There is a perception that speaking up for boundaries is somehow introducing conflict into a situation, or at very least, escalating it in an unkind way, like, everything was fine until you spoke up for your needs and now you made it weird. But not speaking up is not making the situation better, it’s just giving the other person more license to operate and communicating that you are okay with the behavior. There is no prize for being the world’s most stoic and accommodating person. A friendship that cannot survive a the momentary discomfort of you standing up for your needs is not actually a friendship worth holding onto.
Nobody loves being told that they are screwing up, obviously, but if you don’t have the ability to ever take any negative feedback along the lines of “Hey, could you not do that one thing anymore, thanks?” from a friend, YOU are the problem. When told that they are stepping on someone’s foot, good adult people will apologize and get off the foot and not perpetuate a FEELINGSDUMP about their need to really stand on feet sometimes. Communicating “Hey, that’s where my boundary is, thanks” IS KINDNESS. It is giving the other person the tools they need to be in a good relationship with you.
i just want to pour my soul out on someone and not have to worry about the mess i’ve made.
you remember too much, my mother said to me recently. why hold onto all that? and i said, where can i put it down?
anne carson, from “the glass essay”