I have a lot of trouble telling people no.
When co-workers, aquaintances, friends, family, family friends ask me to do something or go somewhere, my first reaction is to say yes. If I have the time, if I am not already booked, I will say yes. I don’t see any truly valid reasion to say no. It’s not that I am insanely popular, it doesn’t take hoards of people to fill up my spare moments when I’m working full time. When it’s not people asking me to see a movie, go to dinner, check out museums, get a drink, it’s the little things on my to do list that have piled up to a stack higher than my head, higher than my arms can reach.
I find my time filled up almost every day with people, errands, things to do, places to go, yes yes yes, even when I don’t want to, even when I am gritting my teeth, exhausted, wishing I could catch up on my personal to do list (things that aren’t grocery shopping and putting gas in my car), wishing I could take time out to go for a walk by myself, to write, to read, to watch two weeks of missed Greys Anatomy episodes, to be quiet, to be alone.
But I feel guilty. People are demanding my time, people want to include me, there are fun times to be had, adventures to seek out. But I’m tired and I need to be left alone sometimes, I need to just listen to music or lie in bed and finish a book. It’s stressful saying no. I feel like I don’t have a good enough excuse unless I already have plans. No one wants to hear “No, I can’t, I just don’t want to.” So I wrestle with it, I try to convince myself it will be fun, once I get there it will be great, I say “Sure! but first I need to finish xyz” and then xyz ends up taking longer than I expected and soon the time is gone and I’m supposed to leave NOW to see this person, do this thing, not let anyone down, and then my day is over and I feel like I’ve lost time.
And besides, sitting and doing nothing is a waste of life, right? I’m wasting daylight when I watch a movie on a sunny day, I am wasting daylight if I sleep in past 830 on a weekend. I’m wasting my mind with television and stupid movies with large explosions, but sometimes I just want to sit there. And it’s always a battle inside myself. How do I say no to people? How do I say no to you? And what if I say no and then I miss out on something really fun? or a connection I could have made with someone new? a deeper connection with someone old?
What if I say no and then you don’t ask again. I’m even nervous about posting this blog. What if you take offence? I’m talking not the particular you, but the capital You, the large group You.
But all i really want is to sit here and be quiet and see no one and write.