Maybe and No: Avoiding social pressures


I am a loyal, caring person and want to help out whenever I can. But this has hurt me in the past because I wasn’t willing to put my own needs and wants ahead of others’.  I also got roped into doing things that I didn’t enjoy a lot more often. Social pressures ended up taking away time that would have been better-spent achieving my own hopes and dreams, like consistently working out.


People who rely on others’ help to extremes are often charismatic, but many are also often the people that will not be willing or able to help you out when you need it later on. They also are likely to abuse your helpfulness by throwing it back in your face, insisting that you help them more once you’ve lent a helping hand. Don’t let someone manipulate you into doing things that you will not be proud of down the line – you can’t always be doing things for others!

Declining to do things politely will free up your schedule to make room for things that are priorities in your own life, as opposed to others’ concerns. Indeed, you could be hurting others by trying to help them. For example, you can give money to a beggar with a baby yet this act could support an increase in child exploitation.[1] On a smaller scale, you could be preventing someone from learning a valuable lesson by doing something for them.

Fortunately, there aren’t any requirements if somebody asks for a favor or wants to hang out. Be polite and hear out the request, but make time to think it over before making a time commitment. I am much more consistent with my eating and exercise since I learned to say maybe and let things that I care less about happen without me. Since I honestly evaluate the efforts I make for others, I feel happier with the work that I do put into relationships and helping others, and I also have made more time to achieve my own goals like being healthy and happy.

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