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How to Say No

I'm a Chronic "Yes" Person, and It Needs to Stop

Emma Chow, co-host of The Edge 96.ONE's Breakfast Show Mike E & Emma, has a NY resolution to start saying "no", here she shares how and why she's doing it.

I'm a chronic "yes" girl. I say yes to things I genuinely want to go to, things I dread going to, and anything I feel obliged to attend. Why? Because I (stupidly) feel the need to be everything to everyone. This often leaves very little fuel in the tank for "me time". I was once so overwhelmed by all the grey dots in my calendar that I sat on the couch and cried (how ridiculous). And it was all my own fault! I could've said no to at least 70 percent of those grey dots. Instead, I couldn't see a weekend to myself for the next two and half months.

The worst part about overcommitting is that you start to not only resent yourself, but the person you've made the plan with. You hate yourself for saying yes in the first place, and then you hate them for making your phone "ding!" with a reminder that you have two hours to get your shit together to meet them. Again, not their fault! This is all on you.

So in light of me sometimes hating myself for overloading my schedule to the point of tears, I've made a promise that 2018 is the year of saying "no". To all my fellow "yes" persons, here's what we need to do to change the pattern.

Stop with the pressure. No one is forcing you to do anything - the decision is always yours. All you have to do is RSVP yes or no. Try "no" for a change, it's very empowering!

Make appointments with yourself. Put it in your calendar if you have to! You can use that time to run errands, relax on the beach or binge watch your latest Netflix obsession. The idea is to rest and recharge.

Don't break above-mentioned appointments with yourself. A friend of mine said she makes "concrete boundaries" for her alone time. Nothing can get through concrete. Not the friend who guilt trips you because you haven't hung out in two weeks. Not the impromptu Sunday session. Your plans with yourself are set.

When cancelling, honesty is the best policy. I remember spending half an hour constructing a text to get out of a lunch date — it was so stressful! The truth of the matter was that I was exhausted and needed an afternoon to myself. Low and behold, when I was upfront and honest, she replied, "Totally fine babe! Another time xx". I revert back to my first point: Stop with the pressure!

Don't make plans with people you don't really need to see. Always make a solid effort with your Tier One people: family and a handful of close friends. Anyone else can wait another week (or month).

It's kinda like learning a new skill — challenging at first, but practice makes perfect! I must admit I've had a few failed attempts so far, but I have also managed to politely decline a couple of invitations as well. You can do it!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
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