Something that’s become very apparent to me in running this blog is the need for healthy inter-personal boundaries with others whilst online. I don’t always get it right myself, I am human after all. I do often see others making what I think are “mistakes” in regard to what they share publicly and how they interact with me.
Authenticity is a lovely ideal, as is saying exactly what’s on your mind to everyone all the time – that is being completely open and transparent. HOWEVER, obviously not all those in the world mean good towards us, and there’s those that mean harm towards us.
Naivety has a charm, but can be burdensome when we’re having to look after people who’re perfectly capable of looking after themselves – especially when our lives may already be full of prior commitments !
A recent commenter, a new blogger, gave me his full life history (almost) – all of his values, how he feels on a a lot of things, a telephone number and email address in one comment. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this type of “speech” in a comment, and alarm bells ring every-time it happens. It’s a little socially uncalibrated, and comes across a little “weird”. I could see he was new online, so had to establish some boundaries with him, for the good of both of us actually. I wasn’t rude, but was very firm about it.
My experience is that if I’m not firm that people often just worm their way around boundaries, so boundaries NEED firmness, usually hostility isn’t required. If hostility is required to enforce a boundary, then I’d SERIOUSLY question the person’s suitability as someone I want to continue interacting with.
Anyway, luckily, most people are cool, and respect other’s boundaries.
Boundaries and taking time to get to know people aren’t “abnormal”, they are rather the opposite actually, more normal. It doesn’t mean people are “dishonest” or “lying”, just that trust takes time to establish. AND we do need our “space”/”privacy” and to be able to “feel safe” in what we do or do not disclose.
I actually I do like when people are enforcing their boundaries with me, and respecting mine. Each one in the relationship is taking responsibility for themselves. OR put another way they’re carrying their own weight and I’m not having to “look after” them, and vice versa – we’re treating each other as EQUALS.
Of course I do often inadvertently step over other’s boundaries too. I have a friend who works very hard, extremely long hours and I have on occasion sent him long emails. He’s pretty polite, just indicated that I could be being more “concise”. So that’s more how I interact with him now.
So there’s give and take too – not just blaming other people or getting annoyed. The healthy well balanced adult way to set a boundary, is to simply to state or indicate what we don’t want going on. Normal well balanced adults will generally respond positively. Simply ignoring people can work without stating what the boundary was, but it’s potentially a bit final and doesn’t really help the other person learn anything. Anyway, the situation and context would dictate what’s best.
I’ve had to implement rules, disclaimers and such on the blog. This is because some people just don’t get that they are doing anything wrong, in stepping over what most would consider ordinary boundaries. Some of those probably have personality disorders, but in other cases it seems people will just take and take, if they’re not told.
Boundaries – what do you feel about them ? What do you feel about other’s boundaries or lack thereof ?
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I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.
Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.
The Don Charisma Team