Isn't "No" one of the first words a child learns to say? How is it then, that somewhere between 2 and 20 I've forgotten How to say no? I want my yesses and my noes to be firm and decisive, but often they all noodle around in the grey zone of maybe. Uggh! Help! The article I link to above has some really neat strategies. For one, if you know you can't make it to a party, say so as soon as you get the invitation. Also, if someone asks for your help and you decide to help, but have limited time, state exactly how much time you have to devote to their project. I think that's a fine idea. Now to try it...!
One of my biggest issues is the guilt attached to saying "No." It makes me think of the servant who was forgiven a gazillion dollars of debt, but then turns around and starts strangling an under-servant because of a quarter. I don't want to be that servant.
I want to be a kind, thoughtful person. But I've found that this involves a certain level of sanity. If I'm not sane, believe you me, you won't want my help. I've started seeing distinct differences in how people ask for help: some are about making the best use of my time, and some are about making the best use of their time. So person-needing-help-with-grad-school-applications-who-likes-to-give-me-your-issues, it's your application process. I am willing to give you some pointers, but it's your baby. Whew!!! I feel better already!
(Originally written 1/7/10)