Boundaries Are For Everyone's Happiness, Not Just Yours

Boundaries Are For Everyone's Happiness, Not Just Yours

Making boundaries with people should not be used as a weapon against them.

The issue of overstepping boundaries has always been a problem for me. Whenever I find myself feeling close to someone, I attach myself to them.

One of my closest friends had to set boundaries with me pretty early on in our relationship. We might in high school, through a friend of an acquaintance. I was very impressed by her attitude, her style of dress, and that she seemed to want a friendship with me.

I followed her around, called her all the time, tried to dress like her, and tried to talk like her. So she decided it was time to have a tough conversation with me about boundaries. She was glad I felt like I had found someone I could connect with in her, however, I was making her very uncomfortable. I vividly remember her saying to me that imitation was not flattery - which was the direct opposite of what I had always been told.

I was crushed at her rejection of my efforts to try and be closer to her. I was ashamed and embarrassed that I showed her a side of myself that until that time, I didn't know was so strong. I withdrew completely from her; convinced that I was not welcome. I looked up to and wanted to be her - but her rejection reinforced that those desires were not enough to help keep a friendship going.

When she felt my absence, she sought me out, and told me that she wanted my friendship as much as I wanted hers. However, I had to realize that I had value on my own without copying her.

My low self-esteem was causing me to want complete absorption into her instead of having faith that I was worthy enough of her friendship without becoming her. This is a huge flaw of mine that I've yet to overcome, but her setting that boundary with me, in the way that she set that boundary with me, helped me to pull back my troubling behaviors but still have faith that we were friends.

Since that time, the different paths I've taken in life have made me want to seek out friendships with others of diverse backgrounds and cultures. My troubling behaviors resurface each time, and boundaries are put upon me, yet I feel like these boundaries are put in place to only keep me around when I am to be used.

A few years ago, I became close with one of my coworkers. One of her daughters was in my class, and in bonding with the child, she became close to me. Yet as our friendship progressed, I was losing autonomy over myself and surrendering it to her. Because of my desperate need for her friendship and my desire to be useful to someone, it was easy to ignore the oncoming frustration.

I didn't like coming and going from her house at all hours of the night because she didn't feel like taking me home. I didn't like running out of money because I was buying her something or buying something for one of her children. I didn't like when she would show up and have me babysit her kids for unspecified number of hours at no cost. We even ended up living together for eight months, where I had no privacy from her or her children, and constantly dealing with the aftermath of my property being taken/destroyed or bills popping up in my name.

I felt like I was giving up everything to be her friend, but she wasn't giving up any effort to be my friend. Part of that is my self-esteem of course; she could just simply greet me and that would be considered enough for me. Then when I changed and started asking to not be her slave all the time just for the sliver of "friendship" she was giving me, it was a problem.

How dare I want to be treated with respect? Did I not care that she had five children to care for? Did I not care that she needed me to watch her kids any time of the day or night? Did I not care about the household enough to buy them food and pay their utilities? Did I have to be so selfish to want to get to work on time every day? How can I be callous enough to try to get back into college when her children needed a Nanny? What good was our "friendship" if I wanted freedom?

Two years ago, I attached myself to a couple that I was mesmerized by. I was swept up by their love story. I was drawn to their energy. I wanted to be like them and have whatever they had. I felt that the closer I got to them, the more I start becoming like them. So I started messaging them all the time. Following them to events. I asked them if they felt I was smothering them, but they said no; they were endeared by my enthusiasm. I listed that regarded them as Sisters. That was what sent them flying away from me. I was blocked and ignored. I was not to talk about them or to talk to them again.

Just a week ago, members of an establishment I was very fond of decided they wanted to participant in an activity that was very triggering to me. I requested that they let me know ahead of time when they were planning to do this activity so I wouldn't have to be present for it. The response was how much of a killjoy and special snowflake I was to put a damper on what they wanted to do. Why don't I just not look? Why was I making such a big deal out of this? They felt like they couldn't attend the establishment anymore and do what they wanted to do because I was uncomfortable.

Obviously, none these "friendships" and situations lasted. They couldn't last.

I was giving away all of myself in these situations and getting nothing in return but how my needs and desires were nothing if they weren't happy. Boundaries were only useful for them to keep me in line. My comfort and happiness had no factor in how our "relationships" were going to continue.

