“I don’t want to have to ‘handle’ people.”
“I don’t want to be a hardass.”
“I get so tired of saying ‘no’.”
I see a lot of people who don’t like how they have to act in order to be successful leaders (or parents…or people in relationships with others).
Maybe you realize there’s a problem — an employee is being rude to her coworkers, or your friend keeps borrowing your stuff without asking — and so you muster your courage to say something.
Already this feels uncomfortable, but you figure the other person got the message and you move on.
Except that person maybe behaves better for a week, or a month, and then gradually, the crappy behavior creeps back in.
And you’re frustrated, cause hey, you already *talked* to them about this. Are they trying to make you be a jerk to them?
This is what I’d call a “halfway boundary.”
You took a good step to speak up, and if you did it well, you made your point clearly. But then you thought your job was done, and all the change needed to be taken on by the other person.
I’m sorry to break it you, but that’s not how boundaries work. Horses don’t stay within your acre just because you stopped them from leaving one time. Dogs don’t keep off the couch after the first time you kick them off. People are the same way.
Your walls need to be consistent in order to be effective.
This is so important I’m gonna say it twice: YOUR WALLS HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT TO BE EFFECTIVE.
You can’t be strong one or even two times and expect people to behave the way you want them to. You are essentially being a teacher; you are providing behavior modification. You have to repeat that shit over and over.
So surprise: this situation that requires boundaries is going to change BOTH of you. You will have to challenge yourself to become stronger, clearer, and more consistent. You’ll have to grow just like the other person will.
I never said it would be easy, but I *promise you* it will be WORTH it.