What do I mean by this? Well if someone does something or says something that you’re not ok with and you don’t let them know it, you are basically sending the message that it IS ok.
What often happens is that we have an unconscious expectation that other people should just know our rules and how we want to be treated. And then when they do things we find unacceptable, we can’t seem to understand why it keeps happening.
Here are a couple of examples:
- The friend who continually makes plans with you and bails at the last minute
- A colleague who repeatedly interrupts while you’re sharing your ideas in the morning meeting
- Your mother-in-law who insists on stopping by your house unannounced
Don’t they understand how wrong it is?!
We get mad. We become passive aggressive. And we hold a grudge.
Bu t the reality is that we are responsible for expressing our needs. The other person can’t read our minds. Even if we think they should just know, the reality is they don’t.
The good news is that you have the choice to lovingly (and in an empowered way) express how you feel and what does not work for you.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you continually aren’t having your needs met, it might be time to set some boundaries in the relationship. I recommend having a peaceful conversation with the other person where you simply explain the behavior that’s not ok and then what your action will be if they continue to do it. (If you’re really angry, its best not to have these conversations in the heat of the moment, but to wait until a little time has passed and you feel more composed.)
Here’s an example:
Let’s take the friend who makes plans to get together and then cancels at the minute. Here’s how it might sound –
“I love spending time with you, but the last several times we’ve made a date to get together, you’ve cancelled on me at the last minute. I’m just letting you know that if this happens again, I won’t be making any more plans with you.”
Clean, clear and simple – without anger or blame talk.
The first time you do this, it will be uncomfortable. But the more you stand in your power and express your needs, the easier it becomes. And, I’m willing to bet that in many cases other person will respect you for it and your relationship will grow even stronger.
I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to stand in your power and lovingly set boundaries with others? Share with me in the comments below!