Learning to say no is one of the most important (and least practiced) skills you can have.
Other people will never respect your boundaries enough to simply leave you alone. They will insist on inviting you to things, asking you for help, asking you to volunteer, etc. I suppose that’s a good thing, because you don’t want not to have options.
However, I know many people who haven’t learned to say no. These people end up overwhelmed and worn out, unable to find alone time (which we all need). They wonder why they never feel like they get a break. And the answer is… the reason they feel that way is that they DON’T ever get a break.
I’m good at saying no. Some would say I’m TOO good at it.
Still, I find it difficult to say no to certain things. I have a hard time saying no to churches that need volunteers. I don’t necessarily seek out work, but sometimes they seek me out. Saying no is especially difficult if they need help with something I happen to be good at. For example, I’m currently running sound at the church on a regular rotation. I’m good at running sound, but I don’t like doing it. The church needs help with it, so I do it in spite of my dislike.
However, I almost never say yes to things I don’t enjoy doing. I don’t like outdoor activities… I pretty much always say no. I HATE smoky bars. I always say no.
I don’t feel bad saying no. Many people would. The silly thing is, the person inviting you to do something probably cares very little either way…
I guess that’s the thing to remember if you’re one of those people. Nobody cares if you’re there anyway. Don’t go unless you want to. 🙂