Boundaries for a Better Life – Saying No and Knowing Yourself

PictureSinan on his way to work

By Fayette Fox, Jaunty’s Writer and Community Manager

“Before I felt bad about saying no to people,” says Jaunty graduate Sinan Mouline. “Now I feel more comfortable doing it. Also I can ask for what I want. If the other person can do it, great. If not, okay.”

Born and raised in Morocco, Sinan went to college in France. These days he’s a software engineer in San Francisco.

Sinan was recently invited to a big annual dinner. But he already had plans that night. In the past he would have tried to change his existing plans for fear of offending his friends. Thanks to his Jaunty social intelligence skills and assertiveness training, he did something else instead.

“I simply said, ‘Hey, thank you for the invite, but I have a prior commitment. Let’s hang out soon.” His friend said okay and it wasn’t a big deal.

Sinan is big on self-improvement and after going to a number of Meetups, realized he never instigated conversations. In other aspects of life he rarely approached others.

“I didn’t feel like interrupting people and asking something.”

He wanted to have the choice, to be able to talk to people for business or socially if he wanted to.


PictureSinan (left) showing a friend his hometown of Rabat in Morocco

Sinan heard about Jaunty through Meetup and hoped it might help. He enjoyed the free workshop. He took advantage of a discounted one-on-one session with Eric where they talked about the areas he wanted to work on, like networking and his social life.

Sinan says, Jaunty’s six-week course was, “really helpful. Every class had a lot of content.” He appreciated the homework and says “it kept us involved” outside of class. Some of his classmates met up to do homework together, approaching strangers and trying out different techniques. “It helped us stay motivated and reach our goals week after week.” Now, about two months after the class ended, Sinan still meets up with some of them.

Professionally, things are going well for Sinan since he’s been working on his assertiveness. “I remember Eric saying it was important to speak louder, look people in the eye, and not be afraid to say what we think. Since then I’ve been getting a lot more responsibilities.”

These days he finds it much easier to go to networking events and actually talk to people. If he’s interested in them, he can do a contact exchange. “It’s all quite easy with the framework from Jaunty. You just follow the steps.”


PictureSinan (left) jogging with friends

Sinan says, the class, “also helped me understand myself better. I know that as much as I like interacting with people and being social, I need to have time to myself to recharge. For example, I know it’s hard for me to go from social gathering to social gathering, to social gathering. So now I just avoid it. Now I say to my friends, ‘Hey I need to go home and recharge. I’ll meet up with you later.’ Otherwise I’m not mentally present with them.” Before he’d just keep on going, even if he was too tired and drained. “Now I know my needs.”

He’s been thinking a lot about his current and past friendships. “I think [Jaunty’s Social Trainer] Craig mentioned there are two types of friends: The friends you choose and the friends you just end up being friends with. Now I’m more careful about that. I don’t feel as bad setting boundaries and trying to have more friends of choice, rather than friends of convenience. I’m not necessarily going to turn my back on my friends of convenience, but I’m spending more time with my friends of choice. That means I spend more time with people I genuinely like.”


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