These days all it takes is a few taps on your smartphone to connect with friends, make a dinner reservation, take a workout class or even book a doctor’s appointment. The result: It’s easy to be overscheduled and overcommitted 24/7.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone, said Locke Hughes, of greatest.com, the fitness, health and happiness media startup. Here, experts help with how to say “no” in situations where it is warranted.
DONATING YOUR TIME
A HOLIDAY PARTY
If you don’t want to go due to an already hectic schedule, keep it short and sweet: Acknowledge the invitation graciously, and say you won’t be able to attend. Skip the “I have to work late that night” white lie, Gabor says. “You don’t have to give a reason you can’t go.”
STAYING LATE AT WORK (AGAIN)
Next time it’s 4:52 p.m. and your boss asks for a lengthy report by EOD, but you really need to leave the office, explain the situation sincerely: “I have a personal commitment tonight I can’t miss. I’m happy to come in early tomorrow or make some time now, but I have to be at X place by 6:30 p.m.” Just remember, there’s a fine line between setting boundaries and being insubordinate, Gottsman says.
MEETING UP WITH AN ACQUAINTANCE
On the other hand, he says, sometimes it can be beneficial, personally or professionally, to catch up with an old college buddy or former co-worker. “Give it a shot if you don’t have a real reason not to,” he suggests. “You could turn out to have a lot more in common than you originally thought!”
A DESTINATION WEDDING
If you’re uncomfortable discussing your financial situation, don’t feel pressured: Your finances are a private matter.
The same goes if you’re asked to be a bridesmaid, but it’s not something you can take on at the moment. “Let your friend know that you love her, you’ll support her marriage, and you’re happy to help in other ways, but you can’t make the financial or time commitments that are involved in being a bridesmaid,” Gottsman says. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your financial situation, don’t feel pressured: Your finances are a private matter, Gabor says, and you don’t have to tell everyone everything about your life.
If they push you — “I really counted on you to be there” — don’t be afraid to be firm. Say, “I really count on you to understand. I know you wouldn’t want me to be in a position where I need to choose between the wedding and paying my rent,” Gottsman says.