Humans are social creatures at heart; we probably wouldn’t have come so far as a species if this were not the case. In the modern day, however, it has become somewhat frowned upon to turn down an opportunity to socialize – something we’d like to see change.
We’ve got to learn to listen more closely to our hearts and say no to events when we’d rather just stay at home, watching TV or soaking in the bath.
We’re not calling for separatism and we certainly don’t want to encourage people to become hermits; what we suggest is the idea that it is better for us and our personal relationships when we can say no to invitations from time to time.
If we are to achieve such a change, we will need to approach it from two angles.
The first is to remove the element of expectation on people; the peer pressure that compels us to agree to something when we would prefer not to. This social coercion is one of the more unhealthy traits of the modern age where repeated calls for you to say yes to an event leave you feeling like you have no choice.
Instead, those doing the inviting should be more accepting of an individual’s decision. Remember, even if something is appealing to you, it’s not to say that it will be for everyone else.
Guilt is the second thing that needs to be addressed if we are to achieve a healthy expression of our true desires in the context of socializing. All too often, those who would like to turn down an invitation find themselves grappling with a sense of guilt. When this guilt gets the better of us, we end up saying yes to things that we’d rather say no to.
One of the main reasons that we feel such guilt is because we believe we are letting the other person down in some way. We may even think that we risk souring the relationship because of the rejection we are displaying towards them.
This guilt is best overcome by properly communicating your feelings so that the other person can understand where you are coming from. It’s ok to say “thanks for the invite, but you know what, I’m a little beat after a busy week, so I think I’m just going to chill at home today.”
You will find that your relationships are more likely to flourish if you can be open with one another and you won’t end up resenting someone because they pressurized you into saying yes when you had initially said no.
It’s Not All About Introverts Vs Extroverts
You may be reading this article believing that it’s about how introverts like to stay home while extroverts prefer to be out socializing. But it goes deeper than this.
For starters, people can be both introverted and extroverted at different times; the idea that an individual has one fixed position on the introvert-extrovert scale is typically incorrect.
Everyone has the capacity to find themselves at either end of the spectrum to a greater or lesser extent. This depends on a number of factors such as who is asking us, what the event is (maybe it’s a special occasion), what would actually be involved (there’s a difference between a meal out and a full day’s worth of adrenaline-fuelled sporting activities), and how much forewarning you are given.
You might be happier and more willing to say yes to a relaxed birthday drink with a small group of close friends that is planned well in advance, than you would be agreeing to go paintballing with a large group of people (some of whom you don’t even know) with only a day or two’s notice.
There’s no denying that some people find their natural equilibrium at the introverted end of the scale, but almost everyone will feel the need for a time out every now and again.
The thing that both sides need to remember is that: a no today doesn’t have to mean a no tomorrow.
If you have invited a colleague out for after work drinks 5 times and they’ve said no each time, don’t stop asking them; they might want to join you the sixth time, but if you don’t invite them, they might not feel able to ask.
Conversely, if you are the one saying no this time, be sure to make the other person aware that you might wish to do something else in future. You can say “I really don’t feel up to it this time, but why don’t we arrange something for next week?”
The Internal Conflict
Using your free time to stay in and relax can sometimes result in an internal struggle too.
Part of you may like to spend your Saturdays in front of the TV watching sports or catching up with the book you’re reading, but occasionally you might find other thoughts entering your head. You might worry that you are missing out on life and that you should be doing more with your time.
Social media has to take some of the blame for this. When you see your friends posting photos on Facebook, or checking into the places they are visiting, it can give you the impression that they are enjoying life more than you are. It can be an irrational thought, but you start to believe that this is what you should be doing too.
Instead, you should remind yourself that you do experience these things when you are feeling that way inclined. You shouldn’t feel the need to jam pack every waking hour with activities if this is not what you truly wish to do. Spending a day or evening at home can be just as emotionally rewarding as going out.
The Conscious Rethink: practicing acceptance is key in social situations; those doing the inviting need to accept a person’s decision when they say no, while those being asked should accept their feelings and not betray them by saying yes. Relaxing at home does not make you boring and it doesn’t mean you are missing out on life, it is a basic need for all of us – it’s just that some of us need it more than others.