(This is Part 1 in the Repeat After Me series.)
I’m a better person because I’ve accumulated some on-ramp phrases which I access and repeat when needed. The habit began a few years back when I noticed how flawlessly some people said things I wanted to say, but I would get tongue-tied by words or insecurities. Having the right words and the right time helps us become secure, humble, and confident leaders. In this blog series I’ll dig into my mental and written files to pass on to you what I’ve learned from others. The earlier in life you acquire these the better. Use them and pass them on. Repeat after me.
Boundaries for People-Pleasers
The first one works for people-pleasers who are learning to mark out boundaries. We all know the scenario. Someone asks us to do something, and even though we’re not interested or wearied or against the idea we veer toward agreeing to the request. Why? Who knows? Some sort of insecurity or intimidation.
Say this: “Do me a favor and let me say no”.
That’s pretty easy, isn’t it? You already intuit why it works. First, it still allows you to feel like you’re accommodating. You’re still the nice guy or gal–if that matters to you. Second, it marks out a clear boundary. It’s a softer way to say no but still mean it.
Practice Makes Perfect
Although I’m a better no-sayer than I used to be, I still use the “Do me a favor” line when I sense that I’m about to people-please but know my answer better be no. Yesterday I turned down an aggressive store clerk by saying, “I’m not going to do that. Thank you.” But I could have said, “Do me a favor and let me say no”. Depending on circumstances, I’ll pull that out regularly.
It takes practice to hold boundaries when you’ve habitually given in, but the practice is worth it. I have a friend who, on her journey out of habitually accommodating and people-pleasing set a goal to say “no” whenever possible for a one-month period of time. It really helped bring her freedom, margin, and strength. Regularly she would say, “Do me a favor and let me say no”. Maybe you can try that the next time your mother-in-law invites you over for hash.
So, repeat after me. And if I can help you in any way, just let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I’m not interested I’ll just ask you to do me a favor.
Part 3: Repeat After Me: “Hi, I’m _____”
Part 6: Repeat After Me: “I Need to Get Something Straight”
Part 7: Repeat After Me: “Can You Handle a Compliment Right Now?”
Part 8: Repeat After Me: “I’m Disappointed in Myself”
Part 9: Repeat After Me: “I’m a Poor Mind Reader”