Just ask Tammy. She’ll do it! Her boundaries don’t exist, or if they do, they’re trampled over. Whether it’s the PTO bake sale, making copies for her colleague, running her sister’s errands, or watching the neighbor’s kids—every Tuesday and Wednesday evening, Tammy is happy to help. Or so she says.
Truth be told, Tammy’s exhausted and just wants to crawl into a cave and die. Okay, a bit dramatic. But she really would like to go away for a while. A week or two. Well, is a month too much to ask?
Most of my coaching clients have a difficult time saying no, or drawing sharp boundaries in general. Mostly my women clients. Perhaps it’s that maternal instinct that says we must take care of everyone. Maybe it’s women’s natural orientation toward preserving relationships that causes them to say, “Yes, I will join your organization!” or “No problem. I’ll do that fiftieth favor you’ve asked!”
Man or woman, it’s time for you to rise up and shout a resounding “NO!” It’s much easier when you remember that saying “no” means you’re really saying “yes” to something else: your interests, your time, your family, your sanity.
So the next time someone asks for a favor or (for heaven’s sake!) tries to guilt you into doing or joining something, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this something I really want to do?
- Is there someone else who could do this?
- Whose responsibility is this, anyway?
- What better way could I utilize my time?
- What am I losing by saying “yes?”
Could you lose a friend? Probably not. But you could lose yourself.
So, readers, why do you think we have such difficulty saying “no?” And what’s a polite way to decline? Please share your thoughts in the box below.