After church this morning, Jack joined Kriss and me over tea in the community center. We had great conversation, lots of laughs, and a few jokes – thanks Jack!
Kriss mentioned that her house had become an unintended B&B this summer; friends from across the country landed on her doorstep, some for weeks. She even has her niece staying with her for a few months. She so wanted to tell the last friend, “no,” I’m tired of house guests, but she didn’t. The topic of how we don’t say what we want to say sometimes, and how we admire people who do. Why aren’t we honest with people? Are we honest with ourselves?
I mentioned that my sister-in-law lays down the law about house guests: “Dee, we’d love to have you visit, and you can stay only three nights.” (They live in Palm Beach.) Wow, and I’m family! Now, I take this personally, but only to a small degree. I do know that it’s not me, it’s that they want – and deserve – their privacy. Good for them to say “no,” or to set limits.
Have you ever wanted to say “no,” or set limits not just around house guests, but around your personal space, time, desires and person? Are you afraid you’ll hurt someone’s feelings? How many people can you think of right now who’ve said, “no” to your request? Did you survive? Is the person still your friend? Yes, and I hope so, should be the answers. How often do you say “no,” and though it may be tough, you’d glad you did? I believe that friends, family and others respect the word “no,” and don’t say it as often as they like either. People respect people who know themselves.
We want to be liked. We feel it’s important to say “yes” to requests because we may offend someone or lose a friend. Think about how often our parents said, “no!” “No,” is actually the first word we learn. We are brought up on “no”: we couldn’t do 10x the activities we explored when we were young. “No” was our parents’ middle name. Now, we want to share that middle name, but we question our motives.
For others to know who we are, what we want and need, how to treat us, and what we won’t and will do, we must set boundaries and limits. People close to me know that I won’t answer my phone late at night; late to me is 8:30. I get up at 4/4:30 a.m., so by 8 p.m. I’m sleep walking. People respect that. They also know that if they’re bored, waiting for a plane, or just in the mood to chat at 6 a.m., I’m awake. (I may not be back from the gym, but if I am, it’s a great hour to catch up.)
My childhood friend, Sally, doesn’t like to be hugged too often. She also knows that I’m a hugger! So, her “hug limit” is one, when we first see each other – she lives out-of-town – and one, when we say goodbye, that’s it! I respect that and it’s not a problem. This is a small “limit,” but it makes a point.
The next time someone wants to visit and you know that they want to stay for four, five or more days, just say how much you’d love to have them, and three nights is the max! They’ll survive, the friendship will too, and they’ll also find another pillow for the remaining days. When you want someone to respect your boundaries of foul language, of too many fwd’s on e-mail, of smoking, of borrowing items, whatever they are, let others know. No one, at least not that I know of, is clairvoyant. Knowledge is wonderful and useful.
Honesty is a beautiful thing!
Pass this along to a friend – for me. I’m asking.