Something I really struggle with is the guilt around saying no. I appear to be able to say no and draw boundaries quite well – but I feel bad about it a lot, which kind of defeats the purpose of being able to draw said boundaries. One area of my life where this is a constant struggle is social plans with casual but long-time acquaintances. When I feel this way, though, I remind myself of an interaction I had earlier this year, where I told one such long-time acquaintance I was just not feeling very social on account of dealing with some health problems. I did not make the email specific, but was still shocked I never heard back from this person. Once the shock subsided, I ran what I had said by several people to make sure my attempt at being authentic had not been needlessly hurtful. Every person I spoke about this with said that had they been the recipient of this message, their reaction would have been positive and one of concern. Ultimately, once I got past the episode, it was actually remarkably freeing, as instead of feeling guilty that I was turning down multiple social invitations from this person, I instead felt like maintaining that boundary had actually been a wise decision all along.
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