How ‘Hell Yes’ Can Ease Social Exhaustion.

Photo by Julian Lozano on Unsplash

Do you feel like you’re always the one reaching out, making the calls, and doing the inviting? Are you feeling drained by it? Are there people in your life that only seem to say ‘yes’ to your invitations when it’s convenient for them, leaving you constantly feeling rejected? If you’re starting to feel the corrosive effects of resentment as a result of trying to haul people along who don’t appreciate you, try applying the ‘hell yes’ criteria to your invitations.

Derek Silvers is often attributed with the idea of either saying ‘hell yes’ or ‘no’ to something. He frames it as a way to follow one’s bliss. It could also be flipped around: you should expect someone to say ‘hell yes’ to wanting to connect with you. If someone isn’t excited to spend time with you, maybe don’t spend your limited amount of time and energy trying to include them in your life. This is especially try if you’re tired or depressed or otherwise having difficulty staying motivated. Spend your limited energy on people who value your time and company enough to say hell yes when you ask them to join you for a social event.

The ‘hell yes’ criteria can be a way to avoid feeling let down if you’re in the position doing the inviting. It helps guard our hearts from being taken advantage of by people who take more than they give. While sometimes we have a surplus of love and affection to pour into others and don’t mind being rejected over and over, there are times when there just isn’t enough juice for people who are ambivalent about connecting with us.

There is a cost and risk to inviting someone out, after all. There is all the effort that goes into planning and arranging something, along with the responsibility of an event, but there is also the pain of rejection if someone says ‘no’ that can’t truly be avoided. If I risk rejection by making an offer to connect socially and get less than a hell yes I’m probably not going to put much effort into making space for that person in my life. Better to put effort into those who value my company, especially if the person never invites me to anything.

I once got a less than emphatic yes from an old friend whom I had asked to be in my wedding party. I rescinded the offer and replaced him with a friend who was ecstatic to be invited. To be honest, I don’t care whether my old friend had social anxiety or something, if he wasn’t excited to be a part of my life I wasn’t going to bother. We don’t speak anymore. I was his last remaining friend. Such are the wages of rejecting people whenever you feel like it.

Not every ‘hell yes’ test needs to be so extreme, but it’s an example of making room for people who really care about you instead of trying to drag someone along who doesn’t care about you as much as you care about them. More often the way to apply it is to quietly downgrade that person to someone you’ll invite more rarely, or to refuse to extend an invite until they invite you to something first. Let them decide if they want to keep you around.

Adult relationships involve reciprocity; if you expect others to always bear the burden of managing a relationship and risking rejection by making the invitation, you may end up alone. You might feel justified or even righteous in your isolation, but you’ll suffer regardless.

Inviting someone risks being rejected, which hurts. People who label their social phobias and anti-social attitudes as ‘introverted’ like to ignore that pain of rejection they cause, either because they don’t think to consider anyone but themselves or because they assume anyone doing the inviting is an ‘extrovert’ and therefore invulnerable to feeling rejected. Calling yourself ‘introverted’ isn’t a blank check to reject people without consequence, though. If you aren’t excited to to yes to others, they aren’t likely to be excited to say yes to you regardless of what label you put on yourself.

If you’re finding it hard to continue to be The One Who Calls, the one who does the inviting, try culling the herd with the ‘hell yes’ test. You’ll concentrate those who appreciate you and find your social life less draining. Some introverts will be lost along the way, alas, but they always have the option of growing up and actually inviting you to something, for once.