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Sunshinegirl11's avatar

People take advantage of me... how can I be firm about what I want?

Asked by Sunshinegirl11 (1107points) December 5th, 2016 from iPhone

I’ve always been labeled as the nice girl my whole life. I’ve always been so proud of that.
Now that I’m older, I still am nice, but I’m too nice. People take advantage of me. How do I be firm and set people in their place without coming off as a jerk? Especially when one of those people is my dad…

Mini rant… today I was planning to study all day for my finals in 2 weeks. I got a text from my dads girlfriend and she asked if I could babysit for her later this evening. I don’t want to but I said yes anyway because I know how busy she is. Then she texts me and says “great, I’ll drop Sammy off in a half hour.” Um what???? She said later this evening, not a half hour!

So I was pissed and out of anger I said to my dad “that was rude of her to ask me last minute! I would like a heads up!” Now, my dad puts his girlfriend on a pedestal, and the fact that I said something bad about her pissed him off. He very sternly then said “you can’t help someone else for once?! It’s that big of a deal that you cant help?! You are so selfish!”

I never talk back to my dad but today I was furious so I said “you act like I’ve never helped your girlfriend before! I helped her move into her new house, I helped her disabled uncle move from across the state at 10:30pm before, I’ve babysitted thousands upon thousands of times, including everyday before class last semester! I’ve drove and picked her up from the airport which is an hour away. AND I said yes to babysitting today. Who does she go to when she needs help? ME!! So don’t tell me I NEVER help out!” This shut my dad up and he hasn’t talked to me since.

That scenario just gives you a little idea of what is going on. Please help. I’m tired of this, I don’t want to be mean but being nice is no longer working….

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9 Answers

janbb's avatar

One thing that someone advised me a while ago is to say, “Let me think about it before I answer.” Give yourself time to process and don’t give an automatic yes. When you do get back to them, say, “I’m sorry that’s not going to work for me” and do not offer any explanations. If they persist, just repeat, “That’s not going to work for me” and end the conversation. Not easy to learn to do but it works.

And keep remembering that you’re allowed to say no to people.

si3tech's avatar

@Sunshinegirl11 Wow! That is beyond reasonable. I have a stock reply that I use when someone pops up with a request. “Let me think about that”. And if it is not something I am willing to do I will simply say: “That will not work for me”. I need no explanation. To ask why is extremely rude.

Sneki95's avatar

“I don’t want to but I said yes anyway”

There’s the problem. You didn’t really want to do it, but you did because it would be nice to do it. That is why people use you.
You need to learn to say no and not give people the impression they can order you around.

zenvelo's avatar

To word things in a slightly different way from the three responses above: You need to learn to say NO.

It is called setting boundaries. Set a boundary, and don’t let anyone cross the line. When you get asked something, and say, “no, I can’t” and nothing more, they can’t expect you to cave. And the more you respond that way, the less they will ask.

snowberry's avatar

Right to the above, but it’s appropriate to combine the above answers.

She says, “Would you watch Johnny for me tonight?”

You say, “Let me think about that and get back to you.” Then after you’ve thought about it and you realize it won’t work, then say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do it this time.”

If pressed (and it sounds like these folks are the type to do so) say, “I already said I won’t be able to help you this time. My answer is no.”

Get used to repeating yourself. They’ll get the message.

snowberry's avatar

Also, before you say yes or no, be sure to ask lots of questions so Dad’s girlfriend can’t pull another fast one. “Exactly what time would you be dropping him off and when would you be picking him up?” -And other questions like that.

cazzie's avatar

“No, I’m studying for my finals today and the rest of the week.” Also, you did a good job letting your dad know how you feel.

I’ve been in a similar situation. It’s not easy. Set up rules about your time and stick to them. Don’t let them put you on the guilt trip. Tell them you need a days notice or something for babysitting. Tell them your plans or just the times you are available.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

You are what is called ‘a people pleaser’. It’s difficult to change this personality trait, but you can do it. Whether you will or not is up to you.

A good rule is to ask yourself ‘will doing this get me where I want to be?’ Now ‘get me where I want to be’ might be in your dad’s girlfriend’s good books, but it might also be a good mark on your exam. So before saying yes to anything, ask yourself, ‘will this get me where I want to be?’ and if the answer is no, say no. If you find saying no difficult, practice in front of a mirror. ‘No. I’m busy today studying for an exam’. ‘No, I have a previous engagement’. ‘No, I am feeling a bit tired and I want to go to bed early’.

If you want to succeed in life, you have to have goals. Achieving those goals requires you to start to recognise when you are doing things to suit other people’s needs and not your own. It’s not about being selfish, it’s about looking after you first. There’s no shame in that. Certainly, you should help your family and friends on occasion. However, those occasions should not be when you’re studying for an important exam.

So, learn to recognise when you’re people pleasing. Set your own goals and recognise when the task you are being asked to do does not fit with those goals. Learn to say no.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If I agreed when I did not care too, I would set the conditions. People want me to do things all of the time but if I have something I really need to do, I will tell them when and where I can help them, and they will have to live with that. If I were to go to a 3rd party I would have qualified why it was ill planned, by saying I have to study for this test coming up, which is what I would have said if she told me 30 minutes, I would have said I am available after X but right now I am not free. There are ways to gain control without having to look like an asshole. As for Pops, I would catch him when he is calm and tell him I was sorry at popping off to him and I know how much she means to him, but I had a life and plans too, and how many times have anyone bent over backwards for me. I do not wish to make her out to be a bad person but the facts is I give more to her than she does to me or that you (Pops) do for her as well.

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