Setting boundaries

This blog has been inspired by a comment from a reader of my blogs – thank you!

So okay I need to learn how to set some boundaries in my life so people won’t step all over me.

I am a pleaser. I dislike offending people or hurting their feelings. So in my old self (before today, that is, as I’m motivated to change) I would rather hurt myself, whether that be losing money unnecessarily or giving my time unwillingly. How can I stop?

I appreciate that I need to tell people where my boundaries are. It’s one thing knowing I have to set boundaries, but it’s another thing learning the skills to do so.

If you have read my previous blog on “is it him or is it me?”, what would you do in my situation? What do I say to your friend – “if you stay with us, please spend some time with us?” and….how do I say “and don’t eat all our food in the pantry”? Well I really don’t mind him eating the food but was disappointed that he didn’t show some appreciation for our hospitality. But again, I can’t control him but I can control my own behavior – a great advice from my blog’s reader.

Perhaps some obvious things like being polite can’t be taught. Perhaps it’s only natural to expect courteous guests?

What about in the workplace? If someone, say a supervisor, takes advantage of my kind nature and often willingness to help, by giving me work that no one wants to do which is also not part of my role? Do I say “no” and risk jeopardizing my job or say “yes” and risk being stepped all over? Seems like a catch 22 situation.

If only all things have simple solutions.

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7 Responses to Setting boundaries

  1. gigi says:

    “Don’t eat all the food in the pantry.”
    “I’d like to set up a time where you and I can talk for 15 minutes about my job requirements.”

    • ACW says:

      I like the second one – I feel comfortable saying that because its is assertive but neutral. The first comment, I can’t seem to make myself say, even in a joking tone of voice. It feels so confrontational.

  2. gigi says:

    That he went to make a phone call while the bill was being paid says everything. That’s really sneaky. Is this man low on funds? You have every good reason not to have him back. But if you do-

    -We’d like to share food costs. Would you prefer to chip in up front and have us buy it or would you rather purchase your own food?

    -Jesus managed to feed 5,000 people on a few loaves of bread and some fish. We’ve tried that trick but can’t quite manage. Please don’t eat all the food in the pantry. We can’t get the cans to procreate.

    -We’ve taken an inventory of the pantry and there are surveillance cameras in the kitchen. 😉

    • ACW says:

      Yes I thought that was really sneaky too! He is not low on funds – he comes home with loads of shopping bags….all big brands. And then he complains that he is poor, but I am of the contrary view.

      I think not having him back is the easy way out but maybe I should practice on people I don’t know so if I offend them, at least I won’t lose a friend?

      Your third one is a funny one – haha If I had a funny personality, I think I could get away with a lot of things!

  3. gigi says:

    Not sure if you were asking me a question in your 2nd paragraph.

    You can practice on everyone, including your husband and family. It sounds like you’re worried about what other people think. I understand. As women, we are taught this crap. But you can be kind *and* firm. You worried that you’re going to offend them is exactly what’s keeping you stuck. Meanwhile, you’re being offended.

    The trick is to walk right into it *with* fear, not to expect the fear to go away first. Go to this link. This was Freshly Pressed last week. In essence, this is what you are going to be doing:

    🙂 Doesn’t that look like fun?

  4. gigi says:

    I just linked your post to the link above so you might start getting other people’s support, too. 🙂

    • ACW says:

      Thanks Gigi, I really appreciate all your help. You are so kind to reply to my comments/blog. 🙂 You are spot on when you say “You worried that you’re going to offend them is exactly what’s keeping you stuck. Meanwhile, you’re being offended.” That cannot be a more accurate comment – it’s as if you are reading my mind! haha Each time I challenge myself, I will remember that you said that – and try to face my fears 😉 Thank you sincerely.

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