How to Get Things Done: Avoid Thy "Friends."

Did you think I had given up discussing with you some of the ways I get things done? I have not. I had just been seeing to other things. Now raise your hand if you have many "friends." Yes, the quotation marks are necessary. We are talking about those friends who know your number when they want something. Those friends who have no problem, at all, asking the world of you and acting as though they are asking for nothing. You know those who you can never call if you ever need anything; even something as simple as three minutes of their time. Well because you are so much like me and never know how to say no; we must find a way to save you from yourself.

Here is the thing, you are not supposed to expect anything back when you give. A strange notion, indeed. But wait, this is a good thing. And also, in my experience you always get back what you give, just often not from those you give to. But what I mean by "this is a good thing," is  that it means you should only give what you can actually afford to give  and only when it would not hinder you. When your friends call oozing charm and asking of you things that you do not wish to give, you must stand your ground and say no. Do not explain yourself, or do it if you need to. Do not think,  or think if you must, just as long as you say "I cannot. I have things to take care of." And stick to it. If you would love to be of help, but cannot you may add sorry. Which only means that you would have enjoyed helping them out had there been time to do so. Not that you are sorry that you too have things you need to take care of. Stop apologizing for having a life of your own. It is very normal for you to have things on your plate, too. You see, saying yes when you ought not is being cruel to yourself and your relationship with these mates of yours. You are going to be so bitter about helping them out that it will not really be worth much. You are also going to dislike them for making you do their stuff, when in honesty it is your own fault. Unless they held a gun to your head. No, psychology is not a good excuse. You are a smart individual and you know them: you can see through their manipulations. Poisoning your spirit in an effort to ease another's life is not worth it. Chances are if you say no, they can find someone else to do what they want for them, or they may actually do it themselves. And you too can get your lovely poem written in time to enter it into a cool competition and perhaps win some money that will help your awful financial situation (stop being content living off your mom in the name of that starving artist nonsense--yes, I am talking to myself). Just because your "friends" dismiss your craft does not mean that it is insignificant and you ought to dismiss it too. Please s t o p it already and go read a poem or write a song or start a new painting or a photography project or s o m e t h i n g.

But what if you are really bad at saying no? I just put my phone off.  I usually email people as I am not really a phone person. I check my emails often and when I see messages from my "friends," I don't open them until I have got my to do list looking nicely crossed out--sometimes this is necessary for my good friends as well--by the time I get to their messages, they have gone and found some other prey. But if not, writing a refusal is easier than saying it. Also you have time to write a charming refusal...just do not waste too much time on it. Soldier on mate, life can be really challenging, especially when society thinks very little of your work and keeps telling you to go and get a real job. There is really no need for you to be unfair to yourself any further by frequently putting other's needs before yours. Your tasks are important, too. Yes, writing that poem is freaking important and so is reading other poets. See to it and you will be happier for it.

Have a blast!
Jane

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