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We all have that one friend that whips out her list of “DON’TS” when anyone mentions hooking them up with someone. We silently sip our mimosas as she runs through her list all while thinking, “Yeah, she’ll never find The One”. The truth is although some compromise is needed for our relationships to work it is equally important not to have watery boundaries. Our picky friend may not have it all together, but she just might be on to something.
In our society, women are constantly told not to be picky. I’ve heard it being said, and I have also said it myself. We are encouraged to take what we can get, and for decades we've stood by patiently waiting for what we believe we deserve rather than requiring what we know we are worth. Click To Tweet The nature of our society makes us excuse unacceptable behavior. Whether it be in romantic relationships, friendships, or business, it seems like we are the ones who have to be flexible and forgiving. Over the past few years, I have learned how important it is to be firm and the importance of having deal breakers.
Sooner Than Later
Setting boundaries may be one of the hardest things for people to do. Afterall, we let people practically get away with murder. Having light boundaries can put us in circumstances we do not want to be in. Take your relationship, for example, when you were dating you may have allowed your significant other to do things you dislike for the sake of being fun or wanting to be perceived as easy going, but now that you are exclusive those little pet peeves have suddenly emerged to the surface. Who is in the wrong here? Your partner for not knowing what makes you tick, or you for never letting them know? Stating your boundaries early on in our relationships set the standard for our future.
By establishing boundaries early on we teach people how to treat us and set the expectation so people aren’t continually “trying us”. Take your job, for example, you should speak up the first time you are addressed inappropriately and nip undesirable behaviors in the bud. A simple, “Hey, do you mind doing/not doing (insert behavior)” will work. By addressing issues right in the moment, you avoid those difficult and bigger conversations later. Click To Tweet You don’t want to be pegged as the mean girl at work or make your colleagues feel like they have to tiptoe around you. Once they know, they know. You’ll never have to have that discussion again because as they were getting to know you, you already set your expectations of them. Don’t be confrontational. Being assertive is the way to go.
It’s Just Business
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Setting boundaries in business is important to your success. If you are a small business owner you know that you have to make sacrifices, sometimes work for free, and even give away free product in order to market what you have. I would encourage all of these behaviors as they support customer relations and build your network tremendously. I would say go above and beyond, but this doesn't necessarily mean you have to sell your soul. Click To Tweet Set boundaries even if they are just within your own strategic planning. Maybe you want Sundays off to spend time with your family or you want to give your clients a set turn around time for shipping a product, whatever you do, stick to it. Create boundaries so your customers know what to expect from you and so you can avoid burn out.
Finding Forgiveness…Or Not
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Ironically, your boundaries can help you understand what it will take to forgive someone. Some boundaries that are crossed are hard for people to come back from. Whether it’s infidelity, or maybe a friend made a negative comment behind your back, setting established deal breakers can help you gauge how you want to handle someone that has crossed the line. If this person is well aware of your boundaries, you may want to distance yourself from them, or on the other hand, you may consider…forgiving them. You may be able to articulate why something bothered you when you know and understand your boundaries. Click To Tweet By being able to articulate this information you can turn the situation into a teachable moment for both of you. You can grow from your experiences and teach your friend how to be a better…friend. Everyone has a line. Establish what your line is so you can know how to deal with people that don’t respect your boundaries.
Having deal breakers aren’t merely about being “picky”. It is about accepting what you can handle from others and understanding how your boundaries, or lack thereof, can impact your mental health and destroy your relationships. A lot of times we allow relationships to drain us to the point of no return because of our watery boundaries.
Journal assignment for you:
Write down what your boundaries are. Which ones do you need to stand on firmly? Which ones are deal breakers?
Reflect on your relationships. How have your boundaries affected your relationships?
Think about a relationship that has been destroyed. Reflect on what conversation would need to be had to repair the relationship. Is it worth it? Would knowing and understanding how to articulate your boundaries have helped the relationship before it went wrong?
Let me know your thoughts by contacting me.