#TBT: Setting Boundaries In and Out of Relationships
BOUNDARIES ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN ANY RELATIONSHIP, DURING ALL PHASES OF THAT RELATIONSHIP.
boundaries are particularly useful as preventative measures, you know, sort of like a weed-out process that helps you avoid getting into the wrong relationships to begin with. regardless what kind of relationship we're talking about (professional, personal, romantic, familial, etc.) one thing is a fact:
if you don't decide up front what your boundaries are, I promise you someone else will determine them for you.
I discuss boundary-setting in my posts about being too picky; getting over your ex, learning to say no, and how to know if you need new friends, but this post is a bit different because the topic was inspired by one of my IG followers who DMed me with some really good post-break-up boundary questions. before I share the conversation with you, I want to make clear that break-ups can refer to any kind of relationship, even though her questions were specifically about a romantic one.
I have been giving advice for as long as I can remember, and after talking with a friend about this, he suggested I start including some of these conversations in my posts since it could probably help others find clarity in navigating their own relationships. I couldn't agree more. I'll also link to relevant posts in the dialogue for further helpful reading.
HERE WAS OUR CONVO FOLLOWED BY A DEBRIEF:
Rima! I want to know more about your story! I am going through some things and your posts are sooo relatable. I am trying to continue on with this beautiful life by leaving toxic people behind, recognizing my self worth again. not easy and I'm in a good place. now the toxic person wants to return. yes it's a dude. 🙄 we'll call it best friend gone wrong lol.
I'm really happy that you're trying to get ahead of it before it happens. it's really hard to let go of attachments to people, even when you know they're not what's best for you. the key really is finally wanting to do it. as long as most of you wants to let go (because when you care about people there will likely always be a small part of you who wants to hold on)...forgive that part of you and don't judge it but focus instead on your conviction.
it's not a personal thing. doesn't mean they're bad people at all. doesn't mean you don't love them. just means you love yourself more. and if they're indirectly making you choose between you and them, then that's a sure sign they need to go.
thank you. ❤️ let's say they put you through the whole "I miss you I don't want to lose you" crap which I know is just a loophole back into the mess. do we give that person a chance or just say no thank you and keep moving on? I want closure and to forgive him because I care, but I have to forgive myself for making mistakes and be 100 before ever crossing that bridge with him.
a couple things:
1- only you really know the answer to that question. only you know if you're strong enough to see him without getting pulled under. only you know if your intentions on seeing him are to be pulled back. no judgment here obviously, you just really need to be honest with yourself on that.
2- you can create your own closure. you don't need him for that. thinking you need someone else for closure is honestly a myth and a way to keep the umbilical cord intact. if you get closure from him, that's great, but don't depend on him for it.
3- lastly, if you care about them, I believe you should love them through the release process and be gentle with them. just never put that ahead of the gentleness and love you're giving yourself during this time because you need to heal from the toxicity.
thank you thank you thank you ❤️
first things first, when I give others advice, I am always giving the advice I needed and still need every day. that's where my truth comes from. straight from the heart and from making plenty of mistakes and missteps and learning from them every single time. that's why I never judge, but that's also why I want to help others set/redefine boundaries.
that's what we all need when figuring out relationships:
less judgment, more boundaries.
notice at the beginning of the conversation that our friend called her toxic relationship "best friend gone wrong." that was #1 red flag of what I'll rename "boundaries gone wrong." many of us experience this. we go into something thinking we'll just "go with the flow." think about the implications of going with the flow though...really? first of all, the "flow" doesn't control itself baby, so if you're not controlling it, who is? and are we willing to go wherever the "flow" takes us? I bet that most of us are definitely not that easygoing. and we shouldn't be. it is okay to have expectations. it is okay to have standards. make your standards clear as day and see how they react. if they want to be in your life, they will fall in line. if they don't fall in line, well, I call that process of elimination.
MY POINT IS THAT THE FRIENDSHIP DIDN'T HAVE TO TURN TOXIC HAD BOUNDARIES BEEN SET AND SUSTAINED.
you want someone to be a friend and only a friend? then friend zone tf out of them. it's called a zone for a reason - there are clearly defined boundaries that the whole world pretty much agrees on (give and take). if they misstep, blow the whistle and tell them they were out of bounds. period. when boundaries are clearly set, blowing the whistle reminds them of something they already know, and more importantly, they will know that, to stay in the game, they'll need to respect your boundaries.
I just recently started clearly communicating my boundaries. I went with the flow for over three years and the flow drowned me. I had my fair share of toxic relationships: with friends, with romantic partners, with bosses, with family, you name it. I am in no position to judge anyone still dealing with toxicity, I just would love to help prevent what I wasn't able to. if we don't know what our boundaries are in any given relationship, we must take a day to ourselves and figure them out or they will definitely be imposed on us soon enough. would we walk into a job interview without knowing what our standards are in terms of the pay, benefits, workload, culture, etc.? personal, familial and romantic relationships are oftentimes even more permanent than careers. why wouldn't we be equally proactive about advocating for ourselves when setting the stage for the other relationships in our lives?
when I was ready to finally swim my way to freedom, I had to set my own boundaries. I loved all of these ex lovers, friends, etc. through the release process, but I loved me more. it wasn't easy and I made plenty of mistakes, but with self-love as my flotation device, I managed to stay above water. there are very clear boundaries now, and that is the only reason these people are still in my life at all.
whether we're dealing with friends, co-workers, in-laws, siblings, romantic partners, etc. we really need to be clear on what is and isn't okay. intentionally, unintentionally, subconsciously, conscious, people are going to test us. you do it to others too. how we react to others' behaviors is conditioning them and setting an extremely pivotal foundation for the rest of the relationship. get proactive so your reactions can communicate clearly what you expect from that other person.
some of the questions I learned to ask myself are: how do you expect people to talk to you? are you comfortable with being touched in this relationship? is the romantic relationship an exclusive one? is your phone off limits to co-workers after a certain time? is your boss allowed to call/text you on your personal phone? how do you expect to be treated by your in-laws? are you okay with people raising their voice in passionate conversation? are you okay with being friends with your exes? are you okay with your romantic partner being friends with their exes? what are your needs in this relationship?
there is not one right or wrong answer to the questions above, nor are those a fraction of the possible questions you can use to help you determine your boundaries. it really just depends on what your values are and what you and the other parties involved decide you want the relationship to be. I think the most important thing to remember is that when you decide on your boundaries and non-negotiables and make them clear to others, those who don't want to be part of your life are what I like to call "process of elimination." no shade at all, it just makes it easier for you and for them. kinda like setting filters when you're shopping - why waste your time looking at the cocktail dress when you're shopping for a gown? you get the point.
WE ALL HAVE EXPECTATIONS AND BOUNDARIES, BUT NOT ALL OF ARE COMFORTABLE MAKING THEM CLEAR. GET CLEAR. REJECTION WILL NEVER REALLY BE REJECTION THIS WAY.
LOVE, YOU DESERVE FOR THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE TO PLAY BY YOUR RULES. YOU DESERVE TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO YOUR LINE-UP IF THEY DON'T.