I've been doing a lot of customer service lately, and I realized how far I've been letting a certain attitude carry over into my personal life. Customer service is all about making other people happy, but it's not for their benefit. It's usually for your company's benefit. Some truly genuine and compassionate people actually care about making customers happy simply because they are human beings. Some days (good days) I am like that, but other times my customer service style can be described as people-appeaser.
A people-appeaser is different from a people-pleaser. Both are subtle and insidious sins, but a people-pleaser is one whose worth and identity are wrapped up in pleasing. To make others happy gives the people-pleaser value. For the people-appeaser, on the other hand, making people happy is about minimizing unnecessary unpleasantness. In other words, I make you happy not because I care about you but because I don't care enough to not give you your way.
You know how valuable a gift that is, not getting your own way? Being challenged, being forced to interact with other personalities and opinions and thoughts that contradict your own is a necessary and humbling part of life. And by appeasing, I am essentially denying that experience to another and to my self. If I superficially agree with you, I don't have to really engage with you, and you don't have to really engage with me.
It's a careless way to live.
The people-pleaser's worth is wrapped up in making others happy, while the people-appeaser's worth is in never being truly known.
Of course, customer service is not the place to be unafraid to express your opinions, or to stop supressing your full self. It is the place to be quiet and pleasant because the effectiveness of your work is on the line.
But once you step into the real world the stakes get a lot higher, and there's no friendly "have a nice day" to hide behind.