Yes is the word

| Forum Editor

Hi, my name is Charlie, and I’m an over-committer. We’ve all heard that if you say yes more, you’ll be happier. There have been countless stories and movies made. But I’m here to tell you that saying yes isn’t always the right move. I’m not saying that you should turn down opportunities, but I often find myself in a position in which I’ve said yes too many times to actually be able to participate in every activity. More often than not, I’m canceling last minute and potentially offending or upsetting more people than I would have if I had declined politely in the first place.

I’ve diagnosed myself with a severe case of FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” I’m terrified of saying no to something and then having something really awesome happen while I’m not there. Couple that with a lot of energy and a penchant for the type of beverage served at a bar, and I find myself in a world of too much yes.

Ask me if I want to go to dinner and I’ll say yes before I consider if I have work or a conflict. Drinks? Count me in. Want to play basketball? Sure, forget that essay that’s due in an hour. I hate saying no more than I like saying yes. I don’t want to disappoint. And I love company. I habitually gravitate towards social situations. Then when it comes down to event time, I remember the other thing or two that I’ve said yes to and am forced to choose, which makes me feel uncomfortable and inevitably frustrates the other parties. To be totally honest, there are events I commit to that I don’t even want to be a part of. I end up punishing myself with my propensity for yes-ing.

So what do you do with a problem like this? The fairly simple solution is to think before responding to invitations. While that may be the case, that doesn’t address the sinking sensation I experience when I say no. Perhaps I overvalue my presence in the day-to-day activities of my friends. Either way I find myself stuck. Am I selfish for keeping my options open, or am I caring for wanting to contribute?

In my social escapades I’ve had wonderful highs and some ugly lows. I’ve found myself in unnecessary fights but also had some life-changing nights. Yes is a powerful word. It is a gateway that beckons with the thrill of possibility, but it can also feel like shackles, binding you to mistaken “OKs.”

I would like to think that my musings on this topic will change the way I behave in the future. But it’s more likely than not that the next time I’m faced with this kind of situation I’ll throw out a yes without considering the consequences. So to all those I’ve blown off in the past, and to those I will blow off in the future, I’m sorry. Just know that I really do want to be there…I just happened to have said yes to someone else earlier.

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