on saying no.

are you good at saying no?

over the past few years i have become much better at it.

as an enfp and an enneagram 2, i am a serial people-pleaser. i’m the friend who does airport runs and brings food when you’re sick and looks after your pets and house when you are away. i love it for the most part, but it is also draining. and the older i get and the less time i have for myself, the more draining it becomes.

a few years ago i began making a conscious effort to say no more. to stop going to events or out to dinner out of a sense of obligation. to prioritize myself when i was beginning to feel rundown.

it is a constant work in progress and some weeks i am more successful than others, but i have learned a lot about myself in the process. yes, i am still an extrovert, but i value quality interactions over quantity and need recovery time [also my job often uses most of my extroversion]. i am still here for your airport runs and will drop leftovers at your house when i make enough food for 12 people and am on call if you need something. but i am also going to say no sometimes – maybe even a lot of times – and that’s okay. it doesn’t always mean something is wrong and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have done something to upset me. more often than not, it means i’m feeling overwhelmed and need some time to myself.

and if i do say no, it’s often not an off-the-cuff decision. my friend ali put it so well in her response to one of our friday check in questions earlier this summer, and i am going to attempt to paraphrase here — if i say no, i’ve put a lot of thought into that response and have decided that it’s the best decision for myself in that moment. no amount of cajoling or convincing will get me to change my mind, but if you respect my boundaries and give me my space i will remember and appreciate you for it.

and i really do. my friends have been great at recognizing when i need a breather, and i am always much more present when i am able to say yes to something i really want to do and able to say no to all the rest.

it’s an art i am continuing to practice, and i get a little bit better each day.


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