Ever wanted to leave a bible study group or Sunday School class without hurting feelings? Ever wanted to try a new hairstylist but didn’t want to offend your current stylist? Ever volunteer for something out of obligation but then hate it? Ever had all three of these happen to you?
It’s inevitable that we will all make a commitment to do something that eventually we’ll need to back out of. Whether it’s because you have too many irons in the fire or just regret your yes, knowing how to gracefully bow out of a commitment is a useful skill. So before you handle it badly and lie when you get caught (Yes, I did that. Not what Jesus would do.), read these tips:
- Stop, drop and pray.
Before you bail on the commitment, ask God what He wants you to do. I once got stuck in a Bible study group I did not fit well with. I despised going and wanted to quit so bad, but I felt that God was telling me to see it through.
- Cushion the blow with kindness.
If you still want to back out, proceed with kindness. I am a very to-the-point person, but this is not the time for that style of communicating. Be sympathetic and think about how this will affect the other person.
Apologies are so rare that many of us forget the power of the words, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” Most likely, your decision to quit will inconvenience or disappoint someone, and they deserve your apology.
- Be firm.
Gosh, we as women are the worst about this. Instead of telling someone what we have decided, we phrase it as a question, which gives the other person the open door they need to talk you into continuing. If you feel quitting is the best decision for you and your family, be firm in your decision.
- Do it by phone or in-person.
Even if you are in middle school trying to break up with your boyfriend, doing so by text or email is just plain rude. These are not fun conversations, but have enough respect for the person you’re speaking to not to hide behind a screen. ***Steps off soapbox.***
- Exit gracefully.
Giving as much notice as possible, offering to help with the transition or finding someone to take your place makes the exit easier on everyone.
What tips do you have? Do you have any nightmare stories about backing out of a commitment or are you still on the fence about quitting something? Share so we can learn from each other.