Say “no” more often. It makes you more respectable.
Scarce things have value. If you treat your time as a valuable resource, others will value your time as well.
Some people are scared to say no to requests. They often feel safer saying “maybe” or “we’ll see”. Something that gives them a soft out. Nobody likes rejection, so maybe it’s a subconscious effort to not reject anyone. This doesn’t help anybody. Especially you.
A “maybe” is a Schrödinger’s box of outcomes. It’s not a yes. It’s not a no. Up until the moment it must precipitate into one or the either, it’s both.
It is inevitable that it will become one or the other! So don’t defer the choice!
Giving this kind of fuzzy response to someone prevents them from being able to plan ahead with confidence, and forces them to rely on hopefulness. You’ll always be a last minute variable that they have to constantly be unsure about until the thing you refused to say no about transpires and you either reach the point where you somehow found motivation to turn your maybe into a yes, or you flaked out and turned it into a no. It is inevitable that it will become one or the other! So don’t defer the choice! This turns you into a stressor. This turns you into an unknown. This makes you unreliable.
Believe it or not, you can say “no” and be considered reliable, because your yes means yes and your no means no, and there’s rarely an in between. How much more confident can you be about where you stand when everyone you’re involved with can be counted on to take whatever position they agreed to.
The truth is, we’re complex creatures. We want to help, but we don’t want to spend energy. Or in some cases, we don’t want to help, but we don’t want to hurt feelings. If you face either of these conflicting situations, this is a place where saying “no” is much more appreciated than giving a maybe. A “No” far in advance allows people to make other plans. It allows them to be confident. It removes pressure from you to have to be there, your relationship is cleaner.
You may not be helping them achieve their desired outcome, but you’re also not an active stressor on their future plans. You’re also signaling that you know what your time is worth and setting the expectation that you expect them to do the same.
And remember, “yes” is always a good option, too.