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by Abigail Van Buren

'No' Is Missing From People-Pleaser's Vocabulary

DEAR ABBY: I don't know what's wrong with me. I say yes to everything! I say yes to people I don't even want to. I agree to plans that override those I have already made. Then I have to lie my way out of events and other stuff I don't want to do, or never had any intention of ever doing. I need help. It's ruining my life. Please, please help. -- CAN'T SAY NO

DEAR CAN'T SAY NO: What's wrong is that you are trying to be a people-pleaser. The problem with making promises you can't keep is that eventually you will become labeled as a flake when you don't follow through.

If you're afraid you won't be liked if you take the risk of just saying no, you are mistaken. People will respect you for standing up for yourself and drawing the line, as long as it's done politely. An example would be, "I'd love to, but I already have plans."

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics