Boundaries and the Friend Zone
Today I would like to address one of the most confusing parts of being single-Boundaries.
Boundaries are those imaginary lines you mark in the sand telling another person what you will and won’t put up with, what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior. Everyone’s boundaries are different and you set different boundaries for different people and groups in your life.
The boundaries you set for your children are going to be different from boundaries you set for friends and/or co-workers. Boundaries are there so that you feel safe and validated. When someone knows your boundaries they are free to have as much fun as they want knowing they aren’t going to offend or piss you off.
The boundary I find most people trying to move or obliterate is that of acceptable behavior when it comes to the “Friend Zone”. Now someone, male or female, who says they are your friend should treat you like a sister/brother. There is teasing, hugging, a little peck of a kiss on the cheek or forehead, an arm lazily wrapped around a shoulder for comfort, joking, fighting, companionship, honesty, being there for each other and making sure the other is safe.
The problem is some of these friends, even though you have given them specific parameters as to what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior, will try to over step-a smack on the ass, the hug that involves a lot of hand movement and grinding, innuendos about your underwear, your boobs, legs, skin, the list goes on.
But what you feel when you are confronted with these behaviors makes your hair stand up and you are instantly pissed. And with good reason. Some people feel boundaries are frivolous, mean nothing and stomp all over them. Time and time again you say “that behavior is not acceptable for our relationship” and they say ok. Promise not to do it again. But do.
They whine, ask why they can’t do X (which is usually trying to get in your pants) and you are constantly forced to put up your defenses every time you are together. THEY have decided they no longer want to be in the “friend zone” and don’t realize they are making it impossible for you to be friends anymore.
Guys, I want you to understand something. If a girl states exactly what she wants from the relationship-friendship, friends with benefits, a significant other-and you want to be in her life you need to respect whichever capacity she is willing to share her life with you.
Now there is a caveat to this. I know a lot of people, male and female, who say one thing but they themselves are the first ones to step over their own boundaries! Confusing to say the least to the person on the other end!
If you set boundaries, you as well as the other person must stay within them. This means if you say you just want to be friends you cannot curl up in their lap, wrap your arms around them and nuzzle their neck because you “need to be comforted”. And you can’t get pissed when you find yourself sitting on an up and coming flag pole! What did you expect to happen?
I have a couple great male friends but along the way many have been kicked to the curb. No ceremony, no begging, no second chances. Oh, I used to give 40th chances but I found I was exhausted! Always fighting to keep the line where I put it.
I set very clear boundaries; in fact I have a little spiel I give when letting a new person into the “friend zone”. I say “I would love to hang out, do stuff friends do. There is nothing you have that I want, you are androgynous (and at this I put my hand out and do a one handed “wax on, wax off” motion in the direction of their crotch) like a Ken doll. Capiche?”
All of them laugh, all of them agree but only one in ten actually stays within the boundaries I set. So what do I do? Fucking kick ‘em to the curb the first time they overstep my boundaries. Yup, cut ‘em off at the knees. No second chances.
Yes they’re pissed. First they beg, say they are sorry and that it won’t happen again. They give excuses-they were drunk, you are just so pretty, you gave me mixed signals etc.-but that is all that they are. Then they get mean and call me all kinds of names but what they are really doing is projecting their guilt onto me. Another reason I was right in getting them out of my life. I don’t want anyone in my life who cannot take responsibility for their actions.
Tell me I’m wrong, that if this has happened to you they NEVER cross the line again. Or is it more likely they do it again the next time you are together? People treat you exactly how you allow them to. My best girlfriend’s ex-husband used to tell her “you must be ok with the way I treat you, you are still here aren’t you?” Well she’s not anymore Ass Hat.
What to Do When People Cross Your Boundaries
Once a person crosses your boundaries and you let them stay in your life do you notice how stressful it is then to hang out with them? That instead of being able to relax and be yourself you are now on constant guard against their advances? You are stiff, don’t know what to say because you don’t want to say something they will see as a mixed signal and find the time you spend with them a waste because you weren’t able to relax and just be you?
I know people who think “let’s go get dinner” is a precursor to “let’s have sex.” How they take that leap I have no idea but they do and that is why it is impossible to hang with people who overstep your boundaries. Even the most innocuous suggestion takes on a whole different meaning to them.
Why keep putting yourself through this shit! That is why the first time they cross the line you need to cut them lose. They are obviously not your friend because they disrespect what you want. Friends embrace what their friends’ want, what makes them happy, what makes them comfortable. Friends respect each other and don’t put their desires ahead of another person if those desires are in complete opposition to what the other person wants.
My advice to you out there who are being asked by someone to be their friend: Realize you are being given a blessing unlike any other! If you truly see the person as someone you like because they are awesome people and you would love to do stuff, hang out, laugh, have someone who will be there when your world is crashing and burning, be their FRIEND. Quit trying to put what you want to get out of the relationship ahead of what the other person is willing to give.
If you go into a friendship with the hopes of fucking that person you need to back away. You are taking a person’s trust and goodwill and all the beautiful that they are and basically saying it doesn’t matter to you. Stop seeing the world through what you want, what you can take and start seeing it through what you will gain through their friendship.
If you feel the other person’s feelings are changing, headed toward the romantic side, address it, don’t assume and start over stepping boundaries. Maybe they are sending mixed signals and you need clarification, maybe their feelings are changing and a new kind of friendship is beginning. Ask, don’t assume. If the relationship is going in a direction you don’t want then you need to be the one to walk away because it is best for YOU.
When a person offers friendship look at it as a blessing and in this world they can be few and far between. Be honest with yourself, be true to your friends and your life will be a much better place with them by your side.