The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are those who are benefitting from you having none.

The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are those who are benefitting from you having none.

When is it time to draw the line?

So many parameters in life are wide open to interpretation. These range from what you are willing to listen to in the form of humor, to where and/or when another person touches you, to when you are willing to take a phone call, or make yourself available to assist in any manner.

When a person is wide open to the full range of what other people presume that person’s boundaries to be, that person will soon find themselves being trespassed in one category or another. Those trespasses are not always intentional, nor are they always coming with malicious intent. To the contrary, some people just go about their daily lives doing as they see fit, without cause or concern for whether any aspect of what they are doing is acceptable to the receiving party.

In those circumstances, many of us just weather the behavior of the other party, and write it off with a shrug and an explanation akin to… “well, that’s just the way that they are.” Until one day, it just becomes too much. In that moment, a line is crossed and we are left with the need of explaining to the other party that whatever they are doing with frequency is (troublesome, annoying, disturbing, etc.)

The choice in how that is communicated to the offending party, makes all the difference in the world. The art of tact and diplomacy could not be more required than at such a moment. In many cases, this is a friend, loved one, spouse, child, employer, employee, student or teacher and each of the differing dynamics of those relationships come into play with regard as to how one might best communicate how the new boundary needs to be set. 

In some cases, it happens at a snapping point, where whatever the egregious behavior has been experienced one time too many, and then the offended party blurts out a response that is usually far more harsh or blunt than would normally be required. In such circumstances, that leaves the offending party set back on their heels and reeling with uncomfortable feelings that can often times destroy an otherwise great relationship.

In contrast, the option of tactful diplomacy used in a preemptive move, works much better. If you see a pattern of someone who is behaving in a means that is not to your liking, choosing to discuss it at the offensive moment is, in most cases, not the wisest of options. In many cases, it is far wiser to compartmentalize those feelings at the moment of offense and find a time under nonthreatening circumstances to gently and tactfully broach the topic with a friendlier means of communication. For one, you are not currently feeling the irritation of the crossed boundary when you are communicating, so your nonverbal body language is much more relaxed and nonthreatening. And, while you are in calmer circumstances, the choice for you to bring it up in casual conversation and mention something in passing, goes much further with the other party than doing it in a moment of confrontation. If you do it in confrontation, they are instantly on the defense, whereas if you do it at a later time, you can ease into the discussion and suggest that when they are desirous of doing “x” whatever that is, perhaps they might do “y” instead. 

It may appear that the two discussions will yield the same outcome, and perhaps that will prove true. But I would couch that thought with the perspective that part of the (potential) distinction between the two will boil down to your art of communication. If you read my musings, it is no secret that I love words. They are part of the ultimate expression. Learning to choose the right words and the proper sentence construction makes all the difference in the outcome you elicit.

Setting boundaries is fair game in life. Doing it without hurting a friendship along the way, is an art form. One that must be honed carefully and with a gentle mallet.

Happy Friday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!