The season of social demands is upon us – or it’s about to be anyway!
Invitations start coming at you from everywhere, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be signing up for burnout before you know it.
A huge part of my work is teaching women how to say no without feeling guilty or uncomfortable. I know that much of the time, we simply don’t have the words. We literally don’t know what to say to let someone down gently. So we say “yes” to avoid conflict or feeling weird, and resent it later, finding ourselves getting annoyed at other stuff.
That might look like less patience for your kids or your partner or outbursts that feel out of proportion with the situation at hand.
I want better for you. I want you to feel like you’re in charge of your time & energy. Because you are. I want you to feel empowered to bow out of things you don’t want to do so that you can feel good about your schedule and your life. When we talk about balance, this is often the missing link. Saying “no” with confidence changes everything.
When we’re young, we’re taught to say “no” forcefully to strangers, or when someone is being blatantly inappropriate. I don’t know about you, but in my life, there was a serious lack of guidance around what to say to people you love or like, or how to communicate your boundaries in a more low-key way when it’s not a big threat. So I’ve spent a lot of time about how to communicate my “no” in a more relaxed or casual way for those situations that don’t require strong wording, but where I still want to honour my boundaries and be clear. I like to think of it as normalizing “no.”
Check out Lighten Your Load, my free guide to deal with what’s draining you in 5 simple steps so you can reclaim your time & energy.
I sat down to think about the kinds of things people might like to turn down at this time of year, and I came up with a few ways to address each one. Have a read, and let me know what you think. Can you see yourself trying one of these? Do they spark any ideas of your own?
“Thank you so much for the invitation! I won’t be able to make it this time. Thanks for thinking of me! Have a great time!”
“I’d love to celebrate with you, but I’m less into crowds and more into one-on-one hangouts these days. Can the two of us meet for a drink instead?”
“I’m honoured to be invited! Thank you! Unfortunately, I’m maxed out on social commitments that week. Let’s make a point of getting together in the new year once things settle down a bit.”
Food & Drink
“I couldn’t eat another bite. Thank you, though. It was delicious.”
“No, thank you.”
“It looks amazing. Thank you. You go ahead, I’m good.”
“I can appreciate how urgent this is. I currently have X, Y and Z on my plate as well. Which one should I de-prioritize to get this done in time?”
“I really think that Jim can step up to this task. He’s been looking for growth opportunities, and this would be a great chance for him to shine. I’ll be happy to look it over when he’s done”
“While I understand that this is important, I’m not in a position to stay late tonight. You know you can often count on me in these situations. This time, I’m unable to drop my other commitments on such short notice.”
“That is so thoughtful of you – thank you for thinking of me. I’m not comfortable accepting this gift, but again, thank you for the thought!”
“That’s very generous of you. It wouldn’t feel right for me to accept this gift. Thank you.”
“Let’s do cards/hugs & high fives/ donate to charity this year instead of buying each other stuff.”
“I’m more of a handshake kind of woman.” (extending your hand)
“I’m not a hugger.” (stepping back)
“This is a no hugging zone.”
These are just a few ideas, and of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. I’d love to hear from you.
What’s a situation you can anticipate coming up this season where you could use some practice and brainstorming around how to say no? Share your ideas below & let’s keep ‘em coming! You might even write just what someone else needs to hear.
I specialize in helping women create & honour healthy boundaries. If you’d like some focussed help in this area this holiday season, you’ll want to check out Sweet Relief, my brief coaching package to help you deal with what’s stressing you out right now and land on a strategy to address it that supports your wellbeing. With me in your corner, your holidays can go so much more smoothly.