Herworld (Singapore) - - MANUAL -


We’ve all been there. After a long day at work, you can’t wait to get home and col­lapse on your bed. You’re about to make an exit when your man texts to say he’d love to see you for din­ner. You don’t feel up to hang­ing out, but you also don’t want to hurt his feel­ings or start a ght.

SAY “I des­per­ately need some me time.”

It pays to be hon­est. We’ve all got dif­fer­ent needs. Your part­ner might be en­er­gised or com­forted by your com­pany at the end of a busy day, and ex­pect you to feel the same. Ex­plain how you feel and why you want some alone time. The key is to phrase it kindly.

“It’s good to dis­cuss your ex­pec­ta­tions early on [in the re­la­tion­ship],” says Ken­neth Oh, re­la­tion­ship coach and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional at Ex­ec­u­tive Coach In­ter­na­tional. Give your part­ner a heads-up that you’ll need time to your­self. Then help him feel more se­cure by telling him what you plan to do (“binge-watch Netix”) and for how long (“ve episodes or till I fall asleep, which­ever hap­pens rst”). That’ll make your re­fusal sting a lit­tle less.


You’re meet­ing friends for din­ner, and one of them sug­gests a high-end restau­rant. You’re not that keen on the food, plus it’ll blow your bud­get for the week. Ev­ery­one else is ex­cited, so how do you voice your ob­jec­tion with­out sound­ing like a wet blan­ket?

SAY “What about Thai food?”

Sug­gest an al­ter­na­tive – maybe a new place ev­ery­one’s not likely to have tried yet that’s been get­ting rave re­views, or an op­tion that’s gen­er­ally pop­u­lar (like Thai food), so you have a higher chance of an en­thu­si­as­tic re­sponse. If you pre­fer not to con­front all your friends, Ken­neth says you could also pri­vately text the friend who usu­ally calls the shots in the group, and tell her your con­cerns so she can throw out an al­ter­na­tive sug­ges­tion.

Or just sit this one out. Recog­nise that you aren’t obliged to turn up for ev­ery get-to­gether. It’s all about what you’re pri­ori­tis­ing at the mo­ment, says Ken­neth.


Your boss com­mends you on jug­gling three big projects and de­liv­er­ing great re­sults on all of them so far. As a re­ward for your good work, she wants to give you an­other as­sign­ment. But you’ve al­ready been clock­ing ex­tra hours, and you don’t think you can han­dle any­thing more on your plate.

SAY “Sure, I can take on one more thing, but I’ll have to pri­ori­tise.”

If your work­load is not man­age­able and you’re afraid of burn­ing out, tell your boss, says Ken­neth. Don’t wait till the work has been del­e­gated – it’ll be much harder to ex­tri­cate your­self with­out mak­ing a mess of the workow.

Ar­range face-to-face time to talk with her about your con­cerns. Be specic. “Tell her you don’t want to over­promise, and can’t guar­an­tee you’ll be able to han­dle all four projects at once. Ask which of your projects need to be pri­ori­tised,” sug­gests Ken­neth. “Even bet­ter, lay out what you think the top pri­or­i­ties are, and re­quest that the other tasks be put on hold tem­po­rar­ily.”


A close friend is get­ting mar­ried and has asked you to be a brides­maid. Prob­lem is, the wed­ding’s in Hawaii, and the plane ticket will be on your own tab. Maybe you’re strapped for cash, or you can’t take that much time off work – what­ever the case, it’s the big­gest event of her life, and she’s not go­ing to be happy if you don’t show up.

SAY “Fly­ing over’s too pricey for me. What else can I do to help?”

Right now, we guar­an­tee your friend thinks her prob­lems are more im­por­tant than yours. “It might be good to gently bring up the chal­lenges you’re fac­ing,” says Ken­neth. She might not know how tight your nances are, or how dif­fi­cult the cir­cum­stances at work are. Don’t fo­cus too much on ex­plain­ing. Be proac­tive and of­fer to help in other ar­eas, like sort­ing out the lo­gis­tics back home in Singapore. “Show that she means a lot to you by of­fer­ing to go above and beyond – as long as you can real­is­ti­cally af­ford to.”


You’re chill­ing at your favourite cafe, nurs­ing a cap­puc­cino and a good book, when some ran­dom guy plonks him­self next to you and tries to make small talk. You know he’s just try­ing to be friendly, and you don’t want to over­re­act.

SAY “I’m flat­tered, but…”

When a man works up the courage to start a con­ver­sa­tion with a girl he doesn’t know, we say he should get props for it, no mat­ter how clumsy his at­tempt to im­press. But it stops there.

Ken­neth says: “Thank the per­son and fol­low up with one or two niceties to be po­lite. You don’t need to pro­long the in­ter­ac­tion – just be up­front and say you’d like time on your own.” It’s way more ef­fec­tive than that fake ex­cuse about wait­ing for your boyfriend – that’s just in­sin­cere and mean-spir­ited.

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