Listen, friend: I am done letting you walk all over me. Being a good friend doesn’t mean that I have to be available to you 24 hours a day. I am sick of you calling me at night and at work and using me as your only dumping ground for relationship and emotional problems, and I am finally ready to set clear boundaries with you. This is going to happen as soon as I learn to set boundaries. Do I draw a circle around myself with magic chalk? Or draw a five-pointed star around my feet like witches do when they summon demons?
You had better watch out, because I will set them so hard, you won’t know what hit you (If anyone out there knows how to do this, please DM me!!).
It has always been a challenge for me to set boundaries with friends. In college, one girl crossed my boundaries by judging me on every decision I made. And one of my biggest regrets was not setting clear boundaries with her and letting our relationship become unbalanced and toxic, leaving me feeling used. Fortunately, I’m no longer letting myself get dragged through the mud by another emotional vampire: I’m putting an end to this toxic behavior as soon as someone gives me a short list of examples of what setting boundaries actually look like.
Is it like, a STOP sign? Or more of a metaphor?
My mother used to cross my boundaries the way you have, calling me at all hours to ask questions (like “is my computer watching me?”) and vent about the other people in her empty-nesters ceramics class as if I were her husband or best friend. A few months ago I laid down the law and drew a line in the sand where I whispered, “Hey, knock it off!” I think she heard me. Turns out that’s not how boundaries are set, so I’m still in the dark about how to draw clear ones.
Sure, you may be the latest in a long line of people with whom I have no idea how to set boundaries, but as soon as I learn how to do it, oh boy. You’d better brace yourself (is that how you set boundaries? With some kind of brace? That’s like a threat, right?) because my healthy boundaries will hit you like a ton of bricks (could throwing a literal ton of bricks be a way to set a boundary?). Maybe I could just talk to you. Let you know that I need my space, have my own life and feelings, and firmly tell you that I expect you, as a friend, to respect me and my time. With any luck, this will once and for all be how I set clear boundaries.