like to post my observations of the especially irritating behavior of other people that I meet throughout my day. To some these posts sound like I am judgmental and even anti-social at times, but they are merely my observations and my interpretations as to why people act the way they do. The post does not reflect how I relate to these people. In most cases I don’t relate to them at all. It is usually something like watching a guy with a pager, and a cell phone on his belt casting a high tech persona yet he is struggling through self checkout at Wal-mart. Does the guy not feel the conflict in trying to look high tech and being technically incompetent at the same time? I don’t say that to the guy and he doesn’t read my FB posts. If he were to even glance at me I’d smile and act as if I understand his struggles. That’s just the way I am.

For the most part my posts generate some brisk discussions. My real friends and I try to figure out life and why others seem to be unable to figure out life. When I say real friends I mean the majority of over 200 FB friends. These are not random goofs on FB but people that would know who I am if you asked them. Then there’s this small group of “friends” who either take my posts a little too personal or feel like my posts reveal room for improvement in my social skills. AND these are people who know me and would acknowledge I am one of the nicest people in the world. I really don’t understand it and feel like I am not going to adequately explain it here.

My most recent post was about a visit to the park with my kids. I sat in a gazebo that was about 8 x 8 with a bench on each side facing the middle. I was sitting by myself reading my bible when 3 men came talking and walking into the gazebo and each one took a seat so that there we were all facing the middle. I looked up at them as they continued to talk expecting a “hey!” or something but they kept talking. I sat there for 20 minutes without them acknowledging me sitting there. Their conversation was about an online computer game that involves gangs, murder, and running some type of crime ring. It sounded much like Mafia Wars from Facebook. If they said the name of the game I didn’t recognize it. I thought it was funny they thought I was invisible and posted something along those lines. One of my cuckoo friends stated that God loves them just like anyone else and that I should have struck up a conversation with them. That is one of the most common suggestions….”you should have talked to them”. Do I always have to strike up conversations with all the oddballs I meet? First of all, I was itching for them to just nod their head at me and I would have been quizzing them like crazy about their “gang”. It was even funnier because they were a bunch of middle-aged white guys. Gang wannabes if you will. They were excluding me from their conversation and I didn’t want to be rude and just interrupt them.

Another post was about my visit to Taco Bell. A guy was in front of me ordering when his wife walked up and bumped into me. No big deal as I’m sure it wasn’t on purpose. I ordered, went to fix my drink and the husband walked by and bumped into me. It wasn’t even busy in this place. How and why did that happen? It was bizarre. Another friend’s recommendation…”you should have prayed for them”. I don’t understand why people can’t suppose that I would talk to them if the situation provided a chance to do that! How weird would it be to stop someone after they run into you and say “can I pray for you?”. That’s just not a normal conversation. I’m not saying God couldn’t bless that effort to pray but it would take the person a good amount of time to get over how weird that was.

Then one day I was chastised for something I should have done and I couldn’t take it anymore. I usually shy away from bragging but I tossed my humility aside and immediately described how I sat next to a guy at Walgreens and even though I was very sick, I struck up a conversation with this guy who was upset because the pharmacy screwed up his prescription and insurance. I mean I felt so bad I could have laid down on the floor and taken a nap. I sucked it up and was able to distract him and ended up calming him down. After posting my little victory I was then chastised for not making more of these type posts.

LOOK, it is my FB page and my life and I post WHATEVER I want to post. I am a Christian but it doesn’t mean my life is all cookies and cream therefore I’m not going to paint it that way. I love other people but I am always pondering why people act the way they do. More importantly I learn from these people and their behavior. Maybe there are people I bump into everyday and I pay no attention. How many times do I talk on my cell phone while checking out somewhere and completely ignore the person behind the counter making them the equivalent of a wall. I am a work in progress; I am who God has made me and I’m not going to hide that. Is it a virtue to talk about all my victories throughout the day and completely leave out the failures and the things that challenge me? Working through those things is what causes me to change.

I now realize that I am bothered by this small group of friends because I am a people pleaser. I want to help them understand but it is impossible without recanting every detail of the situation so that they can understand that their suggestion would not have been appropriate. I don’t have the time or energy therefore I just have to let it go. The bottom line is they don’t understand me and I certainly don’t understand them so it is impossible for me to bring them to a point where I feel they are satisfied. They cannot be pleased! So I find that I can’t deactivate my Facebook account because I’m learning to NOT be a people pleaser. I need to learn that it’s ok to be argumentative and even frustrated with “friends” but still remain friendly. I owe them no other explanation.

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