Your friend wants to watch a movie with you. They give you 3 options:
“Do you want to watch Deadpool, Kung Fu Panda or something else?”
You genuinely don’t mind either way. You never mind. You always prefer to let the other person choose, to make sure they’re happy.
You feel awkward subjecting other people to your preferences so you’ve learned to stop having strong preferences… because you’re an easy-going, good friend, right?
Actually, no. Always trying to make other people happy is kind of selfish.
And it’s probably hurting your relationships.
The Perfect Friend (Not really…)
Have you ever had a friend who constantly does more for you than you do for them?
They cook you dinner, then they cook you breakfast, then they make you gifts (like… with their hands).
You love it at first and you want to reciprocate. You want to build a strong, balanced friendship so you try to give back. But they out-do your efforts three-fold and tip the balance too far for you to restore.
They know you like the stuff they do for you, so they assume it makes you happy. But it doesn’t, does it?
You can’t completely enjoy the friendship because you feel guilty that you can’t match their generosity. They don’t even let you wash the dishes.
Your neuroses kick in and you start to doubt yourself. You think that they think you’re a selfish friend, because they always do what YOU want to do.
They assure you that your friendship is enough for them, and they don’t want you to pay them back. But it doesn’t feel right to you.
It’s as if they’re undervaluing themselves and compensating with gifts.
They don’t feel like they have enough to offer… so they let you choose the movie.
If you constantly undervalue yourself and compensate by suppressing your preferences, you’ll teach other people to also undervalue you.
We tend to like the people we invest effort into. We feel good when we give. We feel secure in the friendship when we know the other person is happy with us.
So do you give people enough of a chance to invest in you?
If you don’t, you’re robbing them of the chance to feel like they’re making you happy.
Just choose the damn movie!
When someone offers you a gift, like…
“Which movie do you want to watch?”
“What do you want for dinner?”
“What do you want to do this weekend?”
Express your preference. Be selfish in that way. Let them feel like they’re making you happy, instead of the other way around.
Don’t let them feel selfish.
If you genuinely don’t have a preference, try making a choice anyway. Give them the chance to feel like they’re investing in you. Like you’re worth investing in.
You think you don’t have enough to offer, so you reject their gifts, right? Well this is also true: You think you don’t have enough to offer because you reject their gifts.
So F#ck Deadpool and Kung Fu Panda. Let’s watch Pitch Perfect!
(That was a joke. Although Pitch Perfect is actually a pretty decent flick.)