When a friend or colleague asks for help your instinct may to say “yes” right away and to lend a hand. That quick response may not be the best approach for you or for the person you’re trying to help as it could lead to trouble. It’s too easy to overextend yourself and burnout, which can lead to actually failing to help your friend or by failing to deliver on something else entirely.
Think twice before saying yes, and don’t worry it doesn’t mean you’re rude.
Be diplomatic but truthful.
When it comes time to deliver your message, be assertive and clear without overexplaining. In other words, aim to be direct, thoughtful, and above all else, honest. For example, if you were pulling out of your friendâ€™s committee, hereâ€™s what you might say: â€œWhen I said I could join the committee last month, I fully believed I had enough bandwidth to do a great job. After taking a closer look at my calendar, I realized Iâ€™ve overextended myself and there are several professional commitments I canâ€™t move. This means I wonâ€™t be able to participate as chair.â€