Thursday, February 28, 2013

Friendship Boundaries

by M. J. Joachim

Friendship is a funny thing. People often get to know you, bits and pieces at a time. Bonding is rarely automatic, except perhaps in the initial stages when you seem to connect about everything on every level.

Natural instincts promote the ethereal feeling of bliss, and you open up more and more – probably a little more than you actually should. You share things because you can, never thinking those same things might be used to offend or hurt you at a later date.

Through the months and years, your friendship becomes quite familiar. You know how to push each other’s buttons, but for the most part you refrain from doing so.

Then it happens. Your friend knows a personal detail about you and doesn’t hold back. Under the guise of “helping you” that same friend attempts to make you off balance, by throwing a dagger (or several) aimed and focused squarely in your direction.

In the name of friendship, you try to resolve the situation quickly, knowing full well no benefit of the doubt should be given at all, but daring to risk doing so on the off chance this friend is merely having a bad day.

Instead you run into accusations and assaults against your personality, harsh words about where you’ve come from and why it makes you so inept to adequately judge the situation correctly.

What can one do with that, except to walk away? No person in their right mind would treat another so poorly. No friend would willingly tear open past wounds, in the name of being helpful.

I’ve heard it said many times. “Be friendly to all, but open your heart to very few.” These are words to love by. For when you open your heart too freely, many will use it to crush you. Bitterness breeds where they trod – anger, resentment and negative emotions, things that should never be allowed to fester and grow.

How do you handle negativity and rejection, disguised as kindness in your life? Do you promote the well-being of self, while trying to minimize engaging in the unhealthy relationship as it presents itself? Are you a self-doubter, putting others first regardless of their behaviors, listening to their excuses and feeling bad for them, instead of being true to yourself and the boundaries required to preserve your sanity?

I’m eager to learn your thoughts about this topic. Please share them in the comments and let’s discuss this further. Thank you!

As always, I wish you only good things.
Thank you for visiting Effectively Human.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Friendship (dogs), Nha Le Hoan, Creative Commons Attribution
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