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How To Keep Your Cool During Summer Events

How To Keep Your Cool During Summer Events

Summer brings an array of welcome things: sunshine, vacations, travelling, and hammocks — just to name a few. But summer is also the season for parties and gatherings and I’m sure your weekends are already filling up with weddings, showers, reunions, etc.

Some of us may welcome these these festivities as easily as we would lemonade. For us introverts, however, we’d rather hide from the faces that fill up these nerve-wracking engagements.

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But just as you hit the gym to prepare for that bikini and beach, you can also do some prep work for these events.

Rehearse Your Answers

You know the questions are coming. The questions about your job, your love life, your diet, etc. People will ask anything and everything, either out of genuine interest or out of idle curiosity. To keep them from putting you on the spot, rehearse your answers and get ready to fill them in.

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Write Your Autobiography

If you’re already comparing yourself to old friends who (you think) are doing better and cooler things than you, stop! And write up your own bio. Focus on the things you love and what you’re proud. When it comes your turn to share, you won’t cower behind both your insecurities and their accomplishments.

Be A Politician

As I mentioned above, people will ask you what they want to know, but you get to tell them exactly what you want them to know. Pretend to be a politician who always manages to give the answer that he or she wants you to hear, irrespective of the question asked.

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Prepare For The Small Talk

You might not enjoy small talk, but it’s an inevitable part of social gatherings, and when I find myself dreading it, I say my own, positive affirmation: “I find the perfect words to say.” It helps me feel more comfortable during the chit-chat. You can also check out icebreakers or dating questionnaires. They’re not only for first dates; they’re a fun way to engage with fellow partiers. Similarly, dating expert Matthew Hussey offers advice on how to have a great conversation in his YouTube video, 3 Steps to Become a Great Conversationalist. It doesn’t apply specifically to dating at all — anyone and everyone can benefit from it!

Deal With Claustrophobia

If your inner introvert doesn’t like crowds and all that noise, take a pause, even if it’s only for five minutes. Think of those people who meander outside, cigarette in hand, without being considered antisocial. Give yourself a smoking break too, only without the cigarette. Find a place to breathe, focus, and be mindful. It’s not about escaping from people as much as it is about returning to yourself again.

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Counter Your Jealousy

When we see friends getting married, having babies, or earning degrees, we might feel a bit green with envy. To counter this negativity, you can say a positive affirmation like, “All is coming to me,” Or, “I am open to all the beautiful things coming my way.” Similarly, you can picture yourself as the bride, the new mom, or the PhD student and try to empathize with them and share in their joy.

Be Entertained

You might not be the center of it all and you probably don’t want to be either! But you can certainly watch the colorful movie playing before your eyes. The characters, conversations, and costumes are all a display of life and this doesn’t have to intimidate you. It can inspire you!

In the end, summer is a busy time, and to keep us from getting fed up, we just have to do some prep work. It’s all a show and, like any show, you can perform like a true star with a little practice.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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