My People Boundaries List

Last week, I had two trying days, negotiating my friendships. Or I thought they were friendships. (It’s no longer clear one way or the other.)

Regardless, I’ve had to figure out how to deal with these relationships. Particularly the sadness, abandonment, and rejection.

So, I fired up Evernote and put down a heading, Decisions about Boundaries. Let’s call it the Boundaries List.

Then, I wrote down some subheadings — Focus on, Beware, Be Cautious, Acquaintances, Non-Starters, One-way Streets, and Let Sleeping Moments Lie. Under each one, I put in as many as names as possible, including the two people from the last two days’ roadtrip through Disappointmentia.

  • Focus On — Budding friendships or relationships that I am going to focus on, rather than wallowing over all the ones that went belly up. Funny how all the sad memories come clamoring against barricades when one friendship hits a bad note.
  • Beware — stay away from these people or treat them like a pair of dead socks. Distance.
  • Be Cautious — they didn’t intend to hurt you. You just got pushed down the pyramid of priorities. Your expectations are high these ones because they’re probably great people who bring beauty to your friendships. But they dip into life like submarines.
  • Acquaintances — this could be the hardest group to do, too. This is where you should put people like mine, or those who have long made you question who you are to them. There will be pain. But seeing their names here will help let go.
  • Non-starters — you tried to strike up a conversation or shoot for a coffee, but ended up with a bag of nothing. Oh well.
  • One-way Streets — There may be some overlaps here with previous groups, but this one should really be for repeat-offenders.
  • Let Sleeping Moments Lie — I feel like this is the artsy sister of Be Cautious, that sister who has wanderlust and seems too busy notice that you’ve let her crawl into your heart. Sometimes, like flings or affairs, it was just a moment between two friends. And now that moment must sleep. Let it sleep.

At first, I had Focus On at the bottom of the list, but I found that that made me focus on the negative. So, top of the list, it went! And what a difference. I get to mourn what was lost but set my sights on the new friendships that may perhaps be those ones that will outlive all the rest.

Try it. It works for me.