[HAPPY NEW YEAR! I allow myself one re-post each year, around now. I offer it as a reminder to us all – myself included – of the need to become/stay comfortable with saying no when people or obligations tip the scale and become toxic. Please consider. Also, while I have you, we’ve just switched to the domain savvylife.net, and doing so meant we lost social media data on the posts. Please know how much we appreciate the tweets, “likes” and “shares”. – Thanks, Alicia.]
Could you organize the group gift?
Could you babysit this weekend?
Could you lend me some money (again)?
Meet Carla. She said yes to all these requests—this past weekend.
People who meet her see a dynamic, caring and accomplished woman.
They’re right.They’re just missing something—Carla is a people-pleaser. You won’t find it highlighted on her resume, or part of her online profile, but it’s there.
Carla struggles to say no. She is warm and caring at her core, so it’s no act—she wants to help. But then she feels resentful later, when her time is stretched.
Have you ever suffered a little bout of the “the disease to please”? Sure, there are short-term payoffs when we say yes: we feel good, we see the other person’s relief, we hear and feel their appreciation…then later, it hits: how am I going to juggle this?
What’s a Savvy Girl to do?
She starts with a little naval gazing: how many times has she found herself in this position recently (be honest, then pass the chocolate.)? What motivated her? Was it pressure or guilt (more chocolate)? Did it stem from a desire to be liked (break out the Belgian truffles)?
Practice saying no. It seems like petulant toddlers are the only ones allowed to declare “No!” with utter defiance.
Let’s reclaim it.
Say no to small things at first, then work your way up.
If you’re not up to that, buy time: say you’ll think about it, or you’ll need to check, and you’ll get back to them; then email or text, if you’re not comfortable yet saying no in person or on the phone.
Anticipate the guilt trip and the broken-record responses, so that you’re not blindsided by them.
Respect and protect your free time.
Remind yourself that you can support your friends, but you don’t need to take on their problems.
Make this year about saying no.
Then get ready to say yes to the things that you really want to do in your free time.
What sort of things do you find are sticky to say no to? What works for you?