Virginia Satir suggested that 50% of people will typically use the satir categories placater attitude. They say yes regardless of what they really feel or want.
The placater takes all responsibility onto self, and takes it off other people. They respect other people’s views, and the context of a situation, but not their own point of view. This stance draws sympathy, but can appear weak spirited. They will use distortion and modal operators to shift blame to themselves. The placater typically has open body language with palms up, or out towards the audience or other person and hunched shoulders.
Their language is agreeable and pleasing. Think about begging for something, being subservient. “Please don’t hurt me.” They can feel it is selfish to ask for anything for themselves.
It is not sexy, in fact get down on one knee in a pleading attitude and try to feel sexy. It can be quite nauseating to have someone always trying to please you and being ever so grateful for any crumbs you throw their way.
Being in this attitude can sometimes trigger others blamer attitude – a desire to dominate or take control. Others can get annoyed they are being such wimps.
Placaters can sacrifice themselves for others – are willing to lose so others can win. “Whatever you want is Ok, don’t worry about me, I’m nothing”. They can consequently feel like victims. They play softball in negotiations. We think of this as a weak position, but there are times when it can be a useful strategy. For instance when playing with small children, when diplomacy is needed (what do you give a 200lb gorilla – anything he wants) or to give the appearance of weakness.
Using a placater stance, if you were late to a meeting you might slink in quietly in the most out of the way chair and if any one notices and asks say.
“I’m so sorry. I hope no one was waiting on me. I should have gotten up earlier, it’s my own fault. I should have known there would be road works. I need to keep in mind how much worse the traffic is in the morning and how my choice to commute affects everyone. It won’t happen again and I’ll buy everyone lunch to make up for it.”
Written with Craig McClure