Tag: boundaries

Moving Out and My Relationship With My Dad

I’ve written before about how my dad constantly lost his temper at me when I lived with him and that I wanted to move in part to get some space from him. I’ve been living alone in my new apartment since Thursday. I’ve still been in touch with him. We’ve had some good conversations on Facebook.

He can still come on too strong with his advice, and still has to get his way (he’s insisting on dropping off some kitchen items that I don’t want), but he hasn’t insulted or snapped at me since the day I moved. It’s too early to say that we’ll wind up having a good relationship, but I hope that it continues to get better now that we have more breathing room.

If he goes too far, at least I can end the conversation more easily and decompress in my apartment now. If it doesn’t work out with him, I’ll be sad and disappointed, but I’ll be able to cope.


How to Say No to an Open Ended Request

Someone on Ask Metafilter asked how they can say no to a colleague’s requests for help with projects and events that she leaves open ended. I suggested that they say, “I’m unable to do that, but good luck with your project/event.” That way, they can say no while expressing goodwill towards their colleague, which I think could help smooth over the rejection.

Recent Dating Mishaps That I Wish I Had Handled Differently

I’ve had dating mishaps with a couple of different people recently that I wish I had handled better.

I was planning a date with a guy I met online. He asked, “What’s your comfort level?” and I said, “I’m fine with having sex on the first date.” He said, “You have to wait for what I got, but I can offer cuddling.” I said, “That’s cool,” and I meant it. I thought that “cool” was well known as a positive word, but he didn’t take it that way. He said, “It sounds like you’re unhappy with that?” I said, “Not unhappy, I’m agreeing with you :),” throwing in a smiley face to reassure him. I learned that I need to be more expressive when people set boundaries like this so that they don’t think I’m unhappy with them for setting boundaries.

Later in our exchange, I said that I’d buy us something to eat, cuz it sounded like he wanted me to pay for both of us, although I’m not sure that’s what he meant. He said, “Are you selfish with your money?” I said, “I’m very angry that you’re accusing me of being selfish with my money.” Accusations that feel unfair are a hot button for me. He said, “This is why I hate text. If you were here, you’d see that I’m smiling.” I jumped from thinking that he was making a false accusation to thinking that he was making fun of me, so I was still fuming, and I stopped replying. Now that I’m calmer, I think that he may have been trying to thank me in an ironic way for paying for the date. I regret that I took him too seriously and blew him off. If I could do this interaction over again, I’d say, “Yeah, I make Scrooge look like an angel,” to play along. I might have really missed out…he shared my interest in psychology. He seemed enthusiastic about meeting me, cuz he said, “I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun. You might wind up liking me a lot.” I let my temper and difficulty reading social cues get in the way of what could’ve been the beginning of something great 😦

There was another guy, Charlie, who I had already gone out with once, but we didn’t recognize each other at first when we started talking again. When we figured it out, he rejected me again, and I was frustrated that I turned to have wasted my time on someone who had already turned out to not be a match for me. I took my frustration out on him, saying, “Than you for saving me the time and energy from dealing with you again.” He didn’t retaliate, but sent a classier reply than I deserved, saying, “Sorry. Good luck.” Looking back, it wasn’t his fault that we crossed wires again. If I could do that interaction differently, I would’ve said, “Yeah, it’s Shae. Sorry for the mix-up.” I would take the blame to smooth out the awkwardness.

A previous therapist said that I need to have insight into the situation earlier in my interactions with people. I wish I could make that happen. I keep failing, and I feel horrible about it. I don’t wanna be an asshole. I wanna be kind to everyone, including the people I date.

My goals from these mishaps for doing better in the future are to:

  • Get someone else’s opinion if someone upsets me again so that I can gauge how appropriate my initial reaction is and if I need to adjust it
  • Send even clearer signals that I’m okay with peoples’ boundaries by saying something like, “I’d be happy to do that (as in, doing x instead of y).”
  • Realize when a situation isn’t the other person’s fault and adjust accordingly.

I’m trying to become a better person, and, under that umbrella, a better dater/partner.

Take Anything Less than an Enthusiastic Yes as a No

The writer of a letter to an advice column, who kept persisting when women responded ambiguously to their romantic overtures, was told to take ambiguous answers in the future as a no (Captain Awkward). This is an important social skill cuz some people are uncomfortable with rejecting someone directly. While it’s okay to prefer a different type of communication, it’s still important to respect their boundaries. Taking an unenthusiastic response as a no will also protect you cuz it’ll prevent wasting your energy on someone who isn’t interested. It’s a win win!

Here are some examples of enthusiastic responses to look for:

  • “That sounds fun!”
  • “I’d love to.”
  • “Yes.”

I made similar mistakes when I was younger. For example, when I was in high school, I asked someone out from the running team. He said, “I don’t want to date during running season.” I waited until the season for practice ended and then asked him out again, and he got upset. I’m more cautious now. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve just let go, partly so that he wouldn’t get upset, and partly cuz it’s better to hold out for someone who’ll wanna make time for me even if they have a busy schedule. I recently reconnected with two old friends, and the warm responses I got when I asked them about getting together or scheduling an im session felt so much better than the lukewarm response from my long ago crush. Holding out for people who show enthusiasm about you is worth it!

Works Cited

“#1009: Persistence is grossly overrated in dating and romance.” Captain Awkward. 14 Aug. 2017. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.

No More Waiting and Waiting

Last week, I went on a date with someone who I allowed to keep me waiting for three hours until he finally showed up. I was waiting at a bookstore in a mall, and I got so tense and anxious that I couldn’t enjoy browsing the books. The situation brought back bad memories of waiting for hours for other dates, even with people I was in a relationship with. People I have been friends with have also kept me waiting for long periods of time. Both friends and dates have also stood me up altogether. I dunno why people keep treating this way, but I’ve decided not to put up with it anymore. From now on, I’ll wait fifteen minutes past my meeting time with someone, and that’s it.

Your Safety and Comfort are More Important than Someone’s Feelings

If someone you just met wants to give you a ride or hang out in a not-public place, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to arrange your own transportation and insist on staying at a public place, even if upsets them.

If someone wants to have sex with you, and you don’t want to, or you want to sometime, but aren’t ready yet, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say that you’re not ready, even if it upsets them.

I’ve done things that I’m uncomfortable with and things that have compromised my safety cuz I’ve been so worried about someone being disappointed or getting angry with me. After talking to my therapist, I understand that my safety and comfort are more important than someone’s feelings.

The same is true for you. If someone gets upset with you for putting up boundaries, that’s their problem, not yours.