Matthew Kelly: recent publications

People-Pleasers Are Liars: 3 Things We Gain When We’re Honest Instead

“You’re a liar. People-pleasers are liars,” a friend said to me. I felt like I was punched in the gut. “You say yes when you mean no. You say it’s okay when it’s not okay.” My friend challenged me, “In your gentle way, begin to be more honest.”

I believed the lie that pleasing people would make my relationships better. It didn’t.

I decided to take my friend’s challenge to tell the truth. People didn’t have a relationship with me; they had a relationship with another version of someone else. They didn’t know me.

was safe; it was how I hid and protected myself so I could belong. Besides wanting to belong, pleasing-people is a bargain for love. If I kept people happy, I believed I would be loved. If I took care of others, I believed I would be loved.

Showing up differently in relationships is like learning a new dance. You may feel clumsy and awkward at first, but the old dance, while comfortable, is unhealthy. The old dance creates overwhelm, frustration, and resentment.

I am now a recovering people-pleaser. My journey started when I faced the truth that I was a liar. The first step in change begins with self-awareness. Once you are aware, you can learn new dance steps. The new dance looked like saying no, tolerating less, and telling my truth.

As I told the truth, here’s what I noticed in my relationships:

First, I experienced true intimacy.

As I was more engaged in being honest, others began to know me, not a fake version of me.

In his book,, Matthew Kelly describes intimacy as “In-to-me-see.” pI started saying things I’d never felt comfortable saying before—like “I see things differently” and “that doesn’t work for me.” Secret-keeping was killing my soul, so I also started opening up about the pain and brokenness I

liking relationship intimacy

Matthew Kelly