You have to know that you clearly defined your values back in step 1 – and be ok with that. If your values are so different, so be it. It’s ok if you’re not in each other’s lives any more.You can make other friends. Better friends who respect your boundaries.
When you’re not good at asserting yourself, you need a little more than that.
First off, you will make it a lot easier on yourself to assert your self at the first sign of something that crosses your boundaries.
This makes it easier on both parties because the longer you let things go, the more emotion & frustration you feel and you are more susceptible to wavering, and also because the person may not know that they crossed your boundary and will be caught off guard and possibly get upset that it wasn’t addressed sooner. Or maybe they’re embarrassed.
If you’re already past this point and it’s been happening for some time, you can start with “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this but didn’t want to hurt or upset you, but I have a problem with…”
STEP 1 – Prepare
First you must clearly define your values and boundaries, so you know where you want/need to draw the line.
Then, you have some time to let your nerves die down and really make sure you are certain, as well as plan out what you’re going to say. Defining boundaries may not be easy, especially in personal relationships, so writing them down so you really truly are certain of them can really help.
And when you’re ready to have the conversation, take a deep breath and remember the reason she you’re having the conversation. Also, almost always have the conversation in private.
STEP 2 – Deliver with Tact
Next, you are most likely asking this because you fear upsetting people when you assert yourself.You can navigate around this fear(and make it clear that you’re considering their feelings) by disarming the assertion with positivity of some type.
Here are a few examples-
- How to Breakup With Someone: “Listen, I’ve had a great time with you these last few months, and I haven’t come to this decision lightly because I really don’t want to hurt you, but for several reasons that are very important to me, I don’t think this relationship has long-term potential and I cannot continue to invest myself further in it”.
- How to Be a Good Friend: “Hey… I’m saying this because I care about you and really value our friendship and I would never want to ruin that, but Sandy, you have quite the mustache goin’ on there and I wouldn’t be a very good friend if I let you walk around town looking like without telling you. Here, I bought you a razor. And some industrial-strength scissors. Yikes.”
STEP 3 – Be clear & firm
You need to be clear and firm when you assert yourself. Avoid using phrases that make it sound like your decision isn’t already made up and final.
People who like to walk all over others will sniff these words out like a hound dog, so remove weak or shaky language like these words at all costs: You may even need to literally say “…and my decision is final.”
STEP 4 – Stay firm.
The last step, and probably the hardest step, is to remain firm and not back down. It is definitely hard, especially at first, since you feared doing this because of the dreaded backlash. And the truth is: it might go well, or they might not like you for it.
Yeah, tough stuff.
Just know this: If you assert yourself and go back on it, people will respect you even less than before and they will absolutely know that they can walk all over you.You have to trust that you did your best to deliver the news in a way that didn’t hurt them and that after the initial shock, they will either accept the new boundary or the relationship will end.
Last note – don’t assume that it’s going to go badly. It’s good to be prepared just in case, but very often if you do assert yourself in the right way as I’ve outlined above, you will be heard and your boundaries will be respected.