Boundaries can be set with grace and gentility (1/6)

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Be polite, and say please and thank you. You probably will lose friends if you go around making big, obnoxious announcements about how you want to be treated. Instead, set an example by how you treat your friends and girlfriend, and by speaking up at the moment — saying no, thank you or I’m sorry, I don’t really like that when you need to.

Anyone can be subjected to rudeness and inconsideration. How you handle it determines whether you are setting boundaries or not. Most situations can be handled with polite firmness. People pleasers usually just don’t know how to say no, thank you and make it stick. If you say no, thank you several times, then, gently tell the person you don’t like what they’re doing, that it makes you uncomfortable, and they still don’t get it, then you need to sit them down and tell them you will not allow them to do that to you.

For example, if your girlfriend borrows money or lets you pay for lunch all the time, you can say, gently, I think it’s your turn to buy lunch today or I really need you to pay back the money you borrowed. If that doesn’t work, then have a talk — say, I think you’re taking advantage of me financially, and I can’t be with you if the situation doesn’t improve. So, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to lunch with you any more unless you buy, and/or I’m not lending you any money.

If that doesn’t improve matters, then you’ll need to give that person a timeout — withdraw from personal contact, and just be very polite when you do happen to see him or her. He or she will get the message loud and clear. Perhaps your friend will ask Are you mad at me? and then you can describe what the problem is.

Contributors: Tina B. Tessina from TinaTessina

Written by Ben Skute

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