Ways To Stop Letting People Take Advantage Of You
You’re the person your boss goes to when he needs someone to put in extra hours during the week. Your sister knows she can count on you to pick up her kids or her dry cleaning, and your roommates have started expecting the apartment to be spotless because they know you will pick up after them.
When you’re very dependable, some people can become a little too dependent on you. So when everyone needs you to do everything, how do you get back some time for yourself and tell them no? Setting boundaries when it comes to your boss or even your BFF can be hard. But go into the conversation with a game plan and things don’t have to get that awkward, or worse — ugly.
If you find yourself tempted to say “Yes” on the spot when someone asks something of you, ask them if you can think about it and get back to you instead. You might make a different decision when you’re not under the pressure of the moment.
Practice Saying “No”
The first “No” is hard, but it gets much easier.
Start by saying “No” to something small, even if it’s doable but still an inconvenience. Watching them find another way to get the help they need without being upset about it will make it easier to say “No” in the future.
If you just can’t say “No,” set boundaries. Only loan a friend as much as you’re comfortable with. If you agree to overtime, say that you have to leave by a certain hour.
If you feel guilty about saying “No,” it’s perfectly natural, but probably unnecessary. Sometimes talking to a friend – who will tell you why you did the right thing – can help.
Be Okay With People Being Mad
Sometimes the only way to keep people happy is to give them all of your time (or money, or attention). Of course, that’s not possible.
Don’t Let Other People Determine Your Mood
You don’t have control over what they do or say, but you do have control over how it affects you. Put a wall between their behavior and your emotions, and you will stop feeling guilty about not putting their priorities over your own.
Give Yourself Some Space
If people won’t take “No” for an answer, it’s time to separate yourself. Give yourself some space from them until they can have a conversation about something besides what they want or need from you.
Protect Your Personal Power
Every time you say “Yes” to something you don’t want to do, you’re giving up your personal power.
Think of saying “No” as standing up for yourself and the power you need to get your house in order.
Make choices about the mood you will be in today, what you will do with your afternoon, how much time you will spend on yourself. Stick to it so that when someone comes around asking you to do something for them, you can stay on track.
Weigh the Consequences
Know that you always have a choice. There might be consequences if you don’t work late for the twelfth night in a row. However, if your sanity is more important than disappointing your boss, don’t be afraid to make the choice to say “No.”
Don’t Wait to Forgive Them
Let go of anger and hurt for your sake, not for theirs — even if they haven’t said sorry or even acknowledged that they did anything wrong. When you hold onto the negative emotions that they brought about, you give them power over you.
Watch out for Flattery
Some people dish out the compliments before they ask you to do a favor. “Nobody does __ better than you” is usually followed by “So can you do it for me?”
Don’t Let People Tell You How Much Time You Have
Say that you’re busy and don’t follow that with a bunch of excuses about how you could fit them in if it weren’t for x,y and z. People will use that as wiggle room.
Stand up for Your Schedule
Some people are quick to follow your “No” with “Why not?” You don’t owe them an explanation, but don’t be afraid to tell them the reason or simply say, “I have prior commitments.” If you don’t put your must-do items first, no one else will.