Many people (mostly women) do not believe the word ‘No’ is a complete sentence.
We are groomed to please, not hurt others’ feelings, rock the boat or be our true selves. Nurturers by nature, right?
This can mean committing to doing things we have absolutely no interest in, just to get along or maintain the narrative that we are good caring people. However, going against our inner feelings can result in being unreliable. Saying ‘yes,’ when we really mean ‘I’ll pass,’ can make you the perpetual no show who always has some lame excuse to cancel plans at the last minute. All of the above is counterproductive.
In the workplace, not maintaining honesty about the ability to meet deadlines because you have loaded up your calendar, leads to distrust among coworkers and superiors. Volunteering for committees in order to look like the model employee, may backfire. On the flip side, not saying ‘No’ can cause you to overbook and spread yourself thin.
To avoid being the perpetual flake in any given situation, it’s important that we keep priorities in check. It is perfectly OK to ask if a meeting may be attended via webinar or call-in. This will free up some time to complete other tasks.
I used to support everybody’s everything, never wanting to disappoint anyone, worried about whether or not your name will make the next guest list. For me, this is what it meant to be a good friend.
But after attending one too many baby showers and toddler’s birthday parties when I don’t have any children, I said no more!
Why should I spend my quality free time at the local family entertainment center, wishing I had a glass of wine and earplugs to drown out those sugar hyped screams? Especially when the same people whose children I was playing the part of Super Auntie for, didn’t support me when I had a special occasion like a housewarming or advanced degree graduation.
Being a people pleaser is just downright stressful.
I suspect that the root of the impulse to keep everyone happy runs deep. While I don’t claim to have the antidote for people pleasing, it is definitely helpful to be realistic about what you already have going on and which things you would actually want to do. Challenge yourself to stop agreeing to everything! It’s your life. Make it as fulfilling as possible.