Setting boundaries with people (men, in particular!)
September 3, 2011 6:02 PM Subscribe
How do I set boundaries with people while staying true to my accepting, easy going nature?
posted by sunnychef88 to human relations (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
How can you set boundaries with people in your life without coming off as uptight and demanding? I've always been pretty relaxed and accepting of people since I have a lot of empathy and constantly try to put myself in the other person's proverbial shoes. I realize it's not always appropriate to be so understanding since there's a fine line between being accepting of imperfect human nature and being a sucker. I can't seem to figure out how to communicate my boundaries with people since judgement and criticism does not come easily to me. This excessive tolerance and tendency to over analyze carries over into other areas of my life. For example, I have a lot of trouble with making decisions when faced with many possibilities. I can see so many reasons for why people behave the way they do, and so many ramifications that a decision I make may have, that it becomes paralyzing. Usually I just hold my peace and try to remove myself from unpleasant situations or laugh them off, but it can really take a toll on one's self esteem to not be assertive, and sometimes you can't avoid certain people (or perhaps you don't want to - you just want them to respect your boundaries!). I know demanding good treatment for oneself is healthy, but I'm just not sure of how to phrase that sort of negative talk properly. How do you know when to say something and when to just walk away from a situation that's not worth the effort?
1. An older man (a lot older - 70ish?) at my workplace insists on telling sexual jokes/raunchy stories that are harmless, but make me uncomfortable nonetheless. The other females just seem to laugh it off and ignore him, but I'm not his superior like they are since I was brought on quite recently, and am forced to work around him since we do the same job. How can I politely tell him I won't put up with his nonsense any more?
2. With men, I never know how accepting to be of their behavior, especially now that everyone is texting/using instant and facebook messaging/etc. I went against my instinct and starting online "chatting" again with a couple guys who seem interested, but now I find myself pissed that one of 'em promised to call and didn't (probably since I'm on facebook chat again, and I hadn't been for a long time!). Also, I prefer using the phone to online chatting since the latter feels coldly impersonal. I'm guessing if you don't set proper boundaries from the beginning, that person is a lost cause, and anything I say now will just make how I acted in the past seem fake. How do you let a guy know what's acceptable to you without seeming high maintenance?