I was raised to believe that it’s wrong to “invite yourself” to do something with others. As a rule, it’s rude to be an imposition or intrude on others.
Often that’s true… but, as with any rule, there are exceptions.
Sometimes it’s okay to ask if you can join in. If friends are talking about an upcoming event in front of you, why not ask if you can go, too? The worst they will do is say no.
The worst they will do is say no.
How awful does that sound to you? Do you think of rejection as an unpleasant, but normal part of life? Or is rejection something you avoid at all costs?
Let’s come back to that.
Knowing when it’s socially acceptable to ask to join someone else’s plans can be tricky. If friends are openly talking about their plans in front of you, that may be a sign that it’s okay to ask if you can join in. If it isn’t, then maybe they’re being a bit rude by talking about it in front of you.
A lot of that is perspective and perspective is subjective.
If you aren’t sure whether it’s okay to ask to join in, you have another option: Instead of inviting yourself to others’ plans, or waiting to be invited, you can invite others to do things with you.
That may sound obvious. You may already know that. But do you do that?
Let’s be honest, offering an invitation can be a lot harder than receiving one. Why? Because an invitation can be accepted or rejected.
And here we are, back to rejection.
Rejection is never fun, but a fear of rejection can make you miss out on some pretty great things.
What bothers you about rejection? Do you think it says something about how a person feels about you? Do you think it says something about your likability or other value?
What if it doesn’t? What if rejection isn’t a reflection of your personal value at all?
Sometimes there are practical reasons for rejection. Sometimes people are busy or can’t get enough tickets or really are not feeling well. Sometimes people just aren’t interested, either in the event or in spending time with you. And that’s okay.
You don’t want to spend time with everyone you meet. It doesn’t make those people “bad” or less valuable. They just aren’t your cup of tea. And maybe you aren’t theirs either. You’re still a valuable friend to other people. Just like they’re still valuable to their friends.
Let’s move beyond the social scene.
Always waiting to be invited can lead to missing out on interesting events or missing a chance to make new friends. Even worse, it can lead to giving up on your dreams.
Waiting for invitations limits you to the opportunities that someone else presents, instead of taking a chance on creating opportunities of your own.
Think of something that you really want to do.
Now, what are the chances that someone is going to come along and offer you an invitation to do it?
Are you waiting for someone to invite you to write a novel, take up knitting, try yoga, buy a house, apply for your dream job, etc.? That could happen. Anything’s possible. But in reality those chances are pretty slim.
Fortunately, you don’t need an invitation to do those things.
Invite yourself to try something new. Maybe invite a friend to try something with you, but don’t give up if they say no.
Be the one who invites yourself. Be the one who takes the initiative.
Be the one who accepts rejection without letting it diminish your own value. Rejection will happen. When it does, look for another path, another approach, another way towards your goal.
Life is short. Don’t spend it avoiding rejection. Don’t spend it waiting for invitations.