Are you someone who just can’t say NO and often find yourself in a terrible fix? Just how good are you at saying NO? Good enough to keep your emotional and personal boundaries strong? Or, are you a people-pleaser through and through?
Feeling the need to automatically say “Yes” to what is being asked of you — while creating frustration and weakening personal boundaries — is part of human nature, one study found. A study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin titled “Underestimating Our Influence Over Others’ Unethical Behavior and Decisions” found how surprisingly easy it can be for someone to say “Yes.” A team of researchers enlisted 25 college students who asked 108 strangers to commit a small act of vandalism: writing in a library book. Half of the strangers defaced the book, even though many of them expressed they didn’t want to.
If three of the statements below sound vaguely like you, you are not protecting yourself. You may be doing too much people-pleasing and thus allowing others to run your life. Consider adding "no" to your vocabulary more often.
1. You work 60 hours a week but only get paid for 40.
2. If all the running you do was on a treadmill, you wouldn't be 10 pounds overweight.
3. Nearly half of your take-home pay goes to various charities — but mostly to your Cousin Leo.
4. The waitress messed up your order three times—never apologizing—and you still gave her a 20 percent tip.
5. Your daily To-Do list is at least three pages long.
6. Your neighbor's partially housebroken dog is spending the weekend with you.
7. You water your mother-in-law’s garden three times a week whenever she goes out of town.
8. You spend more time driving to destinations in your car than relaxing in your house.
9. Weekends you watch football, but don’t even know — or care — what a first down means.
10. You've eaten three Chinese meals in the past month and you dislike Chinese food.
11. Your new car has “extras” you didn’t want or need.
12. You babysit for a friend’s children, your niece or nephew, or grandchildren every time you are asked.
13. You don't like the water, but your last two vacations were on a boat or at the beach.
14. Your long hair is gone because your beautician is scissor happy.
15. You're about to buy your third bridesmaid dress this year and you couldn't afford the first one.
For suggestions on how to brush up on your NO-skills, see: Stopping the People-Pleasing Habit, 13 Ways to Make Saying No Easier and The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It--and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever
· Follow Susan Newman on Twitter and Facebook
· Sign up for Dr. Newman's monthly Family Life Alert Newsletter
· Visit Susan's website: www.susannewmanphd.com
· See Susan’s latest book: The Case for the Only Child: Your Essential Guide