people pleasing // text from an ex

Hi Brooke. Happy Monday!

I got a text from someone I dated for a couple months in 2017. He wrote that he misses me and wants to stay connected. I felt anxious. I don’t miss him. I have no hard feelings toward him, but he’s not someone I feel excited and interested about spending time with. I choose to spend a fairly limited amount of time with friends, and want to spend it with people who I feel challenged and delighted by.

None of those thoughts are what make me feel anxious. The thoughts making me feel anxious are (1) I have to lie to him so he won’t feel hurt that I don’t miss him (action – immediately start brainstorming plausible mild lies), and (2) I’m done lying to men just to avoid conflict and risk someone not thinking well of me — ugh, this means I have to tell the truth! (action – pretend to be confused about how someone even does that.)

I know that I have spent all of my adult life lying to people in an attempt to control how they think of me. It’s not leading to satisfying interactions, and it’s not something I admire about myself. I’m happy that I decided not to do it anymore. But I also don’t want to be rude… and everything I think of to say now either sounds rude or is a lie.

How do I help myself learn to do this? Thank you!