Trying to impress others is in our nature. It is pretty hard not to want this. However, we can do our best and try to minimize how much we want to impress others and even stop trying in certain situations.
I don’t think many people can stop trying to impress others 100%, like not wanting to impress anybody in your life.
So trying to reach this goal might be futile, but you can work to reach a point where trying to impress others doesn’t affect your happiness and lifestyle significantly.
Why do people want to impress others?
Usually, people try to impress others because this is a way to make them feel good and validated by the people around them. However, they have low self-esteem because they need someone else appreciation for their actions and results.
The problem is that we associate impressing someone with being a better person or having more success which is not necessarily true. There are people that are impressed by all kinds of different things that are not related to a better life or success at all.
Here is an alternative for trying to impress other people that will make you have better relationships and friendships with people around you.
What you can do rather than try to impress others is to make them feel good and have a good time when you are together. This doesn’t apply to people you don’t interact with, which you should not try to impress, to begin with.
I don’t want to impress others, but I think about their preferences when we hang out. Because them having a good time means bigger chances of me having a good time as well since everybody is happier, it is a win-win situation.
I wouldn’t sacrifice what I like for what other people like, but we can often find a middle ground or do both.
This is when we talk about things we do in order to impress other people, when it comes to what we buy or do on our own(like career success) things are a bit different.
The easiest way to don’t buy things that you would buy only to impress other people is to write down on paper the first reasons why you would buy that thing.
If you have an old car and you are always in service with it, and you spend a lot of time and money, then buying a new car might be a good idea. However, if the first thing on your mind when you want to buy a new car is how people around you will be impressed and congratulate you for that, making you look cool and important, you better think twice about buying it.
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How to stop trying to impress others?
1. Do what comes naturally to you
If a thing comes naturally to you and you end up impressing others, then it’s great because you are not faking it, and if it doesn’t impress others, at least you did what you wanted, and there is nothing wrong with that.
This is the first step to stop trying to impress others, always ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this or buy that thing?”. If the first reason that comes to your mind implies receiving praise for it, you should rethink your actions.
2. Long-term view
If you try to impress others by being someone else or buying something you don’t really need, you will not be able to sustain that for too long, and inevitably, you will come back to what comes to you naturally. The problem in this situation is that you’ve already created false expectations about yourself so “natural” you will be underwhelming, disappointing, or at least different.
So, trying to impress others will backfire eventually, and you will end up not impressing them either way.
3. People are selfish
This might sound weird, but people being selfish should be a reason for you not to try to impress them. Why?
You do your best to buy a car, some branded clothes, or things like that that you think would impress the people around you, only to find out that their first instinct is to envy you or to say that they would have done things differently or other things like that.
I’m not saying that all people are selfish, there are people that can be genuinely happy for you. However, when all you want is to impress them, happiness would not be the first reaction you provoke.
When someone feels that you are genuinely happy for yourself because you achieved a goal, be it buying a car, clothes, a vacation, and so on, they would feel your happiness, and it might be reciprocated. But reactions are dramatically different when you want to impress them.
Read Also: Why Do People Want To Look Rich?
4. Write down what is important for you
– Understand that it is different for everybody. Think about your life and what makes you happy and go from there. For my wife and me, a walk in the park brings more happiness than shopping, even if it is not impressive or expensive, it is what works for me. We have friends who don’t understand why we don’t like shopping for clothes and feel like we lose time walking every day.
Also, we don’t like vacations that are longer than 3-4 days. We had a few seven days or more vacations, which was too much. Some people would say the more, the better, and a 2-week or even one-month vacation would impress them, which for us would be a nightmare no matter the place. The fun part is that our work allows us to take as much vacation as we want, but we don’t need it.
5. Understanding that is a vicious circle
The good news is that you might impress people around you with your achievements, even if they are something you bought or you have done, the bad news is that it will not last long.
As I said before, when I said people are selfish, it wasn’t to criticize somebody, it is what it is. We think more about our life than someone else’s life, so the people we impress will soon get distracted and not be impressed by what we have done anymore, which means we have to come up with something else to impress them again. That is why your motivation should not be to impress others, it is impossible to impress people around you all the time.
6. Do not compare yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others is the worst thing you can do, everybody has different goals and needs.
The best thing you can do is to compare with yourself, make a plan, write down your achievements and see if you are better from one year to another. Don’t compare yourself with other people around you because this will lead to you wanting things you don’t necessarily need, only to show them that you are better.
7. You don’t know what impresses other
Last but not least, this one is difficult for me to explain. I will give you examples, so stick with me even if it’s a long one.
We tend to believe that we are very good at reading people, but most often, we are not. I thought I was good at that(like everybody else) until I paid more attention and realized how wrong I was with many people.
You can’t understand someone until you get to know them very well, even if we might believe otherwise. I fooled myself into believing that, but not anymore.
Why is this important when you try to impress others? Well, you think you know what would impress them, but most of the time, it is not exactly that.
Here are two things that make knowing what impresses other people very hard:
-Overly politeness. I know many people who seem to be impressed by anything and have exaggerated reactions like “wow, I really love this” or “I would love to have that” when in reality, they are barely interested in that thing.
-They are not impressed by what they have or want. To explain this better, I will give you my example.
I’m a blogger with a decent income, a lot of free time, and the freedom to choose what I want to do, I enjoy eating at good restaurants with my wife and have a pretty active lifestyle (gym at home and everyday walks).
Most people think that I would be impressed by someone who can make his own schedule and works whenever they want, or a very active sports person or a lot of money earned since I often talk about money.
However, I talk about money because I like the psychology behind them and what they might say about a person, I don’t spend as much, not because I want to save all of them, but I don’t like to spend unnecessarily. I don’t buy branded clothes, I don’t have a car since I work from home and I can get a taxi when I need one. So I’m not impressed by how much money a person makes but rather about how they use them to maximize their happiness.
I don’t like spending time with athletes, I don’t know why and that is weird, especially because I finished Sports High School and Physical Education and Sports College, but I never had good friends that I liked spending time with that were athletes even when I was in college or high school. Probably I wanted to separate the sport I have done from my personal life or things along this line, the idea is that I am not impressed by athletes as much as it might look like from exterior.
About having time and freedom to choose what I want to do, even if I have that, I like to be disciplined and make a schedule, and I know how I feel when I don’t wake up at 6:30 am when I have my alarm, and it is not as good as people would think. So I’m impressed by people with regular good jobs that have a routine and respect it more than people that can do whatever they want, and they work here and there(freelance type work), I hate not having a plan and a clear schedule for the day.
I enjoyed having a schedule even when I worked in a regular 9-17 job, so it is not based on the fact that I can choose now.
I told you all of this just to show you how hard it is to know what you need to do to impress other people, even if you know their lifestyle and what they want in life. They might be impressed by something else or by many other things, so it is not worth trying to change what you would normally do in order to impress them.
Read Also: 5 Reasons Parents Care About Kids’ Grades (One reason is to impress other parents or friends)
I hope this article showed you how to stop trying to impress others and, most importantly, why you should stop. Trying to impress others because it makes you feel good is a treadmill you will never get out of if you don’t take the time to make an effort to stop this behavior.