Yup, I’m a ‘Bad’ Friend, But I’m Happier Now
“A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.”
No one is perfect. Everyone has their good and their bad days, so we need to quit thinking of people in concrete narratives.
I have made so many mistakes in my life:
- I have hurt loved ones
- I have failed people
- I have let others down (sometimes again and again)
- I have been the ‘bad’ friend
- I have been a selfish partner
- I have ignored the needs of those around me
Do I consider myself a bad person? I don’t think so…
I don’t wake up in the morning, grinning from ear to ear, crafting an intricate plan of malice to inflict onto others. I genuinely do not try to hurt those around me in life (usually, at least). I, typically, try to live my life for myself, without harming those around me.
Do I hurt people’s feelings sometimes?
Do I let people down from time to time?
(Hopefully) not as often as I use to, but I am still a work in progress (and it takes a lot of time to be dethroned from being queen of the perpetual canceler of plans).
The solution is saying ‘no’ to more things than you are typically comfortable with.
I also do not volunteer to do things when I am in a good mood because I know that two weeks from now, that dinner party for six I promised to host might not sound so good anymore.
I have started to put up some restrictions.
I am not your curry connoisseur. I love to cook curry, yes, this is true, but it also takes hours, depending on the recipe. I do not like to be summoned and guilted, if I do not feel like providing your spice of life right when you want it.
I am not your go to dinner party host. Do I love to host? I love it. I simply adore it. Do I love cooking for other people? Yes, but on my terms baby! I no longer am ‘okay’ with being ‘told.’ Unless you are doing the cooking, do not agree to hosting a dinner, unless Dominos will be doing the catering.
By learning to say no and setting boundaries, most people in my life now understand and respect said boundaries.
Everyone has a taker in their life though and this person is cheeky. This person thinks you owe them everything: a ride, a dinner, a gift, a meal and somehow manages to get you to actually do it for them.
The issue with the ‘takers’ in your life are, is (test this out if you do not believe me) even if you give them exactly what they want, and are clear with them that this is all you are able to provide, they will fleetingly forget about it. Sooner than you know it, the next shiny thing they want to pluck away from you will be the ‘last’ thing they ask you for. Don’t fall for it. They won’t change, so you have to.
I’m sure the question you are thinking is ‘Have you turned into Scrooge McDuck and just do everything for you, by you, for yourself?’ No, of course not! Probably the latter. I would say, for those who I love and have a positive, healthy, reciprocal relationship with, the caring and sharing has increased.
Those spontaneous urges to cook a wonderful dish for dinner come more frequently, when you do not feel demanded to do so.
A cake on a Sunday afternoon for no reason? Why not!? It makes me happy to make it and to be able to share it, so I am winning in more ways than one.
Meeting a loved one for coffee or a meal and it was just so damn enjoyable? Let me get the bill because I just appreciate the company so much.
Expect that I am going to do any of the aforementioned things? Or even worse….assume….well…I might do it this one time, to not cause a scene, but I’ll probably be avoiding you in the foreseeable future.
Would everyone who knows me claim I am a wonderful person? No, most certainly not; I am sure there are some people out there with a thesis of my wrong doings.
I am not a perfect person, but I am trying.
The trying might not seem monumental at times, but the effort is always there. The difference between the old me and the new me, is that I no longer care if my boundaries do not work with your life. If you’re sad because I am not meeting all of your expectations, maybe you should reflect on all of your expectations of me.
Think about it. When you are mad at someone for letting you down, ask yourself if you are being reasonable with what you are expecting of them.
There are times that I have let people down and it was completely my fault.
Agreeing to meet friends for dinner, double booking dinner and not even going to one of the events I planned?
Yup, I have done that and have been very much told by my friends how bullshit of a move that was and they were completely right.
Been guilted because I did not make you the exact meal you wanted when you came over for dinner? Yup, I have done that, but I am also not a restaurant, so go call Gordon Ramsey if you expect that kind of service.
Relationships are meant to have ups and downs, but you can make the roller coaster smoother by creating boundaries for what people expect of you. It may be hard in the beginning, but over time, people will get use to the new you. They will get use to it or they will get out — that is their choice.