As you're eating your lunch on campus with your friends, your phone buzzes and you stop what you're doing to take a quick glance. You see a text that reads:
" Hey! Will you be my date to this party tonight?"
You're noticeably uncomfortable as you begin to shift in your seat and twiddle with your thumbs. You know this guy, and you think he's super nice. You just don't want to go out with him. Your gal pals around you notice and ask you what's up. You nonchalantly tell them that it's no big deal and even though you don't want to, you say yes to being the date anyway, because you feel obligated. You don't want the guy to feel bad, and you don't want to be a party pooper.
Your friends tell you that it"ll be fine and it's no big deal if you go. It's just a party.
"It's just a party."
The words of your friends ring in your ears.
Your friends shrug and go back to what they are doing while you reluctantly text back "Sure!" even though you really rather say, "No thank you, I rather make a date with a bowl of chips and Netflix tonight, thanks anyway."
It's later that day and as the date approaches you begin to get more and more anxious, but you don't want to be that girl who says no, leaving a bad mark on your college rep. So instead of texting him that you're taking a rain check, you pull yourself off the couch and walk to your bedroom to get your outfit ready.
You go through outfit upon outfit upon outfit. Finally, you pick the one that you think you look the best in but feel uncomfortably tight and exposed.
I just need to look good for this one night.
You say to yourself. You squeeze into the outfit and go to do your makeup. You really like going natural, but you feel if you do, you'll be subtly judged the whole night.
So you put on your makeup and then wait for your date to arrive. Already counting down the minutes before you can come back home and slip into your favorite cozy PJs.
Moments later, he shows up at your front door and off you go, not saying a word, not wanting to make him mad, sad or confused. So you go. And you oblige. And you shut the door behind you because it's just a party.
Friends, If you read this and felt like this was a scenario that was all too familiar, let me speak this truth to you. If there is ever a time where even a small part of you wants to stay back or say "no" to the date, you have the right. You are not in charge of anyone's expectations or feelings except for your own, and before you go on a date that you want to go on, you need to learn to listen to your heart when you're confronted with invitations that you rather not be apart of.
But I would feel so bad.
Sure, I get that, but we are not called to make everyone's day. We are called to take care of ourselves and to take care of those around us, and if you disregard your own intentions, you are not going to be able to care for others in the best way possible.
Saying "no" to things like this definitely sounds easier said than done, but that's why you practice it. The more you let yourself figure out how to care for your emotions in the best way, the more confidence you"ll find it saying "no" to the things you truly want to say no to and saying yes to the things that bring you joy.
The conviction that you may feel by saying "no" is not worth compromising your joy and what you feel is best for you. You are worth more than giving a pity yes - no matter how important you think it may be. Your comfort, your respect, and your time are better spent with someone who you want to be with, not someone you feel obliged to.
Now, please don't get the wrong idea. I'm not saying to go hide in a cave and never date again. I'm saying when you find yourself reluctant to go out with someone and feel guilty by turning the invite down, that's a sign within itself you need to step back and reevaluate what is best for your heart and for your well being.
So next time you're faced with a situation that you feel required to say yes to, remember that your worth comes first, and that should never be compromised for a weak yes. Practice strong, confident no's, and save the yeses for something that you really care about. I promise it will change the way you live your life.