- You planned a solo vacation to relax after several hectic months in your work and personal life.
- In general conversation, you shared this information with an acquaintance.
- Within 24 hours, the acquaintance called you up to tell you she had purchased an airline ticket to your destination and plan to share your hotel room.
How would you respond?
- Tell the acquaintance that you planned a solo vacation and do not want a hotel roommate.
- Allow the acquaintance to infringe on your plans and suffer in silence – wasting your money and your vacation leave to be miserable.
This is an actual situation that a friend shared with me recently. I begged her to respond with option #1 but she told me she could not do it. Even though she was clearly upset about it, she could not find the power within herself to voice her feelings to her acquaintance.
As women, we are socialized to be the “compromiser” in our relationships. Sometimes that balancing act creates a situation where we are perceived as “doormats” by others. Sometimes we start to believe it, too, and our behavior reflects it.
Some of us find it extremely difficult to say “No” to others. Some of us value the opinions of others more than our own opinions. Some of us allow others to disrespect us. These are all signs of the “doormat” syndrome and the need to establish some boundaries.
Here are some considerations for setting boundaries:
Consider yourself as #1 in your own life. Adopt my mantra – no one can treat me better than me.
Know yourself. Identify what is tolerable and intolerable to you in your various relationships.
Go with your feelings. If you are having negative feelings during an interaction with someone then you should examine those feelings to determine the internal root cause of them. Be OK with your discovery.
Communicate clearly. We have varying styles of communication with others in our relationships. Choose the best method of communication that will clearly state your boundary to others even if it varies by individual.
Beware of compromising to your detriment. You may experience feelings of guilt, fear of rejection, self-doubt which may lead to contemplating your boundaries. Don’t succumb to it.
It is OK to feel outraged when someone infringes on you. It is OK to voice your feelings in those situations. It is OK to set “healthy” boundaries in your romantic, peer, and familial relationships. It is OK to love yourself so much that you absolutely refuse to be disrespected.
Have you ever felt like a doormat in a romantic, peer, and/or familial relationship?