I am a people pleaser; I like to make people happy and I don’t like to let anyone down. The word “no” rarely exists in my vocabulary, because I know it makes others unhappy. Whilst this trait of mine is endearing, it’s also incredibly harmful at times.
I remember being 13 and agreeing to see a movie that I didn’t want to see with 4 of my friends. I was dragging my feet getting ready in the morning, dreading going out and wasting 2 hours of my life. When I was telling my parents about it that morning, they looked at me, puzzled. It didn’t make sense to them: Why was I going? I clearly didn’t want to. I didn’t know how to reply. In all honesty, I didn’t know why I was going, I guess I just felt that I was expected of me.
“You can just say no?”
When they first said it, it didn’t quite register to me. I didn’t understand why something so simple felt so complicated. My parents sat with me while I crafted the perfect excuse text, and it was then that I first realised that you don’t have to do everything that you don’t want to. However, that lesson still took years to properly be absorbed.
I’ve spend a lot of time going out and attending things that I honestly didn’t want to be at because I thought people wouldn’t like me if I didn’t. I spent some of secondary school stuck in a group of friends that were incredibly judgemental and made me feel uncomfortable. Yet, I still attended group outings and stuck through it all. I liked to be liked, and it used to terrify me when I thought that people thought ill of me. It was incredibly unhealthy, but it was the way that I lived.
The Moment it Snapped
I’d say that the first year of University is when I reached my peak. I lived with people that embodied the drink/drug/party culture, and whilst I love a good messy night out, I’ve never been one to want one 24/7. There’s nothing wrong with either way of living. Everyone should do things there way. However, every time I chose pyjamas and Netflix over vodka and hangovers, I could feel the judgement. I was deemed “boring”, and “too sensible” and it ate up at me for a very long time. I leapt from excuse to excuse, finding “acceptable” reasons to avoid going out. It wasn’t until I’d made some other amazingly solid friends that I realised that I didn’t need excuses, I am just allowed to say no.
All About the People
The right kind of people will never take your “no” to heart. If I were to tell any of my current friends that I’m not coming out to something because I don’t want to they’d completely understand. I’d also understand if they did the same, because we know that it’s not a personal attack. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your limits, likes and dislikes and owning them. We’re all completely different, we don’t all want to do the same thing, and that’s okay.
Not everything in life needs an excuse, sometimes you are allowed to just not want to. It’s one of the most important lessons that I’ve learnt in the last year or so, and honestly I’m so much better off for sticking to it.
Let me know what you think below, and feel free to share your own anecdotes!
Lots of love,