In the last 6 months, I explored different modes of living and learning by 1) leaving my 9–5 job, one which I felt extremely restricted in terms of mobility and creativity 2) by making academic pursuits in Singapore a priority and 3) growing my business a lot more aggressively that resulted in quite a good result.
Okay, disappointingly, I decided that I didn’t enjoy sitting in classrooms learning psychological theories. I didn’t enjoy one bit having to memorize and regurgitate theories for examinations, which makes up a huge percentage of the grading system. I learn a lot better by trial and error, by doing my own research, according to my needs at any one point. I learn the best by having skin in the game. Something that I’ll talk about later in this article.
Kantian Values Don’t Scale
I remembered reading a dating advice book, Models by Mark Manson at a tender age of 22–23. That book introduced me to a basic philosophy. Like it or not, dating and relationships are closely related to basic life philosophy. To name a couple: how you handle rejection and how you choose your life values, ethics and virtue.
Mark proposed the idea of vulnerability as a central theme in his book. He’s also an advocate of Kantian values and proposed that one should act towards everyone universally as a means and not an end.
I bought that philosophy for half a decade. On the dating side of things, it worked out alright, In fact, I accredit a lot of my motivation and success in my life by chancing across books such as The Game by Neil Strauss and Models by Mark Manson.
However, as I got deeper into the ‘self-improvement’ world, you can’t help to think that some of the philosophies that work nicely on paper or theory, don’t scale in real life.
For E.G. Mark argues that in relationships, the best way to change your relationships is to change yourself. That’s also loosely based on the ‘assortment theory’, a psychological researched theory that suggests that your behaviour determines other people’s behaviour. Yes, that sounds nice on paper. Yes, you should change yourself for a better outcome. However, no matter how much you ‘change yourself’, there are going to be assholes in the world. One should be more careful when interpreting such advice, for he may fall into a mode of constant self-blame or criticism.
There came a point in my life where I decided I didn’t need to be ‘a better person’, more virtuous or a ‘better version of myself’ to anyone. I simply decided that some people are just assholes and that the majority of human beings (including myself) are self-centred creatures.
No matter how virtuous or moral, you can’t be universally nice to everyone. No, let’s put it another way, you aren’t universally nice to everyone.
The former is a belief, the latter is an observance. Kantian values don’t scale
If psychological theories suggest one way, then why does one have adverse results in real life?
Enter Nassim Taleb — a Clearer Way to Do and Think
Enter Nassim Taleb and his work: Skin in The Game. Like all good books, I went through it a single setting. Like all good books, you can relate to them in real life, hence taking your full attention for the next couple of hours (or days).
Taleb argues that the majority of the social sciences from economics to psychology in general lack real-world application. He argued less than 40% of psychology studies are replicable. In simple terms: they don’t work, or may even work in reverse in the real world.
He also proposed the central idea of skin in the game. The idea that one should be connected to reality and take be made to take up a proportionate amount of risk for their actions and decisions.
Skin In The Game
In academia, there’s no difference. In the real world, there is.
You take this heuristic and apply it across all of the self-help, fitness, business, motivational advice industry. How many of them operate within the skin in the game?
For one, I never liked business students that used buzzwords such as ‘venture building’ or bankers attempting to sell me on financial jargon that I can explain better than them. I never liked employees that get paid regardless of performance. I never liked women that demanded everything to be served to them on the first date. I liked people that operate with skin in the game as I have attempted to operate (or get others to operate) in my life.
You start studying up on evolutionary psychology theories only when you’re interested in bettering your chance with the girl next door. You take statistics and probability a lot more seriously when you’re option trading with real cash. Concepts like statistical significance suddenly click when you run a digital advertising campaign and you have to make decisions based on data such as 100 uniques.
You don’t hire a fitness coach who is overweight. You don’t hire a dating coach that can’t hold a conversation. You’ll rather have a business partner that has done 700 deals compared to a student with first-class honors in a Harvard business degree.
Academia in Singapore
I found out really quickly that academic pursuit in Singapore is dry and mechanical, both academically and culturally. Everyone goes to class, nods their head, goes home and attempts to memorize for examinations. The students are more interested in scoring for assignments as compared to having an active discussion of the course material.
Not to mention that the examinations are structured in a way that promotes regurgitation as opposed to real-world application. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed reading the research in academic textbooks. However, I found myself refusing to memorize and regurgitate content for examinations. Content that can be Googled in a couple of minutes. I don’t disagree with Universities, however, the heavy emphasis on examinations in Singapore that are based on rote learning, essay assignments that promote style over substance makes my eyes bawl.
