You're walking around the mall shopping for some shoes and you swear you hear someone calling your name. You turn around to suss out where your name is coming from and there she or he is. That old high school girlfriend, that college roommate from long ago, and old army buddy, or an old family friend. So you start chatting about old times naturally until inevitably the conversation comes to it's natural conclusion or you or they've got to run. So then what happens...in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...they or you say, "we should meet up sometime, maybe coffee or over dinner." "Sure," they reply, " we should do that. So great meeting you again, tell (fill in the blank) I said hi."
You're half way down the path to your car when you realize, you don't have their number, you don't have a working email, you don't even know their Facebook name because didn't they get married or something or weren't they the one that doesn't do social media? I would say a good 80% of the time, if this situation has ever happened to you, either you, or they had no intention of ever truly hanging out. I mean if you really wanted to hang out you or they would have at the very least asked for a phone number or email or something or set a time and date.
This is the culture of people pleasing at work. We figure we should say these things as a way to make it seem like we are perhaps friendlier, more open, and welcoming than we really are or have time to be, but in these situations where you're more than likely not going to run into these people again seeing as you haven't seen them in forever, why do we feel so obligated to please them in what basically is the most insincere way possible. Why when someone asks us how we're doing today, do we just automatically say fine or okay, even if we feel like crap? What is the harm in saying, "not feeling all that great today," and leave it at that. This is something that might actually help us during the day as it lets others know there is some reason for our mood or attitude that perhaps has nothing to do with them so they don't take is personally.
I think a lot of people in general would benefit from exercising the art of no. You can't always say no because of obligations to other people like a significant other, friend, or family member, but when you do have an option and you really don't want to do something or go some where or participate in something, why don't you just say no? I mean, we have a word for people who always promise that they will do something, and don't, and that's being a flake. I'd much rather someone told me, no, then me getting my hopes up that they want to participate in something even when they knew from the invite, that they were never going to come.
We shouldn't be afraid of the idea of disappointing someone by the exercise of our free will. I mean, not too many people can do it all, all the time, so at some point, unless you plan to over exhaust yourself, no has to be your one option. Parents do this all the time as they tend to really be exhausted especially if they have young children, but I think single people should not be afraid to use 'no' either. People make it seem like, oh you have nothing going on, so of course you can do xyz, but you have a life too, you get tired too, you have other things you want or need to do too, so just say no and be honest with people.