Monday, March 16, 2009

Making new best friends: part 5

Setting personal boundaries..

Some of you who have been reading this series regularly are saying:

So, that's fine and all. I'm fine and all, but what do I when THEY are not fine, and they overwhelm me?

If you are just joining us, we're talking about making new best friends. There's nothing as special as a friendship. Like an English bone china teacup, friendships are beautiful and delicate, but they can easily be tipped over.

If you are just joining us, the other posts are here:
part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. You can read them in any order.


By now we are well into a friendship with someone, and we find that there's an imbalance there. You have convinced yourself that the Lord is first in your life and all your needs will be met by Him, but the friend in question is pawing at you, draining you.. sucking the life right out of you.. now what?

First things first. If I did not have a Sovereign God, I would feel like the world rested upon my shoulders. I would feel that it is my complete and utter responsibility to carry this person into a better position emotionally and spiritually. If you are a compassionate person with a gentle spirit, you are more prone to being taken advantage of in this way.

Don't misread what I am saying. Having mercy and compassion is a blessing! It is a good thing! I, personally, wish I had more compassion. Since I'm still working on developing that aspect, I can not say I have a lot of personal experience with setting boundaries with people. You see, I just have them up naturally. I can't explain why or how this works, but it is just easier with some people than others. (I should tell you that I have been accused of being intimidating on more than one occasion)

I know from what people tell me that even the most caring, compassionate and patient people will eventually come to the end of themselves, usually sucking their entire family down with them into an overwhelming abyss. So, sooner or later, we will all need to set some boundaries with people.

I probably could do another entire series on setting boundaries.. hmmm..... but for now, let's just review some basic ideas.

1. You are not responsible for the world.

2. You are not responsible for anyone's happiness. Each person has to decide to be happy.

3. You have a responsibility to God, yourself and your family to: sleep, eat, drink and breathe. No one should take these basic necessities away from you. (You can choose to defer sleeping or eating for a while, but it has to be your choice--not someone guilting you into anything)

Now for some less than basic thoughts...

1. You have the privilege of being friends with anyone you want to be friends with.. (even if someone else is "enemies" with them)

2. You have the privilege of making healthy choices for yourself, even when your friends are not doing so.

3. You do not need to explain everything to everyone. You have permission to be misunderstood once in a while. Keep your conscience clear before God and explain everything to Him.

4. You have permission to curtail a friendship in a gracious way, if need be.

These are some of my thoughts on setting healthy boundaries for ourselves when making friends. Do you think I should write more about boundaries??


2 comments:

Mrs. Parunak said...

I'm one of those "compassionate" types. Boundaries are way hard for me. I usually only manage to set them by getting grumpy and hurting the other person's feelings, and they end up thinking I hate them when really all I wanted was a little space. Sigh. Any tips?

Rina said...

Just wanted to thank you for this series again. You've helped me to overcome my fears enough to head to a convention this week (http://intostillwaters.com/2009/04/15/out-of-the-comfort-zone-and-a-thank-you-to-you/)!