Dear Highlander

Dear Highlander,

So I’ve gone and done it again. In the span of one week: I have to plan three events, attend another three to organize, tutor two friends, help another one with homework, [help] another fix his car, and on top of all this, I have three midterms to study for. How did this happen, you may ask? I have an insatiable need to please people. I just can’t say no! I keep trying to help others out with their stuff and I end up neglecting my own work. Please, help me learn how to reject people! I don’t want to go through another week like this last one.

Sincerely,

Too-Much-People-Pleasing

Dear Too-Much-People-Pleasing,

There’s nothing wrong with trying to help people out, but you gotta make time for number 1! (Psst, that’s you!!) Your needs do come first! And if that’s a hard concept to grasp, just think about this: you can’t really help others as best as you can if you are exhausted. Think, will a doctor perform surgery more effectively if they’re burnt out or alert? But I understand that it can be difficult to reject people. So, here are some tips to help you get along.

Make a schedule of your week and outline all of the time that you are free, totally unoccupied. If someone asks you for help, ask them if they can meet you during one of those periods. If they can’t, then you say no.

Keep a string tied around your finger. Hopefully, if someone asks you to do something for them, you’ll see the string first and remember to think about whether or not you can actually fit another appointment before you blurt out a yes.

Be honest with the people around you. If you have a lot on your plate, communicate that to them. Tell them you might be able to give them less time than anticipated, or you might have to meet them another time. If they are not compassionate enough to understand this, then they probably don’t deserve your time.

See if you can hook up your friends with other friends. If you are too busy to help your friend, see if you can find someone else to help them out. This may alleviate your guilt so you can say no more easily.

This one may sound terrible, but if you expect that someone is going to ask you for a favor and you’re packed, maybe try to avoid them for a bit? At least until you get better practice saying no.

I know it’s hard to start saying no when you’ve been so used to not saying no, but you got this! Remember, your needs come first! Good luck!

Sincerely,

A Fellow Highlander

 

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