My family would be the first to tell you that I have no problem saying no to things or giving my opinion, usually when not even asked. When it comes to the real world I am far less direct and often find myself getting into situations simply because I was too afraid to say no. I’m not talking about death defying circumstances, but I think a lot os us, even as adults feel peer pressure to agree to things simply because we are afraid of making the other person upset or thinking that we have to do what is asked of us.
Ever since Daniel and I started dating a few years ago, he made me realize I agree to do things only to end up spending time bitching about it for hours when I was the sole reason I got into the situation. I would do this with girlfriends and agree to go to events I really didn’t want to be at, or with work commitments when I knew it probably wasn’t the right job for me to take on at the time. For me part of having anxiety is over thinking how other people will react to situations before it even happens. I told myself I couldn’t say no to things for fear of making a friend mad or burning a bridge.
What I have learned is the exact opposite tends to happen. Women by nature are a bit sensitive and I think people can be taken off guard when you say no to something they fully intended you would say yes to, but most people get over it and eventually they stop asking you to go to things or do things they know aren’t for you. I found a confidence in being choosier about how I was spending my time and didn’t want to complain about situations when I had the full control to not be apart of them. I also decided I didn’t want to make up excuses either. We all do this and pull out the “I’m not feeling well”, or “I have something else to do”, but I think being upfront and honest is the best way to go about it. It sounds weird to just say “no” (that just sounded like a drug advertisement), but in the long run it has a lot more strength than being wishy washy and flaky. Of course we can’t say no to everything we don’t want to go to, but there is a lot of power in being more particular about how you spend your free time and accepting that you are never going to please everybody!