Respecting boundaries – yours and others

150403 boundary Maldon downhill raceCaught up with an old friend.

Had a bit of a rocky start. Our personalities clashed.

Some things I did – did not work for her. Her response – did not work for me.

We had overstepped each other’s boundaries, and it took some time until it was sorted out.

Let’s take a look at how boundaries between people actually work.

We all have our private space, both in a physical sense and emotionally. It’s where we rejuvenate, from where we create things.

For some, this space is bigger than for others. It’s different for everyone.

We also each have our own ways to process a situation.

For example, you show up at someone’s house unannounced.

Some people like your spontaneity and enjoy your visit. Other’s might feel invaded in their private space.

Or, you give advice to someone without it being asked for.

People might react adversely and push back, even if it came from good intentions.

This is also an invasion into private space – emotionally.

So, how can you deal with such situations?

Emotional intelligence helps find the best way.

Here a few clues.

First of all through respect – respect the private space inside yourself as well as in others.

So, when you drive past a friend’s  house and you are not sure whether they would enjoy a spontaneous visit, you could give them a call first.

Secondly, pay attention to the tone of their voice or body language. Be prepared to pull back if you sense hesitation.

Thirdly, ask for permission. This is particularly true when you would like to give some advice.

Even if the answer is “yes” be careful how you phrase the advice.

You could for example talk about how you do it – or you could talk about how a friend of yours does it.

Then the other person has a choice whether to take your advice or not.

Even better would be to wait until the other person asks for advice, which might never happen – but this is fine too.

Above all stay with yourself – no matter which side of the interaction you find yourself in.

Even if you are at the receiving end, you can respect your boundaries and say if something doesn’t work for you – again with respect.

You are in charge of your own change.

Trying to change another person doesn’t work.

But you can strengthen your emotional intelligence and learn to respect boundaries – yours, as well as others.

In fact, I have a program just for that:

Use it to your advantage.