I’m a people pleaser. That’s a character trait that often serves me well, but equally often gets me saying yes to requests when a no or a counter-offer would be a healthier or saner response.

Sound familiar?

The art of making and responding to requests is just that, an art. It’s about knowing what your options are when someone asks for something: It’s usually not just yes or no. And it’s having some familiarity with your own psychobiology. Some of us are triggered by the fear of having someone taking advantage of us or impinging on our time. Others of us, yours truly included, have to fight a felt need to say yes to everything someone asks for.

This short essay by Amiel Handelsman is a great introduction to the deceptively deep art of making and responding to requests. It’s gonna be harder than you think to master this. But when you do, it can be a game-changer.