Respect boundaries

Lauren Nelson, Opinon Writer

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have always given people what they want. Some may call me a people pleaser, others may call me a doormat. Whatever label I am given, I know I feel the need to make others happy. While this can be a good thing, it can cause some people to become too comfortable with me. As I’ve grown older, I have learned with the help of my friends, I need to establish boundaries with people, and those people need to respect my boundaries.

Many boundaries may seem like common sense; don’t use other’s things without asking, don’t flirt with people who are in a relationship (when you know they’re in a relationship), when someone doesn’t want to open up, don’t force them to open up. However, a few people still feel the need to continue  to do these unnecessary things. I can’t count how many times people have taken pencils, food, water,  and clothes from me. Although this doesn’t bother me an awful lot, these miniscule things add up quickly, and it may be uncomfortable to say no.

People pleasers need to learn how to be assertive with our limitations. This doesn’t mean to be unkind to those who want things from you, but does mean that we need to learn how to say no. As someone who always likes saying yes to people, I’ll tell you it can be hard to tell someone no, especially when you do say no: and that ‘no’ doesn’t stick. For example, if someone asked me if they could use my phone to call their mom and I said no, the person, if comfortable enough with me, might take my phone from me or I may give into their pleading if they asked even one more time. However, this is where assertiveness comes in. When I say no to that person, I have to mean it, or they won’t take me seriously.

This issue is not the people pleaser’s fault. Yes, they could be more assertive, but those who assume their right to everything and assume boundaries need to re-evaluate. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been friends for five years or five minutes, you shouldn’t assume people’s property or comfort level is the same as yours. It’s worse to take someone’s property and have them be mad at you than to ask them and they say no. This can deteriorate friendships and make people pleasers feel bad about themselves. They may start to feel as though people may only want them because they’ll do something for them, which isn’t a healthy relationship or mindset.

Whether you’re a people pleaser or you’re the one that pushes boundaries, take a step back and look at how you treat your friends.

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Respect boundaries