Do You Know the Difference Between People Pleasing and Serving People?

March 19, 2015 — 1 Comment


Hey Lovers,

Do you know the difference between people pleasing and serving others? I hadn’t really thought about it until my recent training with Treasures. During our training they gave us a handout on the difference between the two and I found the information very helpful. I shared with you in my previous post that my dominate personality type is “The Helper“. This type tends to be a people pleaser because the basic need is to be loved. Although it’s only been a week since I took that test, I’ve already started to change some of my thought patterns and behaviors in order to be the healthiest version of myself. A friend of mine posted the chat below and I thought it was timely.

Do you consider yourself a people pleaser? Check out the helpful list below on the difference between people pleasing and serving others.

PEOPLE PLEASING VS SERVING By Dr. Kevin Downing & Dr. Peter N. Robbins

*Signs you are giving in to people pleasing…

*Signs you are practicing Servanthood…  

Lose relationship with God among the demands of needy people.

Maintain a close relationship with God while serving others through your calling.  

Obsess intensely over what others think of you.

Acknowledge that rejection and being misunderstood are inevitable.

See no choices.

See many choices.  

Listen more to what others say then what they do.

Judge a persons character more by their actions, than by their words.  

Are exhausted with demanding and unfulfilling relationships.

Many, if not all, feel like “missionary projects”.

Allow time for restoration and relaxation without guilt.  

Survive from one crisis to another.

Choose thriving and growth over mere survival.  

Experience a host of stress related illnesses.

Reduce your stress by having realistic expectations of God, yourself and others.

Feel obligated to give and resent it.

Choose to give and enjoy it.  

Will attempt to reconcile with another at any price.

Recognize that reconciliation takes the effort of two people not just one.

Labor more and more and are left empty and unproductive.

Do less with greater success and satisfaction.  

Are easily manipulated by flattery.

Recognize the difference between sincere feedback and attempts to manipulate.  

Feel insecure and out of place most of the time.

Experience secure feelings and a sense of belonging.  

Often see yourself as worthless and of little to no value.

Recognize that you are a precious creation of God called to be His ambassador.  

Is willingly torn to shreds by people the Bible refers to as swine, dogs and wolves.

Recognize the evil of some individuals and relate with strong boundaries or not at all.  

Can become sexually entangled in illegitimate and abusive relationships.

Are able to maintain sexual boundaries because the bases (good relationships. faith recreation clear calling) are established and practiced.  

Are so consumed with the faults of loved ones that you do not see your own contributions to relationship problems.

Are able to see the short comings of you and loved ones.yet choose to focus on how you respond to others and grow.

Become blurred and confused in your personal direction.

Experience clarity, focus in your personal mission, and dream.  

Have buried anger and resentment as primary feelings.

Are able to express anger in an appropriate and productive way.  

Violate personal beliefs and standards to “make others happy.”

Hold onto your integrity, knowing that there will be negative responses.  

Lie about feelings of being taken advantage of and other hurts.

Honest about situations that causes you to feel violated.

Are easily fooled by false promises and token efforts to change by manipulators.

Look for consistent ongoing changes by those who are promising reform.

Actually enable others to drink, abuse drugs and others in the name of ‘helping them.’

Recognize that ‘helping can be harmful’ and are able to pull away allowing others to hit bottom, if necessary (Jesus and the rich young ruler).  

Create close friendships with people whose only agenda is to ‘suck you dry.’

Actively participate in hobbies or interests that are restoring and fulfilling.  

Have few hobbies and personal interests because energies are spent people pleasing.

Realize that an inner circle of friends where there is mutual support and love is necessary (e.g. Jesus and Peter, James and John).  

Feel that life is out of your control and you cannot change it.

Feel that many goals are accomplished in life and are eager to pursue more.  

Deny that still small voice of the Holy Spirit especially if it involves risk or conflict.

Risk following the creative call of the Spirit into new and different adventures.  

Feel responsible for other people’s behavior.

Are responsible to others but not for their choices.  

May allow spouse of others to mistreat your children and family.

Will demand safety and dignity for your children and other loved ones.  

See significant others as your ‘life’, your salvation and means of fulfillment.

Enjoy the richness relating to others can bring while maintaining your own dignity and life goals.  

Have little to no time for recreation and solitude.

Wisely choose time for recreation, are comfortable with, and look forward to being alone.  

Are waiting passively for a miracle to solve your problem.

Become a miracle through action and faith to solve problems. 

I know, it’s a lot to process. But it’s a great assessment to see where you are with people pleasing. How do you handle the fine line between striving to please others and sincerely helping those in need? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


One response to Do You Know the Difference Between People Pleasing and Serving People?


    Thanks for posting! It’s such a fine line for some of us. On some of the points I can relate to both the people pleasing and the genuine serving. I’ve been on a journey though and I think, with the Lords help of course, I’m learning to “cross over” to the healthier side where there are boundaries and a sense of “self-love”. You and your relationship with God and your family first. AND very importantly, “no is a complete sentence” as the amazing Cloud and Townsend duo so elequontely put it – we need to live by this.


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