• Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Emily In Paris has a people-pleasing problem. We asked the experts how to solve it

Dec 28, 2022

It’s the escapist Netflix sensation that’s got us hooked. But amongst the Insta-perfect fashion and sensational love triangles, Emily In Paris is rife with people-pleasing.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for season three of Emily In Paris.

Lily Collins and co are back for a bright, drama-filled, entirely ridiculous third season of Emily In Paris.

First capturing our hearts and minds during one of the many 2020 lockdowns, the Netflix hit served up a healthy dose of escapism, along with Instagram-worthy outfits and beautiful Parisian locations.

But another thing that we are keenly reminded of every season – this one in particular – is the destructive impact of our protagonist Emily’s people-pleasing habit. As a character, Emily’s need to make everyone in her life happy – and every post on her unbelievably popular Instagram account perfect – is saccharine levels of sweet.

It’s also her biggest downfall, her most frustrating failing, her most toxic characteristic. We watch her run around Paris having the time of her life, but undeniably making the same mistake over and over again. And we’ve all made it, too.

You may also like

Super-helper syndrome: why helping others before yourself is harming your mental health

People-pleasing is a familiar term for many of us, particularly women. While some people view it as a positive trait, it’s not always a good thing.

Research shows that women are more likely to identify as people-pleasers than men, feeling an innate pressure to make others happy and put others’ needs first, even at their own expense.

“Navigating the pressure to people-please can be an overwhelming task for young women,” says psychotherapist and executive coach Desiree Silverstone. “We face a constant barrage of messages that encourage us to put aside our own wants and needs in order to focus on making others happy.

“This need to please may seem harmless, but it can have devastating effects on our emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.”

Below, we take a closer look at the people-pleasing mistakes Emily makes in her work life, friendships and romantic relationships – and asked the experts how we should navigate these pressures in our own lives.

People-pleasing at work

Season three of Emily In Paris begins with Emily playing double agent when it comes to her career. She has committed to helping Sylvie and co set up a new marketing firm, but hasn’t officially left her role at Savoir because she doesn’t want to disappoint her pregnant boss Madeline (Kate Walsh).

This leads to Emily spreading herself too thin, trying to work with two companies at once, and eventually getting found out by both parties and fired by both. Less than ideal. Her desperate attempt to not let either of her employers down resulted in her own burnout, while her lack of honesty temporarily alienated people who wanted to work with her.

It’s frustrating, entertaining and all too familiar to watch. According to psychologist Dr Audrey Tang, tackling people-pleasing at work starts with the messages we convey to others. “​​We teach people how to treat us,” she says. “If we are always saying ‘That’s OK, I can do it’, we might be putting out the signal of ‘give me more, I can easily cope’.”

So what can we do to try not to make Emily’s mistakes at work? Dr Tang recommends maintaining your boundaries above all else. “I would always suggest making your boundaries clear, for example: ‘I can do this extra work on this occasion, but I have x to do as well’ or ‘I can cover for you today, but I have a lot on myself’.” 

People-pleasing with friends

At pains to keep her pals happy, Emily ends up running herself in circles that often seem nonsensical and altogether unnecessary. But we feel her pain.

When Mindy (Ashley Park) starts dating the potentially problematic Nicolas de Leon (Paul Foreman), cracks start to show in her friendship with Emily. Nicolas is undoubtedly a controlling boyfriend, and Emily also ends up at odds with him during one of many work dramas.

When Nicolas tells Emily to leave an event out of pure spite, she chooses not to tell Mindy about his behaviour, driving a bigger wedge between them due to lack of communication. Her desire to not upset her friend by revealing Nicolas’s less-than-pleasant side ends up (shockingly) causing more friend-related drama, as Mindy feels hurt by Emily’s departure.

When it comes to resisting the temptation to engage in people-pleasing behaviours with our friends, Silverstone says the key is to prioritise being authentic.

“Not being authentic prevents us from truly connecting with others,” she says. “We can experience anxiety, frustration, anger and a sense of being used when we do things that we don’t want to do. This is not conducive to fostering healthy relationships.”

Silverstone also encourages being open with your friends about the pressure you’re feeling to people-please. “You may find it useful to speak with a good friend about your feeling that you’re obligated to please others and ask for their help to stop.”

People-pleasing in romantic relationships

The storyline that has spanned all three seasons of Emily In Paris is the matter of where her heart lies, with fans questioning whether she’ll end up with chef Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) or British banker-turned-CFO Alfie (Lucien Laviscount).

When it comes to romance, many of Emily’s decisions seem to be led by her desire to protect other people’s feelings. In season two, she agrees with Camille (Camille Razat) that neither of them will date Gabriel. Camille immediately breaks this deal to get what she wants, but Emily doesn’t – arguably not because she doesn’t want to, but because she doesn’t want anyone to get hurt because of her feelings. 

Ultimately, this decision causes more destruction, however noble it might have been. Without revealing too many spoilers, Emily swallowing her feelings to protect others isn’t a plan that can stand the test of time.

You may also like

Emily In Paris: why diversity is still a major issue in season 2 of the hit show

Silverstone observes that people-pleasing when it comes to love “creates an imbalance of power”.

“It is impossible to have a real connection when relationships are founded on dishonesty,” she says. “Relationships where people sacrifice their own desires in the name of making someone else content rarely succeed in the long run. If we don’t honour our own needs and preferences, other issues and resentments arise which can leave both parties feeling disconnected.”

So, whoever Emily chooses, this decision needs to be made honestly and in service of herself – not others. 

4 ways to stop people-pleasing

Whether we’re encountering people-pleasing issues at work, in our friendships or around our romantic relationships, this habit can negatively affect people we care about – as well as ourselves. 

“It’s important that we recognise that this inability or reluctance to say ‘no’ is not only unhealthy for us but also detrimental for those around us,” says Silverstone. 

“When we are constantly trying to please everyone, we are unable to think critically about what we want and need in any given situation and how our decisions will impact those around us.” 

Here are four top ways to curb your people-pleasing, according to executive coach Desiree Silverstone and psychologist Dr Audrey Tang:

  • Set boundaries
  • Prioritise saying no as part of your own self care
  • Practice compassion towards yourself as well as others
  • Try to be as honest as you can, even if it may not please somebody else

Images: Netflix

Source: Read Full Article