I’m late to queue up Maxie’s post for today for the best possible reason. I hardly touched my laptop or phone this past weekend. I went out of town and, to disconnect, I left my phone upstairs for most of the trip. Max and I have been doing our own mini experiments to start creating some space between us and our phones. It’s funny because we both started doing it on our own and we have been sharing what works with each other as we go.
4 Boundaries You May Not Know You Need
Guest post by Maxie McCoy
It would be so much easier if the lines we didn’t want others to cross were neon pink. Because then it would be so stinking clear what exactly had happened to make us feel frustrated or depleted. But unfortunately, boundaries aren’t universally clear because they’re deeply personal. The only question you ever have to ask yourself to figure out your boundaries is: how did that make me feel?
Today I looked at my phone to see approximately 67 text messages. Ugh, group texts I thought. And normally, I would have been distracted for 10 very precious minutes reading through what everyone said and making sure I sent a heart here and there so they know I saw the stream and then shoot out some pithy response instead of doing all the things I needed to do in that time frame – finish packing, call my credit cards and phone provider to let them know I was heading out of the country.
But I didn’t read them. Because I’m trying (hard) to pay attention to what makes me feel good and what doesn’t. And being a slave to immediate responses is not high on that list. Will people like my delayed (or never) response? Maybe not, but like boundaries, they aren’t there for others. Boundaries are there so we can feel like we’re respecting our deepest truth and staying fully open to that which makes us feel loved and full.
If you’ve never considered what your boundaries are, here are a few that you may not even realize you need:
The ins and outs of other people’s lives can sometimes make us feel ukky especially when we’re not particularly close with them and didn’t ask for the level of information we’re getting. Whether it’s someone emo-ing out Facebook or telling you way too much as you casually catch up between classes, note who is forcing more information on you than you asked for. It’s perfectly OK to stop following them on social or not engage in deep conversation with them.
How You’re Spoken To
If someone talks to you in a way that makes you feel small, insignificant, or disrespected in any way, you don’t have to “just take it” to not make a scene. Whether they called you crazy in a joking way or cut you off in a meeting, note how you’re being spoken to and the next time it happens calmly point it out.
You don’t have to text people back immediately. Or email them back immediately. And you sure as heck don’t have to look at their photos and like them just because they’re always asking, “OMG did you see my snaps of the beach house? It was so funny you need to go back and look.” Take things on your own time; you don’t owe anyone an explanation immediately (unless a teacher or boss or family member says it’s super urgent… then you might want to respond promptly).
When you’re trying to get things done, staying in the zone is important. But how are you supposed to do that when a friend or colleague is calling you every hour or stopping by your desk to chat. Tell them to come back in 30 minutes when you’re finished or if you pick up the phone, tell them you’ll have to call back. If you don’t tell someone that you’re busy, they’ll likely take up a lot of your precious work time.
Boundaries are important and often learned the hard way. Constantly ask yourself if someone or something is making you feel better or worse. If the answer is the latter, it’s time to respect and possibly verbalize your own boundary.