be all things to all men

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be all things to all men

To be liked or appreciated by everyone (usually after overt efforts to please them). The phrase likely originated in the Bible. I know you want your students to like you, but you have to discipline them when they misbehave. You can't be all things to all men. I don't trust that candidate—he is trying to be all things to all men and still hasn't committed to a clear course of action.
See also: all, men, thing

be all things to all men

to try to please everyone, even when it is impossible to do this You can't possibly keep everyone happy and you've just got to realize that you can't be all things to all men.
See also: all, men, thing