Post # 1
Here’s my vent: I work at a TV station. It’s a pretty small one, and mostly college graduates get jobs there to gain experience in order to move on to bigger and better. I started working there in high school and have almost been there 8 years now.
About a year and a half ago, I met a girl there, and we’ve become good friends. She’s a really sweet person and definitely a people pleaser. She never wants to upset anyone and worries about everything.
Well, since I’ve met her, I’ve become her personal “cheerleader.” She is SO talented at her job, it’s unbelievable. I’ve never worked with someone fresh out of college like her. She’s one of a kind. However, she always thinks everything she does is terrible. It’s never good enough.
From what she’s told me, I’ve gathered that her parents aren’t very supportive/positive, so I think that’s why she has low self-esteem.
Today, she got put on a different news story and told me that our boss must have wanted someone that would do a better job than her to cover the story. Ok, that’s not true at all. It’s just how it worked out today. But I can only say that so many times, aka be her cheerleader…it’s really starting to get old.
She’s so good at her job, and I tell her all the time, but she is SO hard on herself. It’s starting to wear me out.
Does anyone else work with people like this? I tell her often that she’s great at her job and so talented, but she always cuts herself down. How would you handle something like this?
Thanks for letting me vent a little!
Post # 3
I would indicate – gently! – that she might want to look into therapy to deal with her criminally low self-esteem before she sabotages her own career.
If nothing else I would let her know that consistently underrating her work or refusing to take credit for it will do serious damage to her ability to progress in her field.
Post # 4
I’ve had friends like this and I’ve had to go the tough love route with them. I basically said, “Look, everyone’s their own worst critic, but you’re taking it way too far. It actually hurts me as your friend to hear you constantly bashing yourself when you know that you’re a great person who does amazing work. To me, you being self-deprecating is just the same as someone else emotionally attacking you; I wouldn’t stand for it if it were someone else, and I won’t stand for it with you either. So stop it. Seriously. You’re killing me.” It never did the trick overnight, but it definitely got them thinking, and a well-placed, “Shut up, you know damn well you’re awesome,” whenever they slipped back into self bashing mode again tended to keep them in check.
Post # 5
@linguo42: I might have to try something like that. She also apologizes for EVERYTHING. Like, if I say, “I stubbed my toe yesterday, and it’s purple.” She says, “I’m sorry.” I’ve tried to start saying things like, “Well, it’s not your fault, so you don’t need to apologize,” but it hasn’t really helped. She still apologizes.
@teaadntoast: Your right about her damaging her career. She’s probably already doing that.
I have to limit how much I hang out with her sometimes because it just gets so hard to hear about how she is terrible at her job. Sometimes I just wish I could have one of those ‘no lying’ days and just tell her what I really think…but then I’d probably have no friends. lol!
Post # 6
@heather5743: Yeah, I’ve had friends that were chronic apologizers too and had to use the same approach with them. Whenever they said “I’m sorry” for something that had nothing to do with them, I would look them in the eye and point blank ask them, “Why? It wasn’t your fault. What do you have to be sorry for? Stop apologizing for things that you have no control over!” You really just have to beat it into some people.
And I know what you mean about sometimes just having to leave. It’s great that you want to help her but if it starts affecting your own peace of mind, get out of there. Heck, sometimes it’s a good reality check for someone when you say, “I can’t listen to you doing this to yourself,” and walk away.
Post # 7
Ok, as someone who has had criminally low self esteem (and defeated it, Yay!) I do have a few suggestions.
1. laughter’s the best medicine. When someone smiles they instantly feel better about themselves, when they laugh it’s even more so. It sounds like to me she’s uncomfortable being herself and that’s why she constantly apologizes, but if you can help her to just ‘have a good time’ and she forgets about herself for a minute, then when said project gets brought up in a good light she’s more likely to accept that she did a good job.
2. You can tell someone a thousand times that they do a great job but if they don’t know how to take a compliment they’ll get even shyer. This is something that a person kind of has to deal with on their own. I know that when I would get complimented I’d instantly try to find a fault with myself to counteract the compliment. To me it was against ‘my’ rules to feel good. With laughter you don’t have a choice, and you automatically look at things in a positive light.
3. She sounds like she doesn’t ever look at her work as ‘completed’ therefore it’s never perfect. Being an artist I know that the toughest part of art is saying ‘I’m done!’ and to stop fiddling with it. What might help this is little projects that have a ‘I’m done’ to them. Such as making a bracelet or something (just for an idea) Completion means satisfaction a lot of the time. And that satisfaction is addictive. Once she starts liking that, then she’ll start striving for it more.
Another thing that can help that is to let her know it’s ok to ‘fudge’ If she is a perfectionist then she won’t allow herself to have any ‘ok’ areas in her work. This is not good. She needs to see the beauty of imperfection and be ok with it.
I’m quite a bit of a people pleaser. And it took quite a while before I got frustrated with other people never being happy with me. Once she works through the first steps of ‘It’s ok! I can feel great and not worry what other people think’ She’ll go into ‘Um, you’re not letting me be happy. Bye!’
There’s a lot of different things that can help, but it starts with a (real) smile, and a desire to smile again.
P.S. for the I’m sorry thing. Sometimes a person doesn’t know what to say besides ‘I’m sorry’ cause saying ‘That sucks’ seems harsh to me. I’m still learning what can take the place of I’m sorry, lol. I’ve apologized to furniture lol.