Ben Higgins waves to fans after filming The Bachelor Winter Games. | ABC/Paul Hebert

Ben Higgins Reveals His Dating Advice to People-Pleasers

By Ben Higgins

Most of my emails from blog readers fall into two categories. One half hopes to get involved with Generous International, and the other half seeks relationship advice. I welcome both. However, giving relationship advice feels a bit ironic considering, well, that I’m no expert.

I recently received an email asking me to discuss the biggest issues in failed relationships. Although I have limited experience, I’ve attempted to respond.

Work to figure out what broke

We can all blame others for relationship failures. Push the blame on someone else, and we’ll hold no responsibility — it’s an easy escape. But I’d like to think none of us want misguided behaviors to mark our lives.

Taking ownership of your choices — good and bad — is an admirable quality that leads to clarity.

The opposite is destructive. Until you accept responsibility for your actions, you’ll struggle to develop self-respect as well as the respect of others. And keep in mind: You’re not the first person who fell short in a relationship. You can make mistakes; we are allowed to mess up. But don’t waste time refusing to acknowledge your relational shortcomings.

Side note: I write about failed relationships outside of abuse. If physical or emotional abuse occurs in your relationship, you’re dealing with a different situation — one requiring help from loved ones and maybe even a professional.

Get healthy

Many people enter relationships to fill a void. But I believe the healthiest relationships are mutually beneficial, with each participant working to remain whole on his or her own.

During the honeymoon stage, a commitment feels easier. However, everyone needs to make deliberate choices and create healthy boundaries in order to maintain a healthy, long-term relationship. If either partner refuses to sacrifice and support each other, then the relationship could feel empty.

Cracks in a relationship may not be noticeable on the outside. Many people hide their cracks until they burst, and the whole relationship runs a muck. Personally, I seek to be in a healthy space in life before entering someone else’s, because filling a personal void with another person’s heart won’t lead to a healthy life in the end.

“Be you” to set yourself free

If we really want to be loved, then we have to let someone in. The best book I’ve read on this topic is Scary Close by Donald Miller. He begins with one of the most direct and true statements:

“We will never feel loved until we drop the act, until we’re willing to show our true selves to the people around us.”

This statement continues to hold me accountable. I’m a people-pleaser — and not always in a healthy, selfless way. My pleasing side pushes me to act a certain way for acceptance and admiration.

As I do this, I build relationships with people who never really know the true me, which forms a layer of disconnect. If we want to eliminate one of the largest relational issues, we must stop acting and start being our true selves.

What mask do you wear in front of those you love?


If you struggle with vulnerability, we suggest reading:

  • Scary Close by Donald Miller
  • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
  • Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Image courtesy of ABC/Paul Hebert

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  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I’m so glad you recommended Daring Greatly! It is one of my absolute favorite books!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    As another only child, this post definitely resonates with me! I wonder if being the only child creates a sense of needing to please others, since we are typically driven by pleasing our parents from the get go. At least I always have been. I will give you confidence though that the right partner will draw you out of this need, help you see your worth in a relationship and why they value you-whether or not you are pleasing them. Finally, I believe God gave my oldest son to really pull me out of the people pleasing pattern. He is strong willed and super smart, so I have to stick up for my bailies and assert myself as the parents constantly-which isn’t easy when I just want everyone to get along and life to be rainbows and butterflies. Anyway, I saw all this for you to know that God uses all the ways He creates us for good. People pleasing isn’t a bad trait! We just need to know how to stick up for ourselves and let our needs be known too.

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Sorry for all the typos! I hit post before proofreading.

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Ben, I really admire your vulnerability in writing this – it’s a very refreshing and honest post and a great read! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    The last bit resonates with me in a deeply profound and borderline epiphanic way. I am a people pleaser as well and it has damaged my relationship in the most unexpected ways. I often don’t know where to draw the line between my yearning to help others and my need to take care of myself first. This disconnects not only my romantic relationships but also my friends, family, and professional relationships as well. Thanks for being real!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    All those points are so very true! Thanks for sharing Ben !

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    🙌🏻“As I do this, I build relationships with people who never really know the true me, which forms a layer of disconnect”=clarity for me! Thank you!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for your post Ben!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I am a people pleaser too and more times than I can count pleasing others only ends up hurting me. I loved reading this post – thank you for being so open and honest. You defined something for me I never had words for.

  • Reply
    Beverly Fox
    May 5, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    So proud of you Ben. Your words always come from your heart and you have an open one. . As an only child, you have done a great job of becoming a Man, and a wise one. God Bless you. ❤️🙏🦊

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