I have a hard time saying no, especially when it comes to my family and friends. Even when I don’t feel like it I find myself running errands, hosting events and volunteering for various projects. I sometimes even find myself lending money that I really don’t have to spare because I feel bad saying no when I know someone is in need. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy helping other people and I like that people know that they can depend on me, but lately I find myself feeling tired and burnt out. And at the end of the day, I’m so busy doing things for others that I don’t have any time for myself. It’s hard for me to say no because I hate disappointing others and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But something has to give I can’t be everywhere at once or continue to please and help everyone. How do I say no without hurting anyone’s feelings or making them feel like I don’t care about them anymore?
Dear Yes Girl:
There is certainly nothing wrong with helping out family and friends or volunteering your time to help others. But there is a problem when you’re giving creates an imbalance in your life. Even when you’re doing good and helping others, if you are out of balance, it can be to your detriment. Helping others and being there for others should not leave you feeling tired, drained and unable to focus on what’s important to you. Nor should you lend money that you don’t have or give others your time when should be focused on or doing something else.
“No,” is not a bad word. And saying no does not have to come off negative and end with the other person feeling rejected, disappointed, upset or mad. If you cannot do something, say so. Be honest and upfront. If necessary, let your family and friends know the reason why. Saying no with an explanation tells the other person exactly why you cannot do what they are asking.
Just like on the airplane when they instruct you to secure your own mask before helping others with theirs, you have to take care of yourself before you can help or take care of anyone else. You have to take time for yourself to rest, relax and rejuvenate. You also have to make time to focus on the things that are important to you. When you are feeling great and accomplishing your goals you can be a greater help and resource to those around you. But there needs to be balance. Say yes when you can and no when you can’t. Hopefully, your family and friends will understand.
Tamara Hartley is the author of Stop Wasting Your Time Blaming Others for Your Life, and REAL Advice from REAL Experience. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Email questions to advice@YourAdviceGuru.com or on Twitter @YourHowToCoach using the hashtag #AskTamara.
Tamara is also a personal success and “How-To” coach and helps individuals figure out “the how” to make their dreams their reality. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourHowToCoach.com.