If in doubt, do not answer immediately. Give yourself time to think something over before saying “yes” or “no.” Remember, once you say “yes” or “no” you are pretty much stuck with your answer. It is perfectly acceptable to tell someone you will need a little time before answering. While you are pondering the idea, be realistic about what saying “yes” or “no” will mean.
Caring about other people, wanting them to be happy, and being there when they need us is a wonderful route to take through life. Sometimes, though, we can go a little too far down that path. Sometimes, we can be too driven to please other people.
Always putting yourself and your needs on the back burner and everyone else’s needs and happiness ahead of your own can be draining both physically and emotionally.The truth is ... when taken to the extreme...being a "people pleaser" can actually have detrimental effects on your health and well-being. You can’t possibly make everyone happy at all times. It is a goal you will never reach.
If you are not paying attention to your own needs and your own happiness, it can keep you from being the best person you can be for yourself or for anyone else. Think about the emergency procedures on an airplane. We are told to first put on our own oxygen mask before attempting to help someone else. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If you do not put on your mask first, you will not be able to breathe. If you are not breathing, you will not be of much use to anyone.
By taking time to care for yourself, you are actually doing more to ensure the happiness and well-being of those around you.
Love and respect yourself. Start thinking about yourself as you would a loved one or close friend. Know and respect what is important to you. Make sure you are able to meet your own needs and responsibilities before throwing yourself into making things right for someone else.
Know when to say “yes.” You know in your heart the people you absolutely should put your time and energies into supporting as well as the healthy relationships that are mutually supportive. Try to recognize the people who may be taking advantage of your giving nature. Don’t let anyone manipulate you or flatter you into doing something you do not have the time, energy, ability, or desire to do.
Stop trying to win the “most popular” award. Try to accept and make peace with the fact that it is okay if someone does not happen to think you are the “best thing since ice cream.” It is okay. Trying to be liked by everyone is exhausting… not to mention IMPOSSIBLE. There always will be people who think you are “just okay” and those who may even dislike you. Let go of the pressure to be liked and you may find life gets a whole lot easier.
Set some boundaries for yourself. Take a few minutes to think in general terms about what you are and are not willing or able to do for someone else. For example, think about your physical, health, energy, and time limitations.
Take off the “social director” hat. It can be fun to be the one who hosts most of the parties, comes up with the fun things to do, keeps conversations moving along, etc. However, it can also be challenging and tiresome. Even if you enjoy wearing the hat, take it off once in a while and let someone else pick up the slack. Enjoy being a guest, spectator, or just part of the group.
Just say “no,” without apologies or excuses. You have the right to say “no.” You do not have to say “yes” every time to every request by every person… especially when saying “yes” might have an undesirable impact on - or be unfair to - you or the other people in your life. And you do not have to make excuses or share your reasons for saying “no."