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5 Ways to Get Out of Anything

5 Ways to Get Out of Anything

Do you have a hard time saying no? Often find yourself overcommitting? These days, it’s hard to manage a prosperous career, family life, and still make time for obligations. If you find that your free time is being devoured by commitments you care nothing about, this list is for you!

We’ve all been there. The awkward baby shower invitation from a friend of your sister’s. The wedding halfway across the country. The last-minute phone call to come into work on your day off. Some things in life are unavoidable. Fortunately, this isn’t the case for these occasions. Want to master the art of the excuse? Read on to discover 5 ways to get out of anything.

1. Be (Mostly) Honest

They say that honesty is the best policy. And it is—if it works. Being asked to volunteer at your child’s school—again? Tell them that while you love contributing, surely you’ve met your obligation for the school year. Is your office manager on your case about working even more overtime? Be forthright and say that you’re in the middle of a huge project and just can’t commit to more time. Worried that this will reflect poorly on you? Be tactful, and embellish a bit.

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Is your best friend determined to bring you in on her pyramid scheme? Let her know that while you’re super excited about that shake that cures everything, you’re allergic to half of the ingredients and can’t get behind selling something you can’t try out yourself. Trying to get out of that traffic ticket? You get the point.

Being honest does not mean being rude. There are ways to tell the truth tactfully, and still get your point across. This strategy is about being direct. If you avoid confrontation, this may not be the option for you. Fear not—there are many other suggestions ahead!

2. Be (Overly) Graphic

Need to get out of that family dinner with your in-laws? Nothing works better than the old “feeling under the weather” excuse. Used this one before? Having doubts? Add more detail. As valuable as your attendance may be, nobody wants to catch the stomach flu, or that terrible cold (whether you really have it or not). Especially when you tell them how poorly you’re feeling, the buckets of sweat you’re shedding, or the amount of times you’ve had to change the bedsheets.

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Approach this from the angle of “While I really would love to be there, I just don’t want you to get this terrible rash”. Not only will your host understand, but they’ll be glad you didn’t expose them to whatever you may have.

Embarrassed to share the ins-and-outs of that bad sushi you had the night before? There are plenty of other tips that may suit your style a bit better.

3. Be Busy

Studies show that we’re busier than ever these days. While this doesn’t always translate to accomplishment, it’s a great way to get out of the potluck you didn’t really want to attend. The best way to convince your host? Share your to-do list, and let them know how much stress you’re up against. No one can argue with an impending deadline, a stack of overdue reports, or a packed schedule. Just be sure that you are scheduling in time for things that you’re interested in outside of work. You can even use the evening you just freed up for something that you really want to do (or nothing at all!).

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Remember that you are in control of your time. If you’ve committed to something that you just don’t want to do, you can justify wriggling out of your obligation by keeping your busy schedule in mind.

4. Be Apologetic

Maybe you’re one of the few people who has exhausted all of the options on this list. The solution for you? Say that you’re sorry. Sound too simple? Customize your apology to the situation. Let your husband know how sorry you are that you just can’t host the annual Superbowl party this year even though you really wanted to try out your new sliders recipe.

Tell your parents how devastated you are that you’ll miss the cake cutting at their annual anniversary bash. Expressing your regret and genuinely apologizing is the best way to make peace with your host. Need another reason? Saying sorry (and really meaning it) has been proven to positively impact your physical and mental health.

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5. Be Prepared to Say No From The Start

Learn the art of saying no from the start. You can incorporate any of the above suggestions. But most importantly, recognize that you are in charge. Your time is valuable. You manage your own schedule. Make sure that you really are interested in something before you say “Yes!”. Don’t be afraid to ask for a day to review your schedule, or a night to sleep on it. People will appreciate your efforts to be present, even if your answer is no. Not only is it more considerate, but it gets you ahead in life as well. And if they’re still pushing you to commit? Be firm. It is better (and easier) to say no from the get-go than to have to backpedal.

You’re now equipped with 5 ways to get out of anything! Be mindful of how you’re spending your time, don’t be afraid to say no, and squeeze in time to do something you enjoy each day. Do you have another favorite go-to excuse? Any tried-and-true strategies for escaping obligations? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!

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Tom Casano

The CEO and Founder of Life Coach Spotter

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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