My Boundaries Still a Work in Progress

Yesterday I met up with a friend from group. I hadn’t seen her since our last session in December last year. I wasn’t planning on seeing her again. She invited me for brunch, and I felt obligated to go after having turned down a couple of invitations from her earlier this year, so accepted. That was my first mistake.

It was the longest and most exhausting 4 hours. As soon as she started talking, I realized that I really didn’t want to be there with her. She didn’t have one nice thing to say about anyone, complained about everything and everyone in her life, and didn’t give me a chance to speak. I should have left sooner, but I didn’t feel like I could. I was scared of upsetting her. I didn’t listen to or respect my own boundaries. And I allowed her to cross them too.

I left feeling drained, irritated, and barely able to form a coherent sentence when my dad asked me a question when I got back to the house. I desperately needed a nap, and proceeded to sleep for 3 hours straight! It was dark when I woke up, which made me even more frustrated with myself. But I’d had enough negativity for the day, and decided to watch some Frasier. I needed some good “feels”.

Another reason I had felt obligated to meet up with her is because she’s often told me that she doesn’t have friends. She said it again during brunch, complaining about a new friend she had made who she quickly unfriended due to what seemed to me a silly reason to end a friendship, but to each their own I guess.

I was thinking though that I’m not responsible for her not having friends. It makes me sad to think that she doesn’t, but it’s not something I have to, or can, fix for her. And it also doesn’t mean that I have to be her friend just because she doesn’t have any others. That’s not a true friendship. That’s a sympathy friendship. So I’ve decided that I’m not going to meet up with her again. I just can’t do it. I won’t.

I need to take care of myself first.

16 thoughts on “My Boundaries Still a Work in Progress

    1. I’m busy making an “action plan” for if and when I’m in a similar situation. What I’ll do, say, etc. I’m always scared I come across as rude or a horrible person, so that’s another reason I don’t speak my mind sometimes.

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  1. I can see why you went to eat with her and I can also see why it was so hard to leave. Feeling obligated then trapped is just not a good scenario especially if you also felt bad for her and then realized that ugh all she did was dump negative.
    I go into those situations with a way out now. I never used to but I cannot always trust my instinct on people so I have found that if I do just have a back up plan , an out, then I can use it if my words fail me otherwise. Like last time I had my husband call an hour in to check if I wanted him to get me. I did!

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    1. I’m busy coming up with a “way out” plan. It will take a while because I try to account for everything, have to make lists, etc. I guess that’s the perfectionist in me, lol.

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  2. You’ve got great insight into the situation and your boundary issues. I’m so glad you’ve decided to take care of yourself. It took me a while to learn that I am not responsible for anyone but myself. I have one friend who is an elderly woman and has no transportation so she doesn’t get out much. She lives in my apt complex. When we get together she talks incessantly and never asks me how I’m doing. I make an exception for her because she’s a nice person and she gets lonely. But I set my limits. I get together with her only about twice a month (I keep telling her I’m busy). When we do get together, I give myself about an hour with her – we meet for coffee at a Dunkin Donuts across the street. I figured out that if we play Scrabble – a game she likes – there’s little room for conversation, we focus on the game. That works for me. I’ll play two games, then tell her I have to go. I used to make up excuses, but now I simply tell her that I have things to do. I know she wants to stay longer, but I know how much I’m willing to be in her presence.

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  3. Sounds like you’ve done that critical thinking. You’re a quick study.
    I used to get angry for being with some whiny depressed friend all day. Then I realized I was angry at myself for not saying no to them and feeling like a hostage to them. Because really I was a people pleaser. Inexperienced at pleasing myself.
    I found one scripted phrase crucial in helping me set boundaries and/or requests with people to whom it is particularly difficult to say no. Which is, “I’m not sure, I’ll have to get back to you about that.” and later saying, “Unfortunately that’s not going to work for me, I will give you a call if I am available to do something.”
    Broken record, broken record…..
    Yeah, I’m awful sorry to hear your parrakeet is sick but unfortunately I just can’t take you to the vet.
    Yeah, I totally get that you want to have lunch with me. But I’m just not in a place where I can do that right now.
    Boundaries are flexible and ever-changing. Sometimes we need reinforced concrete with steel doors and guided laser beam security and other times chicken wire will suffice.
    Great post btw!!!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, and for sharing this with me. I’m a people pleaser as well, and still unlearning that “habit”. Boundaries are tricky things, but so worth learning about and putting into practice.

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  4. Hi! Great post! Setting boundaries and limits is very important for us. My therapist once said to me, If you can’t feel good about a person is best to say no. It was hard at first, but I meditated on it, and learned that boundaries and limits is a way to say I love me.

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    1. Hi. Thanks for reading, and for your comment. I like what your therapist said! I also loved “boundaries and limits is a way to say I love me”. I’m going to write those on a post-it and stick it up on my mirror. Wise words. 🙂

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  5. I left my group of friends earlier this year because it was really unhealthy for me because I felt I couldn’t be myself with them and they didn’t take my issues seriously. It took me ages to say enough is enough but I finally did with the encouragement of my therapist and I’m glad I did because my mental health has improved since I stopped talking to them. I believe you’re right you should take care of yourself first and don’t feel too bad for leaving her, I had a “friend” like her, when she was rude to a waitress that was the final straw for me but I stayed with her longer than I should have which had a negative impact on me. So I would suggest you don’t meet with her again as you could end up getting in too deep making things worse for you. Good luck ❤️ XX

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    1. Thanks for sharing this with me. Some people just aren’t good for us, and so it’s important to realize this and let those people go, no matter how hard it is. I’m glad your mental health has improved since you stopped talking to them. 🙂

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