A Lesson on Boundaries (or How I’m Learning to Stop Being a “Nice” Girl )

You ever get one of the phone calls or texts from a person that you know isn’t really calling to see how you are but to talk about what they need, want, etc? Like those guys that hit you up more out of ego, to see if you’re still checking for them or if they still have it. Or those friends that always start with small talk before getting to the favor they want to ask. Or better yet, when they want to vent and they ask how things are with you so that you’ll then ask how they are (to be polite) and allow them to go on their rant about how not good things are with them.  You know what I mean.

Well increasingly I’ve found the way to avoid and stop all that. Wanna know the trick: I simply don’t ask.

What do I mean, you may ask? I’ll explain.

If someone who is like one of the above scenarios texts me asking how I am, I respond about myself. I ask how they are in return. But then I leave it there. I don’t ask for details about what’s wrong or what’s right. If they want to share that fine. But I’m not going to push it. Similarly, when someone that I know only hits me up to see “what I’m doing” so they can then ask for something, I cut off the pleasantries and get to the point. When they ask that question, (the “so what are you doing  (insert date here)?”)   I ask “why” or “what’s up” and THEN  I state my plans. Direct, straight to the point, and (the best part) I don’t end up committing to something I don’t really have an interest in.

Now I know for some people these above tactics may seem rude. To be honest, that’s the thought I sometimes have when I do that which makes me hedge (like the title says, I’m learning). But increasingly I’m realizing that in creating my boundaries I sometimes have to do or say things that others may consider rude. In order to protect my energy, I sometimes have to forego politeness and pleasantries to get direct and to the point. If your intentions are to ask me how I’m doing so that you can launch into dumping your grievances out, then I have the right to step away from that. Whether it is because I can’t deal with more negative energy or am in a happy space and do not want to do so, I have the right to take care of myself first in that space.. If I’m trying to stay positive because I’m busy trying to manifest good energy – which is something I think about and focus on a lot these days – and instead you’re in the mood to wallow in your troubles, I may have to walk away from you. Maybe on another day or in another space I can be there for you. But again, I have a right to declare and stand firm in my boundaries.

(As a disclaimer, usually people that fit in the above descriptions are not part of my “tribe.” Of course when my sister or close friends call and need to vent or want something, I hear them out. But then again, they never begin conversations or approach me like that either. And they also respect my boundaries to the point that it is never an issue.)

I was raised to be the “nice girl,” the “good” girl, the “polite” girl and all that. I even took pride in being the person that people called when they needed an ear or needed to lean on someone. Hell, up until recently, I used to keep my phone and ringer on when I went to bed so that if someone needed to reach me in the middle of the night I would be able available and not miss the call (like I was 911 or something). But no more.

Eventually I realized the toll that it’s taken on me and how my mindset and feelings have changed. Also I started to see how the people who seemed to dump their negative energy and baggage on me, and want to take up my time,  rarely could reciprocate being there for me when I was there for them. And so part of “recovery” from the “good Girl” syndrome, as I call it, is learning to say no. Even more, I’ve learned to not feel bad about saying it. Sometimes I have to text members of my tribe for reassurance, because it really is still fairly new to me to do this. But it’s necessary and I don’t feel bad about it.

If you find any of the scenarios or thoughts I described above familiar, I encourage you to do the same. Don’t confuse people that are there for you when it’s convenient to them as being people that are actually there for you. And don’t confuse people that use you more as a sounding board and dumping ground for being people that actually care and will reciprocate. It doesn’t do us any good to talk about manifestation, think positively, and work on ourselves if we find ourselves constantly being brought down by the people we associate with. I’m not saying to cut off people. But I am saying to create your boundaries and respect and acknowledge them with others so they will do the same.

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