Six hours? I’m legit too busy

Our elder helps a people pleaser who finds it hard to say no. 

How can they schedule time with a good friend without bailing on their other priorities? 


Dear EWC

Hello! I’m an aspiring writer/video game designer, and I could use some advice regarding one of my friends. I’m blessed to have a lot of really nice friends, and the one I’m talking about now is my oldest one I’ve known since first grade. I love hanging out with her, be it playing games in a voice call together or hanging out at her house! We’ve gotten each other through some pretty rough times and made some great ones ourselves, and I can’t stress enough how much I’m grateful to have her in my life. Lately, however, I’ve either been busy trying to improve my coding or writing or getting some legal stuff done, or too tired to hang out when she wants to do more things with me! I don’t want to say no to her, especially since she’s done so much for me, but sometimes I’m legit too tired for a 5-6-hour game session with her and some other friends. I’m of course going to set aside time for her, but do you know how I could tell her sometimes I’m just wanting to work on my projects or am just not feeling up for it? I’m sorry if this is an easy problem to solve, but I’ve always been a people pleaser and only recently have started to do/think for myself about a lot of things! I still don’t really know how to just say no to people, I guess, and I’d appreciate any and all input! Thank y’all for taking the time to read this!


Kathy replies

It is great that you have many friends and you care about each other. I am assuming from your letter that you are in your twenties and may have recently graduated high school or college. As we get older, we begin to have more responsibilities and unfortunately this often leads to having less free time. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to choose between friends and our own responsibilities and interests but it does lead to having to prioritize and schedule our time. I think this is where you are right now in your life. 

Many people find it difficult to say no to friends and other interests. You have goals for yourself that you are actively working on. It is important to keep working on those goals so you can achieve them. Everyone is different, your friend seems to have more time right now but there may be a time in the future when she is busier also. I think the best thing to do is to talk with her and explain that you consider her a close friend and you want to spend time with her but you may not be available as often as you were in the past. You can still spend time with her and other close friends but you may have to schedule a game or movie night (whatever you all like to do). You may have to say no sometimes when your friend wants to get together. You can say no in a nice way. If you are able to speak with her about your being busier, remind her that you will need some advance notice and may not be available all the time like you used to be.    Being liked and having people want to spend time with you is a huge compliment.  

I suggest you say something like this when friends ask you to do things with them and you are not available. 

“That sounds like fun, I would love to but right now I am working on my coding (or whatever).  Can we set up a time that is good for both of us sometime this week (or in the next couple of days, etc.)”

Good friends should be supportive of one another.  There may come a time when she will be unable to do something with you because she will be busy pursuing her own goals.  You are at the age where this will begin happening with more frequency. Many friend groups schedule things together (like going to a concert, etc.) .  

Lots of people are people pleasers. I was one when I was younger and still have to be careful not to stress myself out in my desire to help other people. I have learned to say no when I can’t take on a new project, or when I have conflicting things going on the same day. It is very liberating to be able to say no and be in control of your time. When you are able to get together with friends you will be able to enjoy yourself more because you don’t have to worry about something you didn’t get done or had to stop doing. I have found there is never enough money or time to do all the things we want. It does not mean we have to give up spending time with family and friends, but it does mean that we have to do more planning and keep a schedule for ourselves. If we don’t spend time on our own things that are important to us, we can end up feeling resentful and stressed. Obviously sometimes we have to stop what we are doing because someone important to us is ill or has some kind of emergency but that usually does not happen very often. In the normal course of life, you should be able to set boundaries and still be able to spend time with those people in your life that you value. For most people that is family, friends and even pets.

I hope my thoughts and advice are helpful for you. I hope you will begin to be able to set some boundaries, get your work done and make plans with your friends and have some fun. 

Article #: 489212

Category: Friendship

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