Now that I’m a lot older (hence, giving less of a fuck) I’m persuaded that the education system and education culture in Singapore isn’t equipped for real learning. It’s no surprise that a huge percentage of successful Singaporean entrepreneurs that I know of didn’t come from stellar academic backgrounds.
I didn’t learn my lesson. The academic system and culture in Singapore never worked out for me since I was a teenager. Perhaps ac-ing and b-ing my grades in a Summer program in Berkeley persuaded me otherwise, I naively thought that the Singaporean and US education system (and culture) are similar. I’m currently deciding if I should put the books to rest, go to Russia, get drunk with Russians, have skin in the game and finish up a pursuit I quit on a couple of years ago (solely for bragging rights).
What are personal values and why are they important in dating, relationships or just life at large? When I was 19 or so, a friend of mine came to me complaining that she was being emotionally bullied by a close friend of mine. I softly persuaded him to stop it, despite him being a close friend of mine. I didn’t like bullies, for I was in a somewhat similar position once.
You could argue that by me standing up to my friend, I was acting out of my values. I stood up for my values regardless of external circumstances, whether he’s my good friend or not. I behaved according to my values and persuaded him otherwise, risking a potential loss of friendship with him.
So, What Are Values?
Values can be said to be internal compasses. They are the judgment about how important something is to us. There are principles that are held internally regardless of external circumstances. Sometimes, they are principles and judgments that you may even sacrifice and die for. They can comprise of intangibles such as authenticity, accountability, empathy and respect.
Why are Values Important?
In modern society, you may find yourself in a constant struggle to stick to your values as opposed to sacrifice them for an extrinsic result.
For example, authenticity and expressing yourself honestly is a value in itself. Honesty, however, sometimes is uncomfortable, especially when expressed negatively to friends or superiors. Your honesty may not be appreciated. It may involve telling your boss something that he might disagree with but might be better for the company. This may put you at risk of offending him (or losing your job). This can be difficult at times, especially so in the Asian culture.
In your relationships, what if your date you’re interested in treats you badly? What if he or she’s a no show for three dates straight and cancels on you last minute every single time? Are you going stick up for yourself and perhaps call them out? Or are you going smile, and pretend nothing happened?
Can you uphold the value of self-respect? Perhaps through calling her out for her negative behaviour, risk upsetting her and losing the potential benefit of dating someone you’re interested in?
What if your friends are always showing up late and disrespectful of your time? What if you valued your time, and made efforts to be on time for meetups? Do you hold back calling the person out to avoid the possibility of not offending him or her?
Values are researched to higher self-esteem, in the long run, makes you more attractive to women, increase work creativity, and make you a happier person. Positive values are also usually ensued by strong boundaries.
In short, they’re awesome.
Ironically, it’s people that do not have any values going for them that are unattractive and mediocre. They don’t stand for anything. They are people pleasers. Their craving for attention, affection from the world around them at the cost of their personal integrity and values. They’ll never build a strong identity. Counter-intuitively, it’s this constant need for a false sense of acceptance is what repels people away.
In our relationships, it’s the sacrifice of their own personal values that drive needy and unattractive behaviour.
So Marcus, without sounding like your high school counsellor, how can you instil this thing called values in your life then?
Ironing Out Your Values
Ironing out your values can be simple as taking out a piece of paper and writing down what you will and will not accept in your life. This can range from business decisions, relationship values to all other areas of your life. The second step is to commit and be disciplined about it. Note, no one is perfect and it’s OKAY to falter and be flexible. However, just like habits, you just go back to work on it.
Your Dating and Relationship Values
So, a couple of years ago, when I started wanting to attract women. The first step was to iron out my dating and relationship values. This means what I will, and will not accept from women, or people in general. This not only helped my self-esteem, but it also made my dating choices much easier.
I stopped texting girls who didn’t want to text me back, I stopped worrying about girls who didn’t want to go out on dates with me. Yeah, I get rejected, however, it saved me the heartache, the smokes and games that people play.
I started out with a couple of simple values. I decided I’ll not hang out with people who don’t want to hang out with me. I’ll not date a girl who doesn’t want to date me. I’ll not text a girl who doesn’t want to text me. I’ll express interest to women only that I’m interested in.
These values played an important role when on a date. Instead of constantly worrying if I match up to her, I’m going to see if there’s a right fit of values. I’m not looking to impress her.
