If you are someone who is often taken for granted, whether in a relationship or in a professional environment, you know how much it sucks. More so because it is due to your meek attitude that this has constantly been happening to you in the first place. Not to mention how non-confrontational you are as a person. But on the bright side, since you’re up this late looking for articles on how to stop being taken for granted, it shows a willingness to improve upon your weakness. And that is fantastic, because not many people have the conviction or the courage to do what you’re willing to do!
How to Stop Being Taken for Granted
Know that it’s okay to be selfish
Here’s the thing – the most dedicated mother in the world might be 100% unselfish towards her child. But towards others, she’s still selfish, even if only by 1%. Being selfish is hugely looked down upon, when the truth is that the only way you can look after yourself (emotionally and physically) is by being selfish. So it’s okay to put your needs before the needs of others every once in a while. It’s what makes you human.
Ditch them every once in a while
The more present you are in someone’s life, the more inconspicuous your presence becomes. And the easiest way for you to work on how to stop being taken for granted is to ditch your partner’s or co-workers’ responsibilities. Got a group assignment to work on where the majority of the “group” work is your responsibility? Call up the group leader and inform them you have to leave town to attend your great aunt’s funeral. Put them in the spot and force them to improvise.
Occasionally turning down people:
Makes them realize your importance
Shows them you have a life beyond your work
Pushes them to pull their weight around
Make sure you have your passions and hobbies
People often end up saying “yes” to every responsibility their way because they don’t want to feel lonely. Here’s the thing – you can easily combat loneliness by being a part of so many things! Volunteer at a homeless shelter, learn judo, do yoga classes, start gardening or teach your neighborhood kids how to take care of street animals. Whatever it is, push yourself into doing more of what you love. You will soon find yourself too wrapped up in your own responsibilities, to take on the work of others.
Being a people pleaser never ends well
As John Lydgate put it so eloquently>
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
Those who might speak ill of you, will do so irrespective of how good you are to them. And those who understand you and accept you for who you are will continue putting their faith in you even if you turn down helping them for genuine reasons of your own.
Learn to say no
I know it’s difficult, but when it comes to how to stop being taken for granted, sometimes being direct is the best way to get your stand made clear. Being considered rude by people who you always help out when they ask for your help, is better than helping out those very people who don’t understand that you have a life of your own.
Be courteous, but assertive
If saying no is too much for you, then say no in a roundabout way. For example, the next time someone approaches you to do deadline specific work, say the following:
“Oh, yes I can definitely do it…but the submission will be late by a week. I have my own projects to take care of this week. Is an extended deadline okay?” Of course, this only works in situations where you know the deadline cannot be extended. Thus, you have smartly said no without really saying it.
Define your boundaries
One of the clearest ways on how to stop being taken for granted is by letting people know when you are or aren’t available to help them out. Here’s what you can say the next time:
“I’d love to help you, but my partner and I have decided to spend more quality time with each other. Which means work on weekends is totally off limits for me now!”
“Yeah, I can work on this project, but only the first X pages. Anything more than that overwhelms me and results in poor quality work.”
Force them to prioritize your priorities
In this scenario, you lump the work you are given, alongside 2-3 personal errands of yours that are obviously more important than the work handed over to you. And when made to prioritize between them, the person will of course ask you to focus on your more important tasks, thus paving way for you to not take over their work. For example:
“Yeah sure, I can do that project. But remember when I told you I had to get X rays done for my lower back pain? I will be in an out of the hospital this weekend. I hope this doesn’t end up affecting my efficacy or my ability to meet my work deadline.”
At this point, only an asshole would push you to work despite having such important personal work to take care of.