say yes*

EVERY NOW and then I read a blog post or two about what it’s like being a people pleaser. More specifically, a people pleaser who always says “yes.”

The anecdotes I read are typically about a people pleaser’s struggles to decline favors, invites, or pretty much anything, really. A people pleaser will, for example, end up driving a friend to the airport even if their schedule for that day is already packed. A people pleaser will also attend every family event, regardless if they enjoy their family’s company or not.

For a long, long time, I considered myself to be the opposite of a people pleaser. I just never had an issue saying “no.”

When distant relatives chat me up asking for an iPhone or a pair of Nike runners, I say no, sorry, I don’t have enough money to buy those things. When acquaintances ask me to attend birthday dinners, I say no, sorry, I’m not comfortable around people I barely know.

I never understood how some people need to dredge up the courage to say “no” — at least not until recently when I somehow started operating in full “yes” mode.

A few months ago, my bosses asked me if I was open to a promotion. They wanted me to become a leader of some sort, and I said “yes,” only because I thought “yes” was the only possible answer. In my mind, saying “no” would be akin to letting go of the job, and obviously that’s not an option.

And so I got promoted and honestly, man, I hate it.

People started asking me questions that I had absolutely no idea how to answer. I also became in charge not only of certain deliverables but also of a small team. Imagine the pressure, man. The pressure! I wish I was strong enough to bear it, but no, man. Not at all.

And despite all this angas, I still can’t manage to say “no” every time my bosses assign me a new task. Just yesterday, my manager volunteered me to complete yet another big deliverable, and I said “yes,” of course, even if what I really wanted to say was, “luh?”

It’s not even the number of tasks that worry me. It’s the fact that I am now responsible over other people’s work. I have to delegate the tasks, I have to lead the trainings — ughk!

Why is it that our clearest measure of quote success unquote in the corporate world is getting promoted? Why is it that our idea of a quote successful woman unquote is a boss in a blazer?

Not everyone wants to be a girl boss TM — I know I don’t. Being a boss requires managing people, and nutjobs like myself prefer being technical experts than managers. I would rather be a high-performing chuwariwap than a boss. It also seems more acceptable for a chuwariwap to say “no” sometimes.

I still don’t consider myself a people pleaser though, even if I have been saying “yes” to everything my bosses throw at me. Give me some time, mah friends, and I swear I will eventually learn how to nope my way out of things.


*apologies to Elliot Smith

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