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S. Jakes


Impressing Others

Posted On:12-Jul-2020/5:38 pm

I think I have a weird obsession -- I am obsessed with impressing people. I can’t help it, when it comes to other people, especially those that I admire or respect, I can't help but feel that I need to impress them, so they like me too. The obsession exhausted me, especially when it felt like my efforts were futile -- which they were most of the time.

I often find myself admiring those in my workplace who are professionally above me, especially if I like them personally. When I worked in an office, I had a female supervisor Tessa. Tessa was only a year older than me, but I found her incredibly intimidating. For one thing, she was very tall, over a foot in height above me. She was also very opinionated and had a take-no-guff kind of personality. She barked orders and knew what she expected from others. She was very personable though -- easy to talk to and a funny woman. I was so impressed and intimated by her. I was so intimated, in fact, that I was obsessed with impressing her. I wanted her to like me and think I was a good employee. While it’s fine to want to impress others, when this want turns into an obsession, you can come off to others as desperate -- as I’m sure I did. Because I was so determined to impress her, I became jittery and nervous and ended up making an idiot out of myself whenever I was around her. It was almost spooky how I always happened to make my biggest or dumbest mistakes when Tessa was around to see them. When talking to Tessa, I would always try to match her personality. I would try to make jokes I thought she would like, or I would try to sound cooler than I was. This attempt fell flat every time. Instead of coming off as cool and funny, my jokes didn't hit right, and my conversations weren’t interesting. I didn't understand it, with everyone else, I acted normally. I did my work and didn't make mistakes, I made jokes with my coworkers and they laughed, and I was personable. I realized that I was just so obsessed with impressing Tessa that I was becoming weird and desperate. Since that job, I have noticed that I do it with other people I see in authority positions. I acted this way with teachers/professors at school and college; I did it with more bosses and managers throughout other jobs I’ve had, even my teaching jobs.

The last time it became evident that I have this impressing people obsession; was after being hired for my last substitute teaching contract (September 2019). At most junior high and high schools, the head of the department recommends substitute teachers and the principle or vice-principle makes the final hiring decisions. At my last teaching job, the department head (my boss really) was another very professional and very stern woman. At the beginning of the school semester (a one term contract) when we met, it was as if, I immediately fell in line with my obsession, and basically groveled at her feet. The reason why I call it a weird obsession is because I can tell the other teachers could see my behavior, but it was if I couldn’t control it. In department meetings, there I was trying to act cool again, telling stupid jokes that no one laughed at, trying to look super intelligent, making comments about school policy that I knew nothing about, and worst of all trying to mimic facial expressions and hand gestures my boss made. About mid-December, one of my fellow teachers said she wanted to meet for coffee -- this turned out to be quite the meeting. She went on to tell me about everything that had been inside my head about my obsession for years. She also went on to tell me that I was a bit of a laughingstock to many of the teachers, even ones who were not teaching in my department -- how embarrassing, but I listened intently. I thanked her and have taken everything she said to heart ever since that meeting.

Noticing this behavior helped me curb it. I realized that when we become desperate for others to like us, it's very easy to pick up on. Desperation is obvious to others and creates an atmosphere of pity. I vowed to change my behavior from that day on. When connecting with others that I find impressive or intimidating, I simply act like myself. I don't try to impress or show off. Being myself reveals my own personality and has resulted in stronger connections.


1 : Being obsessed with other people liking you is not a good look.

2 : Other people can see your desperation.

3 : Just be YOURSELF. Others will respect you for being YOU.

Category:  Other People / Subcategory:  Desperate For Them To Like You

Tags: obsession, admire, respect, authority, weird, control, intimidating, personality, boss, manager, pity, people, liking, teaching

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S. Jakes


Thanks everybody. I appreciate your comments :o)

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Amara Kone


I also would not call your behaviors an obsession. I went through a similar phase. Over time, I discovered that for me, it was about being so driven to succeed that I wanted my boss to know. I also though my keenness would separate me from my coworkers. I discovered that there are other ways to be recognized than doting on the boss.

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Lisa Steffler


S. Jakes, this is very common. Don’t think about this as an obsession. I also think the duppydom takeaway #3 is the best advice: Just be yourself and others will respect you for being you. As a manager, I see this sometimes, especially with new employees who want to start off with a good footing with me. I think it should be the manager’s job to talk to the employee about this behavior, instead of leaving it up to a coworker. Very nice duppydom.

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D. C. Lawrence


S. Jakes, I agree that when you become more aware of your own behaviors or others point them out to you, that can be the motivation for change. The advice of simply being yourself and not trying to show off in front of your boss, make good sense. If you like, here is also an introspective element to making change, that you can write down over the next 3-6 months: think about people in general, not just your bosses--would you say that you “want” people to like you, or do you “need” people to like you?? And what’s your reaction when you feel that someone does not like you? Good read, S. Jakes.

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Nadine Wu


S. Jakes, I am not sure I would call what you have an obsession. I am not sure I know anyone who does not behave that way, especially around their boss. I thought an obsession meant you are thinking about it all the time, even when you are at home. I am sure when you are at home watching TV you are not thinking about impressing your boss--just a guess.