Learn to Say No

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You will find ‘Learn to say No’ in ‘22 things I wish I knew by 22’ AND in my ‘2016 New Year’s Resolutions’, so I clearly feel strongly about it! Saying ‘no’ is something I have to work on continually, but I have been making great strides. (The key is practice.) When someone asks me to do something, whether it is a favor or just hanging out, my first instinct as a people pleaser is to say ‘Yes’. Of course I love spending time with my friends, but when I say ‘yes’ to too many things, I start to feel suffocated, like I can’t come up for air. The chores start building up, I get behind on the blog, I feel like I haven’t spent any time with Mike, (who I live with!) and I suddenly become overwhelmed. In the past, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone or miss out, but as I get older I realize that I need to prioritize, and I need to include my needs on that list.

It took me a long time to realize that you can say ‘no’ without having to give an excuse. I always felt like “I need some alone time” or “That’s not really my scene” weren’t legitimate reasons.  I’ve now learned that this isn’t true. If you don’t want to do something, then you don’t have to! Saying ‘no’ seems simple, but if I need alone time I have to schedule it and treat it like it’s a date with anyone else. I wouldn’t cancel a date on a close friend if I didn’t have to, so why am I so quick to dismiss my plans to appease others?

The fear of missing out can create anxiety and cause us to do things we don’t actually want to do. What if everyone has a great time and you aren’t included? Just remember, there will always be another social gathering, another opportunity, another event. If you go somewhere because you feel obligated, you aren’t going to have as much fun. Go to things that you really WANT to go to.  Don’t let the fear of missing out squelch what you want to do.

Oftentimes I’ll be out somewhere and I will catch myself thinking, “I’d rather be home watching Gilmore Girls”  ( I have a sweatshirt that says just that) But, it’s true, and I’m working on finding my balance so that I don’t find myself having those thoughts. If there is a friend in need I will obviously make an exception, but if I really need time to myself for my own sanity, that is going to take precedence over a hang-out. Anytime I say ‘yes’ to being social when I wanted to decline, I’m not only letting myself down, but I’m selling my friends short as well.

As adults we have a responsibility to put on our own air mask before assisting others.

ADVICEKasey Taube