When Friends Don’t Respect Your Boundaries

When your friends don’t know respectful boundaries

When we have respect for ourselves, most times those around us will follow suit…but not always. Friends, dates, and acquaintances can be very inconsiderate. In the past week, I’ve experienced the gamut of people taking me for granted. Yes, it’s probably my fault, but I am learning really quickly that when someone perceives me as nice and giving they can run a mile with it. 

Yes, I think I have a generous and helpful nature. I am loyal to a fault. I also have a tendency to enable poor behavior. Yesterday, a friend of mine called me up and asked if I could transfer $100 to him because he was just leaving work and he realized that his bank account was in the red and needed gas to get home. Normally, I would have said yes, of course, however, this would have been the fourth time he was borrowing money from me without making any attempt to repay it. It started to make me feel used and taken for granted. 

My daughter at 16 forbade me to transfer the money! She said mom, “ You need to stop enabling him, and let him learn the hard way.” She was right, if you have money for going out drinking, then you need to be wise enough to keep money to budget for gas. 

Still, it’s a hard decision to say no, and I lost a night’s sleep over it. It’s so easy to say that you should maintain good respectful boundaries, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, it’s so difficult to feel you are letting a friend down, after all, isn’t that what friends are for, to help one another when the chips are down?

If you’re like me and would gladly give your shirt off your back, the likelihood is great that you are going to find people that will use you and put their best interests first. Money is a tricky one because borrowing money from friends can really put a strain on your friendship. It’s not like a relationship where out of love you might want to help out, or better give because you are in a better position than your partner. That’s a totally different and normal dynamic of a healthy relationship. 

This past week I had another friend that came into town, and what I thought was going to be a fun day spent together was a day running his errands, from visits to the Post Office, bank, chiropractor, picking up prescriptions, etc. A whole day of me driving hours and hours. I think if he had warned me that he needed me to run errands with him for a day, I wouldn’t have been so shocked, but it was the lack of respect that I gave up a productive day of work to run someone around that didn’t show appreciation for it. 

We need to understand that we are in control of how other people treat us. No matter how “sweet” people think we are, we are not doormats. That sweetness is reserved for special people that treat us with respect and reciprocation. It’s not for those people that take your generosity for granted and then feel entitled to it becoming part of their friendship with you. Remember it takes two people to make a dysfunctional relationship, and at the risk of losing a friend, you have to draw the line, take a stand and say no. If you don’t you can’t keep complaining of how taken for granted you feel. 

If you let it be known that they are making you feel uncomfortable, and they still do it, then they probably are never going to understand your reasoning, If they are that selfish and self-centered, you aren’t going to be able to change them, nor is it your job. It’s a waste of time. Focus your energy on those that care enough about you to respect your boundaries and your feelings.

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