Saying no is something I have always had trouble doing. I don’t want to be mean, hurt anyone’s feelings, or in some cases, seem ungrateful. Recently, it has gotten me into some trouble, and more than one person in my life has told me what I’ve known for years: I’ve got to learn how to stand up for myself.
This goes for my professional life, as well as my personal dealings, like friendships and relationships.
Today, I want to focus on how my inability to say no has affected my personal relationships in terms of family, friends and past lovers.
Recently, I heard from a family member I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I thought it was odd that she was calling, and I was out with a friend, so I ignored the call and just messaged her asking what’s up. She needed a ride and I reluctantly said yes against the warnings of my friend, sister and mother. I instantly regretted it because I was exhausted.
Alas, I decided to help this person in a way that would be best for us both: I called an Uber. She said she’d pay me back the next week, but she ended up not doing it when she said she would. Eventually, she stopped responding to me. My older sister is very protective of me and messaged her asking that she let me know when she can pay me back. She blocked both me and my sister on Facebook, and also told another family member that she would’ve given me the money had I come to get her that night versus sending a ride.
I’m a nice person, but that cut me deep, so I sent her a nice, passive-aggressive message letting her know that she’s not to speak to me or anyone in my immediate family again because she clearly doesn’t have her head on straight.
I’m not as upset about it anymore because I see now that she has some issues that are affecting her own relationships, and I’m just one of many casualties in her very long string of burned bridges. It is what it is.
While I am glad I didn’t go pick her up that night, I wish I would’ve put my foot down altogether and not even called her a ride. She clearly didn’t deserve it. She got what she needed from me and went about her business. From that situation, I learned to listen to those gut feelings. I hadn’t spoken to her in ages, and she has tons of family members that live close to her.
I should’ve asked myself “Why me?” Had I asked myself that, the answer would’ve been “Because she has no one else to turn to and you’re easy prey.”
I don’t want to be anyone’s prey anymore, and I’m learning to protect myself by saying no to situations that make me uncomfortable, or that I know I can’t afford to be involved in.
I started this blog as I emerged from a breakup that ultimately dug me into a deep, sinking hole of depression. Recently, I got into contact with this person again. First I reached out because I was overcome with emotion and just wanted to make sure he was alright. His job was stressful and I think it’s just natural for me to worry about him.
A few weeks later, he texted me, and I responded.
I’m not sure why. I suspect it’s because I still care about him. I think I will for a very long time. However, I also have a hard time ignoring people, especially those I care about.
We talked for a bit and it was nice to catch up, but it soon became clear that he was trying to weasel his way back in, or at least talk to me on a regular basis again. I heard from him for two or three days straight, talking all day about absolutely nothing.
It was nice, but not good for my mental health.
Suspicious, I asked why he was available to call me all of a sudden, to which he responded “Work is different.” A few days of communication went on before I finally admitted to myself that his job isn’t the only thing that has changed.
I am a different person now.
A few months ago, I would’ve done anything to have him call me, text me good morning, or tell me he had a dream about me. I was desperate for any sign of interest coming from his direction.
This time around, it didn’t feel right. It scared me to think about getting close to him again because I don’t think he has my best interest at heart. I grew to care for him so deeply because he made me feel safe emotionally, but that feeling is long gone. Conversations with him are laced with anxiety, fear, and a thick, impenetrable brick wall.
The last day that he texted me in the morning, I said no.
Okay, I didn’t literally say the word “no.” My actions said it for me.
Instead of making an announcement that we couldn’t speak, or asking him to stop reaching out, I ignored him altogether. Yes, I cried about it because I felt bad, but it’s the best thing for me, and I’m proud of myself.
I said no to keeping ties with him. I said no to the past, and I said no to a situation that is not good for me emotionally. I think I actually said this much more eloquently in a past post about cyberstalking exes.
Say no to those memories, the past, and that person.
Say yes to moving on, to the future, and to yourself.
Going forward, I don’t want to be a jerk to everyone who asks me to do something. That’s not what this is about, but I do want to respect myself, my own needs, and my own desires more, even if that means letting someone else down.