Boundaries in Communication

Last night I delivered a webinar about communication to a group of women. Men were invited although none were in attendance which was a shame as the perception from men would have been nice. Anyway; the topic of texting came up.

What was of interest is the number of women; some single, some married who all shared that the hate texting and those who are dating were especially strong in their opinion of how much the men they go out with text. Interesting? Or normal? It depends on which gender you are I guess.

They asked how to combat the life of texting. Others wanted to know not specifically about texting; but how to have more face to face interactions with others. Well; it’s pretty simple. Set boundaries. Here are a few tips:

1- Recognize that you don’t have to accept what others expect. Just because someone sends you a text doesn’t mean 1) you have to reply that instant, 2) that you have to allow it at all. If you don’t want to respond right when it comes in; then understand that you do not have to. It’s really an invasion to whatever you are doing at that moment. If someone thinks it’s appropriate to text you at 11:30 at night; then explain to that person that you don’t accept texts that late. Remember you don’t have to allow what isn’t right for you to become your life.

2- Explain your expectations/wishes/desires about how you want communicate. For example; one lady shared that she gets texts and phone calls from friends all day and she’s working so she can’t respond. By simply letting people know you will respond during whatever hours and that you are working this hopefully will decrease those interruptions. Now; if it doesn’t then take the next step as you evaluate if those people are even respecting you in the first place.

When my biological mother and I started our relationship there were a lot of boundaries to establish. My mother would call and scream at the top of her lungs how much she wished she never moved to Dallas. She hated life and wanted to go back to Houston. This was a daily thing; and very taxing to say the least! We had to talk about what was and was not acceptable if we expected to go forward. Once we worked through the root issues we were able to progress and now have a healthy relationship.

3- You not establishing boundaries for you is your fault.┬áIf you don’t ever set boundaries for how others communicate with you; then you cannot complain about what you don’t like. You are enabling others to continue the pattern that they created and they will because why wouldn’t they? You will get what you get from others until you make the choice to communicate effectively with others what you need in your life.

There was a time with my biological mother where she treated me like her father treated her; as a servant. Instead of asking me for a drink at my home; she would hold her glass up simply say ‘more’. No please no ask. Just an order. Needless to say I was infuriated by how she was treating me. I started resenting her more than I had already hated her! Once I explained to her how I felt in how she was treating me our communication changed.

Overall; the manner in which we communicate has changed in recent years. No longer is it going over for tea in the afternoon; it’s an all day twitter fest, text fiesta; and everything else that is non-stop. Getting peace of mind comes with understanding what is and isn’t working for you; and then making the necessary changes to bring better communication and in the end; better relationships.