Our HR department puts out a regular flier giving helpful hints for physical and mental well-being. I almost jumped out of my chair when I read a piece in the June flier called “5 Simple Stress Busters.” Item #1 spoke to one of my ongoing crusades.
It reads, “Say no to unwanted invitations and requests you’ll be unable to fulfill, either in your personal or professional life. Saying yes only increases stress.” Amen.
I find that saying yes to events, parties, gatherings that you really do not want to go to can be a big source of stress–especially during the all-too-short Chicago summer. (See earlier blog “Fourteen Gold Coins.”) If it’s an outside activity you have to do for your work, then it’s a no-brainer. You do it because you have to. But being guilted into doing something can generate dread and resentment which can translate into a double-dip stress cone.
Not long ago we had Judith Martin (“Miss Manners”) on the program. I was thrilled because it gave me the chance to thank her in person for a piece of advice she gave in one of her columns–advice that has come in handy. The question came from a reader who always felt compelled to concoct a white lie or explain why she couldn’t accept an invitation. Miss Manners advice was to simply say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t.” Period. Then silence. No explanations, no white lies. It works.
As Miss Manners pointed out, the momentary stress of turning someone down was nothing compared to the potential weeks and months of dread of having said yes to an unwanted invitation. The only invitation I extend to you is to try the above approach. No RSVP necessary.