Why do we find ourselves in situations like this? Maybe because we don’t want to look bad or we want people to like us or we simply have a rescuer mentality. It sometimes boils down to the ability to saying no. Before I continue please note that I am not saying we should never be there for our families and friends, what I am saying is that we choose when to be there. That way, we don’t blame others for taking up all our time since we made that choice to be available in the first place. The funny thing is when we choose not to catch the ball, the person will bounce their ball to someone else who eventually will catch it (shows you are not the only one in the world that can help).
Saying no does not mean you reject the person it simply means you reject the task or whatever it is they want you to get involved in. This is where assertiveness comes in. I read somewhere that assertiveness is “your ability to know who you are and what you stand for - and then to express these qualities effectively in everyday interactions with other people”. Assertiveness is a skill we all have to learn as it does not come to us naturally. People generally lean towards passiveness (trying to keep peace at all times) or aggression (resorting to violence when saying no). Assertion increases constructive communication and relationship between people.
The consequence of being assertive is that people respect your feelings and your boundaries. You know you have a right to express your opinions or beliefs even when it contradicts what others are saying or what they want you to do.
One area where most of us see ourselves catching the ball is picking up our mobile/phone when it rings. It's a strange one but it is true. Mobile phones can be a BIG time stealer. We pick up the phone and sometimes get involved in idle chats and later on realise that we haven't achieved much either at work or with the house chores. Sometimes when I am doing my house chores and my phone rings I let it ring out. My hubby gets upset with me when I do this but I tell him it is my mobile phone and I can choose to answer it or not. Besides I can always call this person back. More often than not if the call is really important the caller either leaves a message on my voicemail or sends me an sms. This is not to say I don't appreciate my friends or I don't want people calling me but I have learnt that I am in control of my time and can't catch the ball at that time. Speaking of which, I need to return some calls I missed this weekend!
Anyway, I hope you get the point I am trying to make. It might not apply to everyone but am sure someone out there needs to read this. Next time I will be talking about some assertiveness tips for everyday life. Meanwhile enjoy your week and remember when someone throws the ball at you, you don't have to catch it.