Nobody knows what your boundaries are until you convey them through your actions.
So many people have asked me variations of “I’ve been on a few dates with someone and I really like them, but they’ve busted my boundaries a few times. What should I say to them? How should I ‘make’ them respect my boundaries?”

If someone you barely know has already crossed your boundaries, that’s all the information you need to walk away.

No date, no sex, for that matter, is that good that it warrants second-guessing and silencing yourself. In fact, you deliberating about how to address a veritable stranger’s inappropriate or even abusive behaviour is a code red alert. You’re violating yourself.

It doesn’t matter if they ‘give really good date’ or fireworks shoot out of you during sex. At the end of the day, what’s to ‘like’ about this person if you can’t like yourself enough to own and create your boundaries? Also, if someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, they don’t respect you.

The bigger question is, “What am I saying to and about myself that would make me think that there’s a future with someone who’s already wasted no time busting my boundaries?”

Or ask, “What has gone on in my past that would make me receptive to this situation? Where else have I felt, thought and acted similarly? Who or what does this person remind me of, and what am I trying to get or avoid?”

Given that you haven’t established a boundary of a relationship yet (hopefully), it’s tricky to have conversations about their boundaries. This is especially so when it’s off the back of you not having yours anyway. Dating is a hypothesis to suss out initial interest and fit. You have all the info you need! You’re incompatible. A conversation pointing out boundary issues doesn’t fit the situation. It will seem weird given that you’re 1) veritable strangers, 2) dating, and 3) can walk away.

They’re just not that special that you should start and build an involvement or relationship with boundary issues in the foundations. People unfold. This person is showing you their boundaries and they don’t fit with yours.

You’re getting an easy opt-out without having to have gone so far as to get into a relationship with them. This is a reprieve. Vote for who you and what you truly need, desire and deserve by walking away.

Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to ‘please’ or protect yourself from others? My book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon), is out now.

The Joy of Saying No by Natalie Lue book cover. Subtitle: A simple plan to stop people pleasing, reclaim boundaries, and say yes to the life you want.
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