#30PostsBefore30 Day 22: Know When To Say “No”

Cookout from June 2012.
Cookout from June 2012.

When I first moved to Denver in 2011, I was ready to get networking and meet new people. Heck, even before I landed in Denver, I already started networking via Twitter several months beforehand, following all sorts of businesses and people who already called Denver home.

I was anxious to meet people because I was ready to start my new life in a new city. So, I signed up for meetup groups and RSVPed to several meetups. I also reached out to a few Twitter friends to meet up with them.

From 2011 to about early 2013, I made sure I filled up most of my weeknights with some sort of event to meet new people and reconnect with folks I didn’t get to see on a regular basis. I got a high from being so social, which is strange since I consider myself more of an introvert (maybe an ambivert?).

However, all this socializing took a toll on me and there were a couple of times where I felt burnt out from social events. So then, I would proceed to be a hermit for several weeks, refusing to really meet up with anyone except for a few close friends and rarely leaving my apartment. I also went through a phase of RSVPing to events but then backing out last minute. I hated being a flake and felt guilty after I would back out.

I spent a lot of time alone towards the end of 2013 and I reflected on why I burnt myself out with so many social functions to attend: was I really getting much out of all the networking? Was I meeting quality connections? When I asked myself these questions, I realized that no, I wasn’t making myself happy by filling up my calendar. I needed to learn to say “no” to so many functions that ultimately didn’t serve much purpose for me.

Since that realization, I have cut back on attending too many events, being more discerning about which ones are worth going to and which ones I can pass on. When I do commit to an event, I make sure that I truly do commit and have a valid reason to attend.

These days, I am not afraid of saying “no” because I realize that, instead of fearing what others may think of my absence, I need to take care of myself and keep my sanity. Sure, there’s often the temptation of FOMO, but I’ve found that when I say “no” to the next “biggest event of the year,” I don’t feel much regret anymore.