Things You Don’t Owe Anyone, Even Though You Think You Do

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Get ready to rip up a few I.O.U.'s!

Can't seem to say no? Are you a people pleaser?

You don't owe your friends, coworkers, family, or significant other as much as you think you do. Here's why:

You Don't Owe Anyone a Yes When You Want To Say No

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Whether it be getting asked to babysit for someone at the last minute or to cover a shift on your one day off, there’s nothing worse that feeling put on the spot.

Generally, unless your first gut response to such a request is positive, the best answer tends to be “I’m not sure, can I get back to you?” That way if you decide to help out in the end, it’s a pleasant surprise but if not you can just give them a “Sorry I can’t do it.” Either way, you won’t be stuck doing it just because you felt pressured.

You Don't Owe Anyone Help Attaining Happiness at the Expense Of Your Own

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Got a friend who never seems to do anything but complain or demand help at the most inconvenient times possible?

When it comes to one sided relationships, if they do fall on your list of priorities at all, make sure they linger at the bottom where they belong. It’s not your job to do other people’s work for them or continually suffer the consequence of their actions.

You Don't Owe Anyone a Debate On Your Political Views

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Contrary to what your Hunger Games-like Facebook feed may lead you to believe, which boxes you check on a voting ballot are nobody else’s business but your own.

The next time someone tries to pull you into a debate you’re not into, simply explain that you make it a policy not to talk politics with friends whether you agree with them or not.

You Don't Owe Anyone an Apology If You're Not Really Sorry

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There’s nothing worse than feeling like you need to apologize for something that you’re not really sorry for. If one seems necessary to save a relationship however, simply offer an apology for getting angry, hurting the other person’s feelings, etc.

This is a good way to apologize for the negative feelings a situation may have brought up without actually saying you’re sorry for something you’re not.

You Don't Owe Anyone a Debate Over Your Religious Beliefs

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As personal a thing as religion is, it also tends to be one of those things that everyone feels a duty to make sure you agree with them on. Luckily we live in a time and place where everyone is entitled to their own beliefs or lack thereof.

If you don't foresee an positive, open-minded conversation with someone who asks you about your theology, there's nothing wrong at all with politely explaining that your spiritual journey is a private one.

You Don't Owe Anyone a Friendship You're Not Really Into

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There’s a difference in being friendly with someone you don’t like and committing to a friendship. If you don’t love the idea of spending a ton of time with someone, simply explain that you’ve got prior obligations when they ask you to hang out.

There’s no need to explain that they may simply be obligations to spend time with yourself.

You Don't Owe Anyone a Negative Mindset

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Let's face it, misery loves company and there's nothing worse than when someone comes looking for it when you're in a good mood. Resist the urge to fall into the trap!

Try to offer any constructive criticism you might like from an objective standpoint without getting pulled into the center of the storm. After you've offered any advice you feel appropriate however, let that be the end of it.

You Don't Owe Anyone an Answer to Their Problem

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Along the same lines, just because someone comes to you with a problem, don’t feel that that necessarily means you owe them a fool-proof solution.

After all, the fact that they are coming to you with the problem at all probably means they can’t even come up with one themselves. Sometimes offering a listening ear can be far more helpful in the end anyway.

You Don't Owe Anyone Justification for Their Own Poor Choices

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Ever watched someone make a truly horrible decision and then had them come to you for validation that they did the right thing?

Not only is it not your job to lie to them, it’s not your job to explain to them just how badly they just screwed up either. Sometimes it’s best to just insist on staying out of things and let karma handle the consequences.

You Don't Owe Anyone Answers to Question That Make You Uncomfortable

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Plead that fifth! As uncomfortable as it may be to explain that you’d prefer not to discuss a certain topic, it’s even worse to resent having disclosed private information later.

You Don't Owe Anyone an Unwelcome Warning

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Though the temptation can be strong to try and “save” someone from making a really terrible decision, sometimes it’s best to let others make their own mistakes.

Unless they’ve asked your advice, you may just end up making them angry if they don’t follow your advice or doubting they did the right thing it if they do.

You Don't Owe Anyone Gossip Material

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No matter how close you are to someone, you don't owe them sensitive information that someone else has shared with you in confidence.

If they get upset, explain that it isn't that you don't trust them, it's that it's important to you to always be trustworthy and you'll treat any secrets they happen to trust you with in the future with just as much respect.

You Don't Owe Anyone a Date Just Because They Asked

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If you're not totally into it and the prospective Romeo is a stranger, simply explain that you're already seeing someone- no need to explain that it may or may not just be your cat.

If however, it's someone you know, just say that you're taking a break from dating at the moment or that you consider them a close friend and would hate to risk the relationship you have.

You Don't Owe It To Anyone To Stay In a Bad Relationship

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Whether it be a romantic relationship or just a friendship, always keep in mind that no one has the right to hurt you. Not ever.

If it's become a pattern, explain that you need some space- no explanation required. If they insist on one, just say that you need some time to work on yourself.


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