I feel like boundaries should benefit both parties. It is simply a protection to keep moving forward in new territory. Whether that territory is a friendship or an activity or a relationship. Boundaries shouldn't be used as weapons. To control someone's actions because they don't fit your wants. Both or all parties should be willing to sacrifice something and be frank about the fact that they're willing to sacrifice things to be in someone's life.

In the future, I want to set mutual boundaries with others. If they want to be in my life, then they have to know my past, and then we have to come up with mutually satisfying boundaries so that this relationship can continue. If there's even a slight imbalance on either side when negotiations are made, then that situation, friendship, or relationship is not worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Takeshi Charly

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20 Things You Still Ask Your Dad At 20

“How can I use our bank account to set up Venmo?”

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    Even now at 20, there are still things I ask my dad because he is a wealth of knowledge that I still believe can fix any problem.

    Let's be honest, being an adult is hard and at 20 there are still so many things we don't know how to do yet and Dad is always the first person we call.

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I've Had Feelings For My Best Friend For Years, And I'm Still Not Ready To Address Them

I'm not sure he even has the slightest idea, even friendship wise, how important he is to me.


A lot of times when people say they have a "secret," what they really mean is they've only told a few, strategically selected close people in their lives.

What I mean by secret is, I've only told my closest friends about these unsettled feelings I've had for four years, for the first time this past week.

When you tell someone your feelings, especially if it's someone that has no idea, and plays a crucial part in your everyday life. Someone who has seen you bawl your eyes out in agony, cry tears of joy, and just overall knows way more about you than anybody should, it is definitely important to weigh the odds.

Odds are, it won't work out.

Odds are, they don't feel the same.

Odds are, you lose one of the most important people in your life and you'll never be able to rekindle the connection in the same way again, and that just fucking sucks.

There's a lot of reasons why I haven't revealed my feelings to him. The biggest reason is that just because I like someone doesn't mean I want to be with them. I've let go of some of the best connections I've ever had because I knew I couldn't deliver the type of love and attention they truly deserved. And in this case, I just don't feel like I could ever be as great of a lover to him, as he could potentially be to me. I don't think he wouldn't feel the same, I just don't think it can ever work out, at least not at this moment.

And I'll tell you why.

We're both growing and just starting to be the people who we always wanted to be. We're both creators, artists, in different crafts. He inspires me now more than he ever has in our friendship. He has become my confidant and holds such a high value in my life. I'm not sure he even has the slightest idea, even friendship wise, how important he is to me. I don't think that when we're diving into exploring who we are, that a romantic connection will help either of our growths. And for the both of us, I want to be selfish and put ourselves before whatever connection could ever grow from this in the future or not.

We're both dating. Not to mention, know a lot of details about each other's dating lives and history. And there are some things both of has said about our dating lives that makes it impossible for us to ever work currently. For example, traveling is something that has always been important to me. I love connecting with people I wouldn't otherwise meet unless I was at the right time and the right place, and he is currently having this same realization. The realization that someone local probably isn't going to cut it for us. And if I told you how local he lived, he would know, but I guess that doesn't matter anymore. So, I'll tell you this: the proximity between us is closer than the word local.

And lastly, we're both not ready to settle down. I just can't picture us playing house and pretending like we are totally OK with being with each other for the rest of our lives, like tomorrow. I know that telling my best friend about my feelings doesn't mean I have to marry them, but the truth is, I see him being in my life for years to come, whether he's waiting for me at the end of the aisle, or in the front row crying because he's so happy I found that type of bond with another human.

Even though I get a little cringed when I hear him talk about that girl he fucked on vacation, and even though every part of me melts when I hear him say how important I am to them, I just don't think now is the right time. And even if he reads this, and knows the truth, I'll still not be ready to do anything about these unsettled feelings. So until then, if you're reading this I want you to know a couple of things I never say enough:

Your warmth has always inspired me.

You never let me sit and dwell on the negative and I couldn't thank you enough for that.

Your confidence to do whatever you want, makes me want it for myself too.

Your guidance, long talks for hours, and laughs in between both of our tears will always have a permanent home in my heart, and influence on who I am.

You are the sweetest, kindest person I have ever come across, without even trying.

You live so authentically and honestly, I am forever thankful I even get to call you one of my closest friends.

And even though there are tears in my eyes as I finish writing this, know that I'll always love you no matter what role you fill in my life.

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