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I'm an idiot and I've always had the "nice guy / pushover" mentality which I've been working on personally and have steadily gotten a lot better at overcoming. This one caught me by surprise and I instinctively said yes. The truth is, I hate camping. It is one of my least favorite activities to do.

This is a coworker (same level at work) and we get along well enough. The few times when we are alone though and the conversation goes past small talk or work-related topics it's clear that we just don't click. He's a good guy and Im sure if he knew I said "yes" when I didn't want to, he would feel a little bad but would more so think I'm an idiot and a pushover (which I was in this instance I admit....). What is the best way to handle this?

I'm in the United States.

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    So your question starts out saying "how do I get out of having to go camping" and turns into "how do I get out of spending time with this person I don't really like (doing a thing I really hate anyway)". The solutions differ. Which is really your question? – Catija Aug 4 '17 at 5:06
  • Is this to be a "just the two of you" camping trip, or are you invited to participate in a group that is going camping with or without you? – Tab Alleman Aug 4 '17 at 14:14
  • Why don't you like camping? This might help me make my answer more tailored to your situation. – HyperNeutrino Aug 5 '17 at 0:44
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Option 1: Try to back out of it

One option which is a possibility but I would not recommend is to make up something in your schedule that you "forgot to consider" when you agreed. That being said, if your coworker finds out about this, it may ruin your relationship with him, as well as possibly with other coworkers in your workplace.

If you absolutely refuse to compromise and go with your agreement, the simplest method is to just confront him and say that you really dislike camping (try to give a legitimate reason why you dislike camping) and invite him to another activity. Firstly, by directly confronting him rather than beating around the bush, etc, you show that you aren't trying to avoid him, you simply have a desire that differs from your original agreement. Secondly, by giving him a legitimate reason as to why you dislike camping, you show that it's not him you dislike, it's the activity of camping. Finally, by inviting him to another activity, you further reinforce the fact that you still like and want to interact with him, you just don't want to go camping. Hopefully your coworker will understand.

That being said, backing out of your agreements often, even with reasons, will still deteriorate your trustworthiness, which in a workplace is something you should avoid.

Option 2: Make a compromise

The last time I went camping, we spent some of the time camping (it was in a cabin), some time hiking, but the majority of the time at a nearby museum (this was with my family). Camping doesn't have to be restricted to being in a tent/cabin on a campsite, if that's the thing you dislike. Try to make a compromise or find some other activities less related to camping that you can both enjoy, so that you can go camping as he likes and do another activity as you like. Firstly, you aren't contradicting your previous agreement. This option is less likely to deteriorate your credit/trustworthiness. Secondly, by taking some initiative in planning what you are going to do there, it demonstrates your initiative and engagement in the activity your coworker invited you to. Depending on the type of person he is, this could even make your interactions/relationship with him better. Finally, this, while not avoiding going camping, makes the activity more enjoyable for you (and maybe for him too!) which makes it both a compromise and a win-win situation.

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I would just go to him and say something like...

The other day you asked me to go camping and I said Yes before really thinking it through. I really don't like camping but wouldn't mind getting together with you some other time like grabbing some dinner, etc.

First of all, be honest. Don't pretend like something else came up, etc. Before going to him, come up with some activities you would actually be willing to do with him (and maybe others). Don't get yourself into the same situation by volunteering to do another activity on the spot only to regret it later.

If you and he haven't clicked, suggest inviting some other work friends that you do click with and that he knows, e.g. don't invite your best friend and make him the third wheel. Take some time to get to know him better outside of work. You may find that you have similar undiscovered interests.

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You could decide to officially deal with your pushover-nice-guy status.

If you really don't want to, and you only said yes because of an admitted character flaw, then it's probably time to look at flaw and be honest about it.

Stand up for yourself. Tell your coworker the truth. And try not to do that anymore.

Sometimes carefully wording and qualifying the truth for people isn't the right thing to do. Just tell your coworker the actual truth. You agreed to go, when you didn't want to, because you tend to do that.

I call the nice guy thing a flaw, because saying "yes" when you mean "no" probably puts you in uncomfortable situations on a regular basis. When you're honestly uncomfortable, and you're doing stuff anyway, you're not being completely honest with the people around you. You're denying them the opportunity to know who you actually are.

It's one thing to take one for the team when it really matters, it's something else when you do it habitually and you don't like it.

Being the nice guy isn't the worst flaw to have, but better flawed and honest about it, than flawed and not.

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    Sorry, but how does this answer the question? This answer says a lot about why being a "pushover-nice-guy" isn't a good thing to be, which perhaps is obvious. But this answer only offers one tiny paragraph about how to fix this--"Stand up for yourself. Tell your coworker the truth. And try not to do that anymore." Could you elaborate? And cut out the parts about why it's important not to be a "pushover"? The OP's question makes it clear that the OP doesn't want to be a "pushover", there's no need to convince someone of what they already know. – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 5:07
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    You haven't elaborated nearly enough. It's one thing to tell someone to say no, it's quite another thing to figure out what words to use, work up the courage, etc. – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 5:32
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    If I wanted to write my own answer I would have done so. I am not going to write an answer because I've never been in the situation the OP is in: usually I say no and I rarely find myself pressured into doing things like this. I don't have the relevant experience to write an answer. However, you did write an answer, and in doing so you opened said answer up to the critique of this community. You can either ignore my comments, or respond to my comments through editing your answer. But there's no reason to turn this conversation into one about whether I should write an answer. – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 5:38
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    We don't even really know what the question is at this point. I think it's a bit premature to be writing answers at all. – Catija Aug 4 '17 at 5:39
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    OK, sounds good. In general, I don't return to comments unless I've been pinged. So if you don't want a response, don't ping me. Or ping me, but include something like "I believe what I've said to be a sound, based on experience reply and I don't intend to be pushed further" -- I'll get the message :) – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 5:49

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