Every Little Thing Your Friends Say about You Adds Up
There are many different types of boundaries that you need to create in your life. We all know how we want to be treated and the truth is that we want to be treated well. There is one thing that doesn’t get talked about enough when it comes to boundaries though, and that is how we let people talk about us to other people. I’m mainly talking about how friends introduce you to others, if it’s not respectful or kind. For example, if they introduce you to other people as the difficult, picky, or bitchy friend. Sometimes our friends fight boundaries because they are new to them or are inconvenient.
The first thing you need to do when it happens is take the person aside and let them know that what they said was a little hurtful or rude. How well they listen to your concerns depends on how you bring it up, so don’t go off on them or be mean about it. Sometimes people don’t know that what they’re doing is a bad thing. They either think they are being funny, or they find a different meaning from the word they are using. It could also be a part of their personality. If it will help, you might want to consider bringing someone else to talk to this person with you, to validate what you are saying. Otherwise, they might think you are being overly sensitive or having a bad day that day, instead of taking what you say seriously.
When they introduce you negatively, they could be taking away your chance of giving a good first impression.
Instead, the other person forms their first impression from what your friend says about you as they introduce you. It takes away options as well, like how you interact with people or whether you will be able to have a real conversation with them later. Talking to the person who introduced you negatively and letting them know how you feel helps you set boundaries.
If they won’t listen, you may need to get a little confrontational. I don’t like doing that, as I feel it makes me look rude, but it can be necessary. Sometimes you may think that letting it slide is a better option, but other times you need them to respect you. You also need to consider that you are showing yourself respecting by standing up for yourself, and that’s even more important. Sometimes there isn’t an option because silence helps no one. It only helps keep the negative introductions going, and you’ll lose the opportunity for good conversation or friendships. They may be leary or not want to get to know you.
You can also make a difference by asking questions when you are being introduced to someone who is being introduced negatively. Ask questions like “what do you mean by that?” or “why is that the first thing you say about someone?” It helps get them realizing that they are saying something they shouldn’t be saying. You being an advocate might also make them think about why they’re doing it or make them think about what they say before they say it. If they bring it up with you later, then you can explain how you felt about it and why it wasn’t okay.
Ultimately, you have the right to say what people say about you or how they introduce you, especially when they are your friends. They should want to say good things about you. You also have a right to have your own boundaries. Be a person who asks questions as a place to start, so that you can be an advocate for yourself and others.