It has recently occurred to me that I am a people-pleaser who always says “yes”, and there are times when I should say “no”. When I go against meeting my own needs, I’m sacrificing a little of myself each time for the sake of the greater good – harmony.
Also, it’s just easier to say yes.
Why? Because saying no often has repercussions. Setting boundaries can be difficult for an INFJ. It involves approaching someone and then actually verbally discussing the boundary, which can create the potential for conflict. And as an INFJ, I don’t want conflict in my life. Ever. I know that’s not exactly reality, but that’s how I feel about it.
That being said, I also don’t want anyone to feel hurt, disappointed, or angry that I can’t help them, even if I have the time. And, honestly, sometimes, I just don’t want to help, go to the thing, or participate in whatever they’re trying to get me to do. Maybe I want to get in some self care or hit a movie with the hubs that night. Maybe I don’t.
Besides conflict and disappointment, there are still other reasons an INFJ says yes to things they don’t necessarily want to do or go to places they don’t really want to go to.
- Out of obligation.
- To avoid guilt.
- For praise.
- To avoid judgment.
So, how can I say no?
By prioritizing myself. It’s not easy. I have said no before, and it didn’t go over very well. Having it be a negative experience just reinforced the fact that I should say yes instead, but that’s not what I’m going to do. It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore.
What makes sense to me now is that this is my life and I should spend my time the way I want, regardless of whether that’s giving someone my time and energy or not. And it’s not selfish to say no once in awhile, because it’s not like I’m not saying no all the time, so…
I give myself permission to say no.
If I’m not sure whether I want to say yes or no, then I can always say “maybe” until I decide. I also may not want to do a large task, but might be willing to do something smaller to help out, so I could negotiate. And, if I truly want to say “no”, I say it in a way that is positive and kind. Sound impossible? Try this:
- “I can’t wait to see you, but unfortunately I just can’t make it this time. I hope you have a great time! I can’t wait to hear all about it.”
- “I would really love to help out, but I’m overbooked this week and just won’t have time until next weekend. Will that work?”
- “That sounds amazing, but the timing just isn’t right for us. Maybe we can get together next month instead.”
- “I’m not sure I’m available. Maybe. Can I get back to you?”
- “I have a lot on my plate right now, but I might be able to spare an hour or two, if that helps.”
- “I’m so flattered you thought of me, but, unfortunately, I’m unavailable.”
I give myself permission to change my mind any time, within reason.
Over-explaining & Making Excuses
I have a tendency to over-explain or make excuses for myself to make others feel better about my decision. This is especially hard with family, because they’re naturally nosy (since they know you so well) and always want to know WHY.
I give myself permission to be brief and general.
Once you get into a long conversation about it, someone is bound to talk you into something you don’t want to do. Classic INFJ is to cave to those they love, but love yourself too! Don’t put yourself in a situation that you don’t want to be in in the first place.
I also still give myself permission to say yes, but only if I really want to.
There’s freedom in truth. Do what you want to do. Go where you want to go. And help when you want to help. There are going to be times when you aren’t sure, or times where you may stay for only a short time, but the great thing is that it’s up to you. It’s your life, after all.
What about you? Do you find it hard to say no? If so, why and if not, what works best for you?