How to Not Disappoint People

This past summer, I was so excited for a beach volleyball game I rushed out of work to get ahead of my commute.  Imagine my disappointment when the sky opened up and it started pouring.  I wasn’t even off the parkway yet.

Sitting in typical New York City traffic with too much time to think, my mind then started racing on what I should do with my evening now.  My son was spending the night at my parents, so I had a rare night off.

Maybe I’d watch a movie?  I never saw Eat Pray Love, maybe I’d just watch that.  Or take a long bath and read one of the library books I had recently taken out?  I pushed all the ideas aside an decided I’d just figure it out when I got home, there was no rush.

My cell phone rings, and it’s one of my best friends, calling to check up on me.  I let her know about my disappointment with my canceled volleyball game and my child-free evening with no real plans.

She then blurts out “Awesome!! You should come over for tacos!  I’ll be home in 30 minutes.”

Without even thinking, I agree.  I ask her if she has gluten-free tortillas (she didn’t) and then said I’d pick some up and then would head over and meet her at her apartment.

Not even 5 minutes later, I pull into my driveway and realize… I didn’t want tacos for dinner.  I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store to get gluten-free taco stuff.  I didn’t even really want to hang out with anyone.  I just wanted to be by myself, and watch Eat Pray Love and maybe go to bed at 9 pm.

But I had already committed plans to my friend not even 5 minutes before!  So what do I do?

My initial thought was to just suck it up and go, a promise is a promise.

But then I realized, my friend was calling me to see how I was doing and to check on me because she genuinely cared for my well being.  If in order for me to take care of myself that night, I needed to be alone instead of eating tacos with her, and she really loved me and valued me as a friend, us having a rain check (pun intended!) would be no big deal.

So I called her, and I was honest.  That at the moment I really wanted to hang out with her and told her I would, but after some thought I really just needed the rare, child-free night at home, alone to rest and recharge.

What did she say?  “You know what? A movie at home on this rainy day sounds great, I’ll probably do the same”.  Then we made plans to go grab some drinks after my volleyball game next week.

So the next time you make a commitment to someone for something you don’t really want to do, I challenge you to instead of just doing it for fear of upsetting them, that you just be honest with them.  If they truly love and care for you, they’ll only want what’s best for you and will understand your need for self-care.

When was the last time you repressed your honesty for fear of upsetting someone you care about?  Leave a comment below.

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