Friends respect your boundaries

From time to time a new “friend” will come into your life who seems to become your best buddy right away.  They have to sit with you, call you, and do nice things for you.  This person wants to know all about you, meet your family, and be more important than your other friends.  This almost always turns out badly.

Ever feel like you are being stalked by a “friend”?  Smothered in niceness?  Ever find yourself agreeing to things you don’t want to agree with, just because that other person pushes and you feel the need to be kind?  Ever feel pushed into sharing things you didn’t want to share?

Real friends have no interest in making you uncomfortable.  They understand that you have things and time and ideas that are yours, not theirs.  They don’t feel like failures if you walk away with the same burden you carried in. 

Beware of the false friends who pull at you and push you and try to get things out of you that you don’t want to give.  Beware of friends who seem to want to take over your life.  That’s not what real friends do.  That’s what users do.  Some people need the lives of others and use others as distractions from their own dysfunction or fear.  Some people feed on the drama and anxiety of others.  They love to have the secrets of others because it makes them feel special or powerful.  It isn’t about you and it isn’t about love. 

The advice columns often carry the concerns of people who have given money or belongings only to find out they have been used.  Sometimes they find that they are responsible for the debts of others because they helped when the other person needed a loan.  There are people who will be your “best friend” simply for the purpose of getting something from you.  You don’t have to do it.

Listen: It is okay to say no!  Set your boundaries and hold them.  Your time is yours, don’t waste it on someone who is using you.  Your money is yours, don’t spend it on a user.  Your life is yours, don’t give it to someone who really doesn’t care about you.

Real friends will respect your boundaries.  They don’t push or pull.  They just walk alongside you as long as you are willing to walk with them.

7 Comments

Filed under Relationship

7 responses to “Friends respect your boundaries

  1. I thoroughly agree with you, and thanks for your blog, which I’ve been reading via Google Reader for several weeks. I was writing the other day about the tendency to push our views on others when we see an area where we think they need to change, without regard for liberty of conscience and the dignity of making our own decision. ~~ Virginia http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/2012/09/advocating-for-vulnerable-4-dignity.html

  2. Kelly

    healthy friendships are a real blessing and refreshment vs. the draining depressing kind

  3. Sadly, I can be like this sometimes. 😦

    • Our actions are driven by our needs, or at least what we perceive to be our needs. Sometimes, in our joy of finding someone who seems to be safe and fun, we let ourselves get carried away, too intense. It becomes narcissistic when we forget or don’t care that the other person has needs also. When we push ourselves instead of listening to them or caring for them, we become the problem.

      It does take time and patience to establish a real friendship, but mostly it takes a lack of expectations. Trust that all your needs will be provided by the Lord who loves you. Then enjoy the opportunity for companions on the journey.

  4. Kelly

    My counselor once told me to remember that I can go to God for comfort WITHOUT disappointment, whereas with people, they are falliable.

  5. Repol

    This sounds like what my (recently released from my life) narcissist friend always accused me of when he was in the “I don’t need you” days of our friendship.
    And I do see some truth in his accusations, which I did take to heart and try to pull back and leave him enough space. But he was so needy and broken. He would contact me desperate for attention, advice, prayer support, encouragement, and I would be so worried about him that I would want to hear from him the next day. Was he still that depressed? Was he even suicidal? I would email or text. If he didn’t respond, I would worry. If I heard nothing, I might even call on the following day. Then he would be just fine, all happy even, and I would feel hurt that he didn’t respond to my concern. At that point, he would lash out and call me a “stalker” friend.
    I really began to see myself as a stalker. I would ask for the types of boundaries he thought would be appropriate, so that I could help him when he needed it, but I wouldn’t feel cast off after he got my input or support, and he would never say what really was appropriate–just that whatever I wanted was too much unless he initiated the contact. He even said that once, less than a year ago: “I will initiate contact with you if I want it.”

    I ended up just not knowing right from wrong or up from down. Was I a good friend, or a stalker? Was I the too-needy one? Was I wrong to try to walk away, when I was neglected unless needed? Or did that make me the neglectful one.

    Relationships with these people warp reality, and I feel warped by it, especially when I read an article like this and recognize in it the things I was accused of. I still don’t know if I was being a good, concerned, engaged friend, or a stalker. I know my intentions were always to do good for the other person. So confused.

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