Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re having an amazing and productive week so far.
I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind a lot recently, and that I know many of you probably go back and forth with: saying no. It’s not easy. Saying yes — to commitments, jobs, projects, or even people, always seems to be more fun. Oftentimes, yes is easier. But it can also be extremely overwhelming and weigh you down considerably.
I’ve mentioned a few times that this is my first summer without interning. I’ve loved all of the free time this has presented, especially being able to make time for and hang out with my friends. During the semester, I’m always running –to class, meetings, work (and occasionally, rarely, home to sleep). So now that I actually have time to be around my friends more often, I’ve been soaking it up and loving it.
But at the start of the summer, it was kind of problematic for me. Because I had the time open, I felt like I was almost required to fill that time with friends. Hanging out every day after work, waltzing into my apartment at 1am only to realize I didn’t have a post written for the morning and I had work in seven hours.
It was fun, but it did not work for my type A hyper-organized lifestyle. At all.
I had to learn to say NO to doing something I really enjoyed so that other things in my life, like my blog and sleep habits, wouldn’t suffer.
And I think that’s when saying no is the hardest: when you have to give up something that you really enjoy for the good of other things in your life.
No one wants to be the disappointing friend, the inconsistent blogger or the downer who has to say no. We want to be there for the people and things we love. We don’t want to miss out, or come off as rude and standoffish.
It was uncomfortable, at least for me, to stand up for myself and tell someone, especially a friend, “no.” But after, knowing that I didn’t place another burden on my shoulders, I feel light and free and ready to take on the responsibilities I said “yes” to with enthusiasm.
[Tweet “Sometimes, you have to say “no” to make room for all of the yeses in your life.”]
If you’re struggling with saying no, here are some ways to break it down without coming off harsh:
+ Share your other commitments.
No one wants to add onto your daily checklists. Don’t be afraid to open up about your busy schedule and prior commitments. Rather than just saying no, be honest and transparent. “I’d love to, but I need to schedule a few posts and get some sleep tonight.”
+ Reschedule on the spot.
Maybe you aren’t free to grab dinner and drinks with friends tonight, but what about tomorrow night? Don’t get wrapped up in overwhelm and make it seem like you can never commit to what’s being asked. Set up a new date or time then, so that your friend knows that you do want to spend time with them, just not this time.
+ If you’re uncomfortable, speak up.
I have friends who love doing things that just aren’t my cup of tea. Which is fine! But because we are friends, of course they want to ask me to join in. Rather than give coy excuses or constantly saying “no,” I’m honest and just tell them I’m not into that. Speaking your mind means even less saying no.
+ Leave the guilt at the door.
Chances are, you’ll have to say no more than once in a lifetime. And at some point, you’ll be on the receiving end of a no. Life will go on, things will get done, and you’ll still find time to waltz into your apartment at 1am after having a night of laughs with your friends.
Do you struggle with saying no?