If you’re wondering what I value in women, physical beauty (I can’t lie), empathy, intellectual curiosity, honesty, nurturance and accountability. From personal experience, I’m a lot more motivated, willing to sacrifice a lot more time and effort and to pursue a girl who’s more physically aesthetic If she’s hot but has selfie problem, sure, I’ll be more tolerant of it. If she’s hot but is slightly emotionally erratic, sure, I’ll be patient. I’m willing to give up many superficial nuances that tick me off.
However, I’m not willing to give up my personal boundaries just to pursue someone who is physically attractive. There are values that are non-negotiable. If she constantly disrespects me or is rude, I am going to call her out on it. If she doesn’t alter her behaviour, then I’ll simply drop her.
Note, I hold these values true for all other relationships as well. I also can’t be bothered by people who don’t respect my time or money. If you don’t respect my time or money, there isn’t a friendship in place anymore in the first place.
I once worked for a traditional company in Singapore. Whilst the potential monetary prospects were good, I hated it. Why so? That’s because the way the business was conducted went against my values of providing a competitive and ethical service to society.
The business deals were done over drinks, karaoke pubs and mind games with everyone. Everyone was attempting to look rich, attempting to blow smoke up each other asses, instead of actually discussing rational business.
It forced me to iron out my business values. Through the years I decided that I’ll only make an income through ethical products or service to consumers that don’t hurt society. The systems and products have to work without any overt form of bootlicking. I’m not going to work with or for anyone who uses his network or relationships as a ‘stronghold’. I don’t give two fucks if you tell me your father is a billionaire. I don’t want to rely on ‘Guan Xi’ to do business.
Ironing out these values made a lot of business choices down the road much simpler. Out went the scammy products that prey on delusional or people that are in a bad spot in life, out went the nights of drinking just for the sake of clinching a deal. Since I had these values in place, it freed me up to learn how to do marketing ethically, branding and ethical business practices.
Helpful and UnHelpful Values
It’s said if you pursue negative values such as popularity and fame, it’s ‘negative’. However, I don’t entirely see it this way and I think negative values can be a good motivator for positive values. I didn’t desire to be with hot women, I’ll not have undertaken this self-improvement process. If not for the desire to be financially free, I’ll not have attempted to be an entrepreneur. This blog wouldn’t exist. I also think everyone is motivated by different intrinsic and extrinsic motivators at a certain point of time.
Negative values are superstitious, immediately controllable and socially destructive. If you value popularity or fame, and how much you’re liked or accepted by everyone that’s not immediately controllable. That’s because you can’t control how people think of you.
If you measured yourself and valued a million dollars in a bank, that’s an external value that isn’t controllable. It’s merely going to drive you crazy daily. Negative values are reliant on an external event such as flying in a private jet, getting threesomes or travelling the world in pursuit of a hedonistic lifestyle (guilty).
Arguably, negative values can be good motivators initially. You didn’t get into self-development if you didn’t want to fuck more girls, make more money and look really awesome amongst your friends right? Negative values can give you a good start, however, for long term happiness, you’ll need to prioritize internal values in the long run.
Positive values are reality-based, immediately controllable, self-generated and are socially constructive. Positive values such as innovation, honesty and vulnerability are immediately controllable and can be self-generated right this moment.
For example, instead of valuing popularity or how much I’m liked by people, I can make an internal value of improving my dating/ social life. That way, just by going out to a bar to meet more women is a win for me, regardless of their reaction to me.
Positive values are always internally achieved and there’s no completion to them. They are also process oriented. Honesty and vulnerability are internal values that can be practised right now and in every social interaction for the rest of your life.
How to Establish Your Values Without Being an Asshole?
So the one thing about values that people get confused is that you got to be somewhat of an asshole when expressing your values.
Having strong values doesn’t mean that you go around calling others out on their ‘poor values’ or ‘lack of values’. It just means recognising that you have different values than them and sometimes it’s just a lack of compatibility. The first step to establish your values is to express it in a matured manner. If the girl you’re dating shows up late, you don’t have to scream at her for showing up late. Just making it known and calling her out on it is enough.
You can always say: “Hey, I hope you won’t be this late the next time we meet.”
In a respectful and assertive manner.
I also want to note that your values should be flexible and based on context. If you have an amazing friendship with someone who’s always fucking late who has many other merits, then it’s perfectly fine to just accept that flaw in that person.
What Happens When You Change Your Values?
When you change your values, it’s normal for your old relationships to blow up in your face. This can be demonstrated by calling out certain behaviours from old friends and possibly ticking them off the wrong way.
Through my own personal growth, I started valuing my time and I started being serious about my life purpose and my work. If you cancel on me without letting me know, I’m sorry, that’s non-negotiable. I’m calling you out.
Your friendships you made through your life probably supported and confirmed the