I’m a people-pleaser. It’s a flaw. I simply hate letting others down.
In high school, I was known as the girl you could count on. If my friends wanted to go out that night, they could rely on me to have the whole night planned out and to be in touch with everyone to let them know the plan. If someone needed a ride, I was your girl. I was a giver, not a taker. And I loved this.
I was addicted to pleasing people.
It wasn’t until my dad sat me down and had a conversation with me that I realized how serious this addiction was. He let me know very firmly that I couldn’t say yes to everything – I didn’t have to be afraid of the word “no.
Of course, this didn’t fix everything overnight, but as college approached and everyone told me I would burn out my freshman year from fatigue, I grew concerned. How was I going to make good grades and keep my scholarships if I couldn’t say no? And what about my social life?
This, of course, was before I realized that all anyone does in college with their free time is nap. But that’s beside the point. I charged headfirst into freshmen year determined to make friends with everybody. But then I had to start making the hard decisions. Blowing off my homework for my friend’s birthday party was not my finest moment. Calling in late to work because I stayed up late the night before finishing an assignment didn’t help. Throw in devoting every spare second to a long-distance relationship and you have the perfect ingredients for a fine disaster.
If I had continued like this, I might not even be in school. Picking and choosing my activities was never a strong suite of mine – I wanted to do it all. You know what cured me?
Yes, truly. Something genuinely good for me came out of an activity where students dress up in silly costumes, make faces like they’ve been diagnosed with Tourette’s, stand on a stage in front of 2,000 people and make fun of beloved themes.
I’ve heard a lot of hate for this event that we are all thankful is behind us now. But Spring Sing saved me. I had to decide what was more important; should I watch another episode of Gilmore Girls with my friends or go to practice? Obviously, with so many people counting on me, it was hard to blow off something as huge as Spring Sing.
As we launch into the last few weeks of school, let’s remember it’s OK to say no. Or think of it as simply doing all you have agreed to do. Don’t be the flaky friend who backs out at the last second. Be honest with your schedule, and be honest with the people who ask you to do things with them.
We’re all busy in college. Each of us has our own battles we’re going through, but we all have the power to rearrange our schedules. If you want to do Spring Sing next year, be honest with those around you and leave room in your schedule to do it. If you want to be more involved in your church, cut back on school extracurriculars. Figure out what makes you happy, and then make time for it.