Leah Townsend, a successful playwright, is a people pleaser – or, as the title puts it, a doormat. Leah hates conflict and will avoid it at all costs; she absolutely cannot stand up for herself. Her two year relationship with Edward, a physicist at Boston University, seems to be going nowhere, but Leah cannot bring herself to break up with him. She tells herself that it's because she still has feelings for Edward; in reality, it is more of the same old doormat thing: she does not want to make waves, does not want to upset her boyfriend.
It takes Leah a while to realize that she's got a problem, and trying to please everyone will not always work. However, eventually she admits to herself that her life has become somewhat dull, and she is not satisfied with it. She attempts to make a few minor changes. Almost immediately, it results into what she dreads the most: a conflict with Edward. Not only that, Edward decides that Leah cannot handle an argument well and signs her up for a conflict resolution class.
Leah hates the idea, but, once again, she cannot be firm and refuse. In the class, she finds herself among exactly the kind of people she would normally avoid: they are here because they love confrontation, perhaps even too much. One of them is Cinco Dublin, a conservative radio talk show host. Opposites often attract, as we know; Leah cannot help being drawn to the lively, energetic, fearless Cinco. Some of his strength of character even rubs off on her, it appears: Leah finally finds the guts to break up with Edward. But Edward's unexpected reaction turns things around. Instead of accusing Leah, he admits she is right, life had gone out of their relationship; he promises to change, to be more romantic and loving with her. And, he proposes. The pleaser in Leah is far from dead; she cannot disappoint Edward after all this. She accepts. Wedding preparations begin, and the farther they go, the better Leah understands that she loves Cinco, not Edward. Will she finally break the vicious cycle and marry the right man?
This report prepared by Laura Southcombe