I can still remember being taught to ‘Just Say No’ to drugs in elementary school. I would challenge you to use the same approach in managing your time as an adult! If your calendar is jam-packed with social gatherings, how can you find time to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the events you attend?
For some reason, we feel obligated to go to everything we are invited to (even if we haven’t spoken to someone in years). And beyond that, why do we feel like we need a reason if we can’t make it? I spent most of my 20s and 30s feeling pressured to attend various get-togethers, which overloaded my calendar and left me burnt out and exhausted.
Thankfully, a friend recently inspired me to start RSVPing ‘no’—and boy did it feel good! If she didn’t want to attend an event, she would simply say so (without any sugar coating or excuses!). And her significant other eventually learned to be comfortable admitting that ‘she is at home’ or that ‘camping isn’t her thing’ if asked where she was. It was SO refreshing! And no one seemed to take offense. I respected her honesty and decided to apply her example to my own schedule.
I have stopped justifying my ‘no’ RSVPs and now politely respond with ‘I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it.’ And if anyone ever follows up or asks questions (which no one ever has), then I can simply say that ‘I need some down time’ or ‘I have other commitments’… (like hanging out with myself 😉). Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely events that I look forward to or know I need to attend, but having the freedom to say 'no' helps me distinguish the difference.
And… since one of the ‘joys’ of marriage is having twice the commitments, my husband and I meet weekly to decide which social invitations are necessary. Sometimes only one of us attends and sometimes we double up. We also make sure to block off time for ourselves (as a couple, to be alone and/or with friends) as needed, which helps us prioritize and protect our time.
Everyone is different, has different schedules, different responsibilities, and different preferences in how social they like to be. So do what works best for you, but be sure to give yourself permission to ‘just say no’ and set healthy boundaries so you can manage and feel good about your social calendar, and show up for people in the right way.