Setting Boundaries with Friends

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We, humans, are creatures of habit, which means that we fall into patterns. Some you may like, others not so much. Setting boundaries with friends and family are a bear to tackle.

Others demand/depend on your ‘yes’ whenever something is requested of you. But, you don’t always want to say yes and frankly, you shouldn’t, if you don’t want to.

They may ask at the last minute, they don’t consider what is on your plate at the moment OR if you even feel like it. You (always) say yes anyway, why is now any different? If you are only ‘allowed’ to respond in the affirmative, then Houston, we have a problem.

You feel taken advantage of, that your ‘niceness’ is working against you. Be warned, this person may not appreciate your view, if it doesn’t mirror HOW they assumed you would respond.

Especially, if they don’t respect your time, energy or love.

It is your job to monitor your own time, energy, love and attention. Guard these things as valuable, priceless items that they are. You are worthy of this.

Intellectually, you understand this concept, but the execution? (whispers: where is this magical map of which you speak?) This is the way you have been for as long as you can remember, how can you reverse it? Or at least tweak it? You enjoy being nice and doing things for others, but it is a bit out of hand.

Truth: it is uncomfortable to set boundaries in a relationship after it has been formed. (This also is a blueprint for forming new friendships or romance, but that is for a different post.) But, the knot in your belly and the tightness in your chest every time you think of this situation isn’t worth the cost. Life is just too short.

Not saying NO when you need to or when you want to depletes your power. Please note: this doesn’t make you a bad person to speak your truth.

Think back to the last time, you were asked to do something that wasn’t in your wheelhouse, you simply weren’t interested in or this thing prevented you from doing something you desired to do more. Where do you feel that memory? Chances are you feel this feeling in the same spot, every time you aren’t truthful about what you want to do.

There are things in life that you MUST get done (bathe and earn income so you know you can eat and have shelter). Barring the imperative list, when you don’t have to AND you don’t want to, you shouldn’t.

If you don’t have the courage to say so, then a couple of options lay before you:

  1. that knot in your belly gets louder, bigger and bolder and soon you are popping antacids
  2. the things that are important to you don’t get done to the best of your ability, if at all OR you do your stuff way into the night when you should be relaxing or sleeping
  3. you find that you don’t have an ally within yourself, which feels lonely
  4. you feel taken advantage of and don’t know how to escape

How to stop the internal avalanche (above):

  • Start small. Practice saying no to things that are less sticky, less risk.
  • Do so without the back story of why you can’t.
  • Say no and then close your mouth. (Sounds harsh, but an explanation also depletes your power. It conveys an air of superiority of the asker.)
  • Take note of how you feel. How does your gut feel?

Let’s address the fear in the room around losing your friendship/relationship.
A person who values you respects you and loves you wants you to be happy. They want to hear what is true for you, regardless of how you answer. They uplift.

If you feel like you may not have this, then this is the Universe’s way of letting you know that it is time to reevaluate this relationship.

On the surface, it may seem ‘scary’ because change is happening and it won’t be the same afterward. Good, were you happy anyway? Or were you settling for a one-way convenience (theirs) under the guise of a friendship?

True friendship is reciprocal and sacred. You can let your hair down and the real you can show up and show out without fear of being ousted.

  1. Do you feel depleted or full when you leave an interaction with this person?
  2. Do you feel better without their presence?
  3. Do you feel seen, appreciated, honored, heard or understood?

After you answer these questions, determine if the relationship at the very least needs to shift or if it needs to end. Decide that you are worthy to be seen, appreciated, honored, heard and understood in any relationship/friendship that you have.

I advise my clients to do this from a place of empowerment. Change is good, especially as you grow and expand. As the change is happening rarely does it feel awesome, but the other side can be spectacular. Relationships/friendships on this level are a snapshot of living your life without apology. They are worth striving for because the real you all of you gets to come out and play.

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