Is People-Pleasing Contagious?

Eric Stone
3 min readAug 9, 2020


How frequently have you found yourself uttering the phrase “I’m sorry” throughout the day? In the realm of social and professional interactions, the compulsion to over-apologize can become an inadvertent habit.

The urge to please your audience, constant apologies, and patronizing behavior can easily become traps that ensnare us during group discussions, public speaking engagements, or professional communications.

Furthermore, the mistaken belief that soft-spokenness is the key to winning hearts can lead us down a treacherous path. It’s essential to pause and reflect on just how often we employ these phrases in our daily lives; the revelation can be truly astonishing.

At first glance, these behaviors might seem like harmless expressions or strategies for managing relationships, but, in reality, they can become formidable adversaries that hinder our personal and professional growth. It is imperative to recognize and actively avoid falling into these patterns.

People at large like audiences at a concert prefer to be dazzled and inspired rather than be catered to or worse be patronized. In my book, people pleasing is a kind of disease because underneath it masks a “compensation mechanism” for our nervousness or for not really feeling confident or grounded.

In matters of social and professional interactions, over-pleasing can feel like an addiction, it send a direct subconscious message that you are walking around with a metaphorical copy of “Co-Dependent No More” under your arm as you speak. Forget the hoped-for Holy Bible effect! It’s the wrong book you are carrying!

Catering is a “people-pleaser attitude”. It can be very subtle as we all grow up wanting to please. It’s a deeply ingrained cultural and social habit.

These attitudes transfer over when we speak or express ourselves publicly or professionally. They are loud “unconscious” intentions and carry a clear message.

Too much politeness is too often a sure sign that someone is lacking confidence. It can also be read as a manipulative strategy. The subtext becomes “what does he/she want that he/she has to be extra polite?

Apologising too much is another example. Catering, apology and too much politeness are counter-productive as they rob anyone of direct contact and forward action. It is nearly impossible to be free inside of that.

Catering, patronising, apologising and exaggerated politeness as modes or styles, come from poor self-confidence and lack of clear purpose. Trying to “make friends” with strangers without a clear invitation or a clear sign can be devastating as well; the effect is as disappointing as a magician showing you how the trick is done. It robs us of the “magic” of the trick. We love to be fooled and conquered as an audience member. It is an important part of the game and a subconscious expectation.

“Cater, patronise or apologise too much or inauthentically to any audience and they will turn their backs on you!”

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Eric Stone

All great outcomes in life come from a paradigm shift in perspective. Maximize your personal development with emotional awareness, confidence & great skills.