How many times in your life have you thought “I don’t want to”, only to hear “Sure, love to” coming out of your mouth? So many times we’re asked to help out with things we don’t care about. Or asked to an event where you don’t like the venue, or the people.

And yet you’ll do what they’ve asked. You’ll make 50 cupcakes for the baby shower rather than just buy them. Chip in to a leaving present for someone at work you don’t even like. Go to the party where you don’t know anyone instead of your favourite Friday night pub.

Why do we say yes?

Why are we constantly doing things we don’t want to do? The only thing I can think of is the link between actions and emotions. We’re so used to “actions speak louder than words”. But if you think about it- it’s bad actions that speak loudly. Doing nothing, or not going aren’t doing anything.

We’ve become terrified that we’ll hurt someones feelings by not giving our time to them. But if it’s someone you don’t like why are you bothered anyway? If you can’t tell someone you don’t want to do something with them this is a sure fire sign that they’re not that good a friend. So you should definitely say no to whatever they’re asking if it encroaches on your precious time.

Just the other day I was due to meet a friend in a local pub. She’d messaged saying she would drive as she was too tired to drink. I’d just got back from another friends house where I’d been overnight. So I messaged her and said “As much as I love you, shall we leave it for another time?” We hadn’t seen each other in months, and I do really like spending time with her. But if neither of us would bring our A game, what would be the point? Her response- “I like your thinking mate”.

As I know that she’s a brutally open and honest person I had nothing to worry about. I didn’t worry that she doesn’t like me. I’m not worried that she doesn’t want to ever see me again. I’m not worried that we’re not friends. We just couldn’t be arsed.

Honesty is the best policy

In a previous job my manager had to ask around our office definite numbers for our summer party. So many people were wishy washy. Saying they had to check diaries, or unsure because of money etc. All of these excuses though had a counter-argument, so went round and round. Then it got to a guy on our team who simply said “I don’t want to go”. My manager said “You can’t argue with that” and moved on. She didn’t care if people were going or not, she just needed to know how many drinks vouchers to get.

And this is the problem- people are not honest. So many times people will say it’s fine that you can’t come to something, and then bitch about it behind your back. This is really what you need to overcome to stop doing things you don’t want to. If someone will go in on you behind your back, that person is not a good friend. They’re not feeling bad about all the awful things they’re saying about you, so don’t you feel bad about not going to their crappy night out.

But most of the time, people really don’t care. In fact if it’s a wedding you can’t attend they’ll be delighted. They can give your seat at that table of 10 to their Aunt who was going crazy thinking she wasn’t invited.

Just say “I don’t want to”

Your time and your money are yours, stop spending them on other people. And do not feel bad about saying “I don’t want to.” It’s just the truth- and you can’t argue with that.