Sarah was on top of the world! She had recently graduated from college and landed a great job with an exciting company.
Even though her new job was in a city far away from her family and friends, she thought, “No problem. I’ll make new friends at work!” She was really looking forward to her first day on the job. It all started very well.
Everyone at the office was friendly. During the first week or two, almost everyone came by her desk to introduce themselves. Sarah was very happy to meet them and eager to please. Nearly every day, at least one of the nice people Sarah had met would call or e-mail her, asking if she would help them out with a little project – reorganizing files, stuffing envelopes, or other small things.
Hoping to make friends, Sarah always said, “Yes.” The projects started building up. Sarah took longer and longer to complete them until she just had too many to keep track of. Every day a couple of people would call her to check on their delayed projects. They always spoke angrily and were very upset with Sarah for being late.
She wasn’t making any friends at all! In fact, now no one seemed to like her! Sarah wondered how this could have happened – she had tried so hard to make everyone happy.
MORAL: Take on only what you know you can do. Say “no” when you should.
Oh, the people pleasers! We all know leaders and followers alike who try so hard to make everyone happy that they can’t satisfy anyone!
Are you one of those people who say “yes” to everyone? Do you feel that saying “yes” will bring you friends? If these thoughts ring true, reflect on this story carefully. It may help you pinpoint the basis of some frustrations in your life.
No one can do everything. Trying to be everything to everyone is a sure way to please no one and disappoint everyone, including yourself.
By saying “yes” to everyone, Sarah was was unable to focus on her own job, and she created an expectation of failure and unreliability among her coworkers. Not the way to make a great first impression!
There are respectful and thoughtful ways to say “no.” Learning those techniques and when to use them are important life skills.
Each of us has limits on our time and abilities. Knowing those limits is not a sign of weakness; instead, it signals great self-awareness and understanding.
If you really want to make friends and become a valuable member of a community, Sarah’s situation can remind you about what’s important in building relationships.
You may have to say “no” from time to time so when you say “yes,” you really mean it.
Being reliable and trustworthy will earn you the respect and admiration of those around you. Plus, you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and worth.
Isn’t that what we all want from our relationships – trust, meeting expectations, a sense of accomplishment, and mutual respect? Knowing what you can and can’t do, and making those expectations clear, are important steps toward establishing healthy and comfortable relationships.
1. Am I constantly overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do?
2. Do I find myself agreeing to do “just one more project” when inside I’m really saying, “No! I can’t!”
3. Have I ever been told that I need to learn to say “no”?
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I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach, and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose