3 Myths about setting boundaries
"Setting boundaries means I have to be rude or mean to the other person."
"If I set boundaries, it might mean that the other person might dislike me."
"When I say no to a friend, I might lose their friendship."
Can you add any other myths or false beliefs about setting boundaries?
The 3 myths listed above are common myths believed by many, so if you read them thinking "I think these, too!" don't fear, you are not alone. Allow me to debunk each of these 3 myths:
Myth 1: "Setting boundaries means I have to be rude or mean to the other person."
We always have the option of setting boundaries in a kind, yet firm way. We can only take responsibility for our own communication and if we communicate a boundary in a firm, yet kind way and the other person chooses to take it the wrong way, that is on them. Here is an example: Your friend frequently arrives at your home without notice and then overstays her welcome by hanging around for hours. You could set a boundary and say: "I love that you feel comfortable enough to want to visit me so frequently, but I would appreciate it if you could check-in with me before a visit to see whether it is a suitable time. I would love to be fully present and available when you visit me."
Myth 2: "If I set boundaries, it might mean that the other person might dislike me."
If people are used to us always saying yes to everything, it might come as a shock to them when we choose to say no and set that boundary. It might also mean that they say "You've changed" or they might not like us that much anymore because they can no longer rely on us to just say yes to everything. If you choose to communicate your boundary in a kind and firm way and the person dislikes you for it, then it is simply on them. Those who love and respect us, will be okay with us setting boundaries.
Myth 3: "When I say no to a friend, I might lose their friendship."
If your friendship with another person depends on you always saying yes, then the question you need to ask yourself, is what is this friendship built upon? If you set boundaries and your friend wishes to not be friends anymore, then perhaps this friendship was only conditional.
Believe me, setting boundaries can be challenging, especially if you are not used to it or if you are used to pleasing others. Like any other skill, it takes practice. Start small and be confident, yet kind when saying no. You're worth saying no when you need to!