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Many of us are often paralyzed with too many commitments that are not personally beneficial to us, because of our inability to say no. Have you ever found yourself saying yes to every request, only for you to be frustrated by having too many commitments in your hand? Yes, we don’t want to disappoint our friends and family, hence we give in to their demands even when we aren’t comfortable with them. It can be mentally and physically overwhelming to work on the goals of others at your expense of yours.
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But when you master the ability to stay to the commitment that largely benefits you, you tend to become a better version of yourself as you stay away from distracting commitments. In this article, I will take you through six powerful ways to stay away from uncomfortable commitments.
  • Understand Your Reasons Behind Every Refusal

The first step to avoiding unproductive engagements is to have a good reason to decline requests. Be sure to give to those who demand your commitment to a project or ask for a good reason to believe you. For example, you can tell them that you are not in the right frame of mind or in good health to engage in requests; or your desk is full; or you dislike the project; or just focused on something else. When you have a good reason behind your refusals, you won’t feel bad or feel guilty for saying no. Moreover, let your priorities guide your choice.
  • Get Used To Feeling Guilty

The truth is this, you can always say yes to every request thrown at you. Sometimes, you will turn down the request. You might feel bad making people feel guilty that you turn down their request. It is normal to feel guilty when you turn down a friend’s or family member’s request.
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But you just have to get used to it otherwise you find yourself getting overburdened with attempts to please people at the expense of your happiness. 
  • Remember You’re Not Indispensable

One of the reasons many are trapped in unhappy commitments is that they believe they are indispensable. No one is indispensable, and you should know that. Never do anything against your will. Never think you have to grant a request because no one else will. If a friend can’t get something from you, I bet she can get it somewhere else. Indeed, you can recommend other alternatives to them to avoid being trapped.
  • Disarm Requests Effectively

Another way to avoid an unproductive engagement is to disarm effectively. This is when you inform your requester that you have a more urgent need to meet that coincides with the date and time of the request. For example, if a friend wants you to go with him to the market to buy groceries before noon, you can simply refuse and tell him that you need to take your elderly mother to the hospital for a medical examination at the same time.
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Plus, you can just disarm people by telling them you have a deadline to meet. They may be sad, but you have already given good and understandable reasons.
  • State How You Feel About Certain Commitments

One of the ways to avoid getting involved in commitments you don’t like is to weigh the value of said commitment. By doing this, you can effectively fend off the pressures that come with certain types of commitments. The truth is this; some demands are accompanied by pressure, particularly from peers. It’s important to tell them how uncomfortable you are with such a request or commitment because it doesn’t align with your values or you’ve had unpleasant experiences in the past with the same request, etc. For example, a colleague might want to push you to invest in an investment program that you are not comfortable with, it is important to tell them that you are not convinced enough and that you will not invest.
  • Stop Being A People Pleaser

People who fall into the trap of unproductive engagement are people pleasers. The sooner you realize that you cannot please everyone, the easier it will be for you to avoid unproductive and unhappy engagements. Pleasing people all the time will always leave them unhappy. You must put your happiness first before making any life-changing decisions or commitments. To please people, many have gotten into abusive relationships, overwhelming debts, depressing careers, and the like. Featured Image Source: Shutterstock
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This article was first published on 4th July 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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