Relating to other people can feel like constantly walking across a minefield. Sometimes, we’ll notice that other people just don’t seem to want to be around us, or we’ll notice that we can’t get rid of the negative people in our lives. You may also notice that you feel uncomfortable around someone and you can’t quite put your finger on why. This series will help you to figure out the things that you or others might be doing that cross boundaries and get in the way of closeness in relationships. 10 Ways to Build and Preserve Boundaries
1.Telling All. Do you tell people every detail of your life or events in your life without checking with others to see whether or not they are comfortable hearing those details? When we first meet people, we (and they) need to have some emotional distance to keep us safe until we have proof that they are trustworthy. An example might be of someone who tells a new acquaintance about their messy divorce and doesn’t notice the social cues the other person is displaying to try to get out of the conversation. The boundary crosser will then leave the interaction confused and wonder why this person just don’t seem to like them.
If you have ever been on the receiving end of these sorts of conversations, you may remember trying to leave or end a conversation. You probably remember feeling trapped and distressed because the other person just did not understand. It’s okay in these situations to politely excuse yourself or gently let them know that this sounds like very personal information and maybe you could talk about it after your get to know each other better.
2. Jumping to Closeness. Do you find yourself viewing a new acquaintance as your new best friend? Again, we need to have that proof of trustworthiness before allowing closeness with others. Too often, I hear people say that they just met this new person and everything is perfect. Then a few weeks later, they don’t understand why that person abandoned them like everyone else. When we have strong boundaries we tend to be uncomfortable with people who attach to us too quickly because it violates our own need to get to know someone before trusting them.
3. Love at First Sight (or Any Sight). Do you find yourself falling in love with new acquaintances or anyone who reaches out to you and gives you attention? If you have found yourself lacking in validation and attention in your life, you may be vulnerable to this. People need attention and love. If you have not been getting your needs met, you can feel like a dry sponge that wants to soak up any bits of feeling that you come into contact with. The trouble with this is that you may do it blindly and be confusing love with a need for intimacy. Love at First Sight?