Let me start off by saying that I don't mean this rudely.
Sometimes I just have more important things to do than making plans with my friends!
Don't get me wrong - I love watching movies at their place, I love taking their dogs for walks in the park, and I love having a glass of wine or three with them after a long day of staring into the never-ending glare of my computer screen.
But sometimes, a lot of the time, I just have other things that need to come first on the list!
Hear me out.
I'm not saying I'm better than anyone. You have better things to do half the time too!
The possible difference between us?
You will kindly decline my invite to hangout, I won't think twice about it, and then you'll move on with your day and attend to whatever has taken priority. Unless you're like me!
What would I do - you ask? I'd wonder if you're upset with me all night and then struggle to focus on what I needed to prioritize anyways because I'll feel bad or like I messed up in some way.
So I'll say yes! I'll say it in the nicest voice possible no matter how stressed I am as to not want to hurt your feelings and assure you, even if you explicitly say it's ok if I am too busy, that I am not too busy for you when, in fact, I absolutely am.
It's not you... it's me.
This is straight up, undeniably, recognizably my fault. You're not making me do anything! It's not your tone and it's not any past instances we've had.
I've just been graced with people-pleasing from my upbringing or my disposition, or a little bit of both most likely.
Contrary to the belief I had until recently, this really isn't a positive quality.
This isn't just being social, reliable, or an extra-involved friend, or family member, or partner.
This is staying up until 4 AM finishing work because you felt bad turning down dinner, joining happy hour when you didn't want to drink that night, and paying for multiple Ubers to go to three friends' parties because you didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
This is a ridiculous problem, people!
Being a people pleaser, it's hard to get your priorities straight.
Or, even when you have them straight, it's hard to turn down plans or say no to someone without guilt when there is something else that you really need to be dedicating your time to.
This leaves you behind on important to-do list items and has you filling up so many other people's buckets before you begin to fill up yours.
Since COVID hit, I've realized how much I compromise the things I need to do or want to do to people please.
So much so that I often forget to even consider what I want to do first.
For example, I'd been having a hard time mentally through quarantine and confided in a friend. She asked what positive activities I was doing in order to keep myself happy, and I explained that I'd been doing tons of great things!
That, without having to spend time prioritizing all of the plans people usually ask me to be part of when we're not stuck at home, I'd have the time to work on my home and keep on top of cleaning since my boyfriend seemed a bit busier than me, plan some date nights, spend a lot of time planning a friend's wedding, be there for my family more through this tough time, etc.
She pointed out that, as much as she's sure I did want to do all of those things, I hadn't named one thing I was doing specifically for me.
She said she knew me too well and that that list I should've included art, days at the park, thrifting, music, and looking into trips for when travel resumes. And she was right!
I forget to purposely fill up my bucket.
Even in all of the solitude of the global lockdown, I still wasn't able to see this and take some time for myself! What a serial people pleaser!
This conversation made me realize I find way too much of my self-worth and "happiness" in my ability to please other people, rather than to live a life that pleases me.
I love the people I surround myself with so being there for them won't disappear and shouldn't interfere with me taking care of my own needs at all. It doesn't need to be one or the other - you can do both!
I wanted to share this mini-revelation as a reminder to the people pleasers who are currently struggling to feel fully fulfilled.
Not incorporating things that you do actively and purposefully just for YOU into your everyday routine and then expecting to create a fulfilling life for yourself is like not incorporating any fitness habits into your everyday routine and expecting to wake up one day in great shape.
It just doesn't work that way.
So if you ask me or one of your other people pleaser friends to hangout soon when we're headed out of the COVID craziness just know that yes, we may still use the quarantine pass but yes, we still love you just as much. This is just a rare time for us and we have months and years and decades of me-time to make up for.