I have a hard time saying no. I still do it, but often times depending on the request, the lead-up to giving an answer is filled with inner turmoil.

First, I must seek out my true feelings on the matter: Do I really want to? What is my hesitation?

Then I do a brief to lengthy internal debate about the pros and cons of saying yes and saying no, and whether I should listen to my internal feelings, or set them aside this time.

“Will I be my best self if I say yes? Am I feeling compelled to say yes just so I don’t disappoint the asker? Have I said no enough times to this person so that if by saying no again they may feel compelled to never extend an invite in the future? Do I want that? Am I overthinking this entirely, and by just saying yes, I might do something that may be slightly uncomfortable in the short-term, but highly beneficial in the long-term? Would saying yes provide a more interesting story?”

This is my brain.

After reaching a conclusion internally, then it comes the matter of telling the person. How can I decline without sounding rude, and without sounding like I’m making too many excuses?

Well, found one.

There are other good ones here along with actual good advice on how to graciously turn someone down.

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