Today I realized, once again, that I have a really difficult time saying no to people. I've gotten better at knowing when I should say no, instead of adding one more thing to my plate, but I still need a lot of work getting to the point.
Case in point, today our recruiter, and someone I consider a friend, approached me about a design task for the LGBTQIA group. Rather than jumping right to the decision, or at least buying myself some time, I started asking questions:
- What's this project for?
- They don't have a designer?
- Why are you asking me?
- When do you need this by?
I realized before long that all of these questions were an attempt to deflect the truth: I neither wanted to participate in the project, nor did I have the time to.
I was immediately exasperated because I was in flow and suddenly that was disrupted. I would not be able to get that back for the rest of the day, as I was wrestling with the guilt of saying no, and deeply worried that I had come off as a bigot. Worst of all, I probably left him feeling exactly as frustrated as I was.
I often feel like if I don't rationalize a decision, I will come off as too harsh or rude. I imagine dragging the conversation along only to say no is probably worse. I also worry that I might not be entrusted with similar opportunities in the future. But as I've ruminated so many times before in my writing here, I'm probably asking the wrong questions. I want these similar opportunities in the first place? Am I really missing out? What I really need to be asking myself is, what will I give up by saying yes?
I still need to get to a point where I can feel comfortable with buying myself time and feeling comfortable about saying no without a long drawn out rationale. I also need to set clearer boundaries about when I can be bothered. Sometimes colleagues think it's ok to waltz up to a desk and take something that is not urgent and make it my problem. That's not cool. If I'm going to get anything done, I need to make sure I create the environment that plays to my strengths, rather than leaving myself at the mercy of others.