Are you the type of person who is constantly trying to help others?
Do you get asked to go somewhere at the last minute and feel bad if you don’t?
Do you go to get-togethers that you really don’t want to go to?
Do you get suckered into regularly babysitting someone else’s kids?
Are you in the habit of always going along with what everyone else wants to do?
Do you tend to give ambiguous answers because you don’t want to say ‘no?’
I can answer ‘yes’ to just about all of these questions. I’ve always tried to be a people pleaser.
I guess it has mostly been a) to be liked b) fear of missing out c) because of feeling like there’s no choice d) a sense of duty.
I’ve gone places with friends or hung out even though I didn’t want to because I’ve felt like maybe my friends wouldn’t like me if I didn’t, or maybe I wouldn’t be asked again next time. I’ve gone along with others’ plans just because who wants to be the only one who wasn’t included?What if you miss something great?
I’ve gone to events or had visitors because I didn’t feel like I had a choice and was expected to do so.
I’ve done things just because I felt like my family wanted to and I didn’t want to disappoint my family.
It can be so tiring… and it is even worse once you have kids! Everyone wants more of your time when you have kids.
Committing to too many things at once on top of everyday life sets my anxiety off like a rocket. There’s too many things to keep straight. Too many things to remember. Too many things that have to be ‘perfect.’ Too many things to keep me awake at night.
I am trying hard to practice saying ‘no.’
Lately, I have been evaluating what is important, what is worth my time, and what is worth my attention. I understand now that time is a valuable commodity that once spent, can’t be taken back. We only are allowed so many minutes on this Earth, so why spend much of it in the pursuit of things that do not make us happy or make our lives better?
I have been considering what I need and what I want, versus what I am asked, expected, or get roped into doing.
Trying to be Supermom and running myself ragged isn’t doing me any good, my mental health any good, or my family any good.
It is OK to say ‘no.’
I’m going to say it again: it is OK to say ‘no.’
- If you don’t want to get together for a holiday cookie swap- say ‘no.’
- If you don’t want to spend six hours at Great Aunt Elaine’s house- say ‘no.’
- If you don’t want to go to the mom group play date- say ‘no.’
- If you don’t want to give your weird second cousin Jimmy a hug- just say ‘no.’
- If you don’t want to drive two states away for a family Christmas gathering because everyone else is- just say ‘no.’
It is a simple concept, yet for many it feels foreign and can be difficult.
You don’t have to be rude. You don’t have to apologize. You don’t have to make up an excuse. You don’t have to feel like you are disappointing anyone. It is OK to say ‘no.’
Tips for saying ‘no’
- Know your boundaries and what you feel comfortable with
- Be kind
- Keep it simple
- Don’t give a reply right away- say that you will check what’s on the family calendar, take time to draft a nice e-mail, send a note saying thanks for the invitation but that you aren’t able to attend, etc.
- Don’t lie
- Be assertive
- Don’t back down
Saying ‘no’ is not easy, but the more you practice the easier it gets.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for politely declining something you’ve been asked to do? I would love to hear from you in the comments!