Do You Have Boundaries? Have you ever done something that you didn’t really want to do because you felt bad saying no, or you felt bad voicing how you really felt about the situation? What about saying “yes” to something even though you really wanted to (and knew you should) say “no”?
Yeah, I think we’ve all done it. Most people struggle with setting boundaries because they don’t want to disappoint anyone else. They’re afraid that if they say no, the person on the receiving end will be upset, or won’t like them, etc.
Every now and then my best friend and I set up “dates” to do fun stuff. Basically it’s just some time that we can get together and catch up. Schedules have been crazy and last week was a struggle so we decided to set a sushi date for the weekend.
We arrived at the restaurant and were seated at a table. Our table was about arm’s length away from the next table and the man at that table immediately started complimenting my friend’s tattoo. She has some pretty awesome tattoos so this happens often, and we didn’t think anything of it.
Then about every 5 minutes, this man would interject our conversation to say something–even after we received food and were clearly getting down on some sushi. I could feel myself getting frustrated, and I could see that my friend was getting increasingly more uncomfortable.
In the past, I would’ve just sat back and continued to get more irritated as the night went on. My friend would’ve become more and more uncomfortable and neither us would’ve enjoyed the meal. We probably would’ve left, both irritated and all of our time would’ve been spent talking to this random dude, who was now starting to push boundaries.
I sat thinking about all of the recent books I’ve been reading on how much you’re in control of your own situation and that you set your own boundaries with others. I decided I needed to take radical responsibility and realize that this dude was still talking to us because we were letting it happen. We had control and we clearly weren’t setting any boundaries with him.
An inner dialogue kept running through my head each time he interrupted and I decided that I needed to ask for what I wanted and set that boundary before the night was completely over.
As nicely as I could, I explained to him that we hadn’t had a chance to hang out in a while and that we really wanted to enjoy the rest of our dinner and catch up with each other. He got a little irritated (which is why in the past, I would’ve avoided this all together) but he respected what I had asked for. I was clear with what I wanted, set that boundary, and we were both able to enjoy the rest of the night instead of leaving irritated and upset.
Boundaries can be really hard, especially if you tend to be a people pleaser, but you gotta set them. If you don’t, you will end up following someone else’s agenda and then get upset that you did. You’ll find yourself irritated and upset at others, when in reality YOU are the one who didn’t ask for what you needed. You didn’t set those boundaries. You didn’t ask for help. It’s up to you.
Brene Brown’s quote from her Book Rising Strong perfectly describes this:
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
If you don’t set boundaries and ask for what you need, you most likely won’t get it and you’ll up angry and resentful that things didn’t go the way that you wanted them to.
Get in the habit of setting boundaries, asking for what you need and saying no when you need to. You have control of how you handle situations and what boundaries you set. Of course I’m not saying to be rude or mean when doing it. There’s always a nice way to say what you need. Nicely say what you need from others and most people will totally understand.
Here’s to a week of setting some new boundaries, asking for what you need and saying no when you need to! 🙂