Suppose you’re invited to an event, but it’s costly, and you don’t have the money. You’re faced with a decision: do I put it on a credit card, or is there some other way to get the money?
You stress out about it for a while, and then either juggle things around to make your budget work, or resign yourself to more debt (vowing to pay it off “next month”). But then the next month comes, bringing yet another unusual expense with it, and you find yourself struggling again.
You’re stuck in a cycle of obligatory social spending — whether that’s going for the daily lunch out with coworkers when you’d vowed to start bringing your lunch three times a week instead or attending the wedding of your parent’s cousin’s child that you haven’t seen in 20 years.
You DO have other choices. Sometimes we forget that there is a third option entirely: not going to the event.
It is ok to say no, I’m sorry, we can’t make it.
You don’t even need a reason. And your “no” probably won’t be the end of the world for the other person. Don’t believe me? Try this. Think back on the last 10 times people told you they couldn’t make it to something you’d invited them to do. Do you even remember the last 10 times things you were invited to, and who it was that told you no? I’m guessing not, so long as it wasn’t the same person saying no every single time.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea that certain things are expected that we forget that no is a viable option — especially when we’re worried about what other people will think. And let’s face it, no one wants to be thought of as cheap, or selfish, or a bad friend, or uncharitable, or whatever other negative thing your brain is putting out there that most people aren’t going to think anyway.
And you don’t have to give a convoluted explanation when you say no, or justify your answer to anyone. You just need to remember that YOU are most likely the only person stressing out about your answer.
Saying no IS a viable option. Give it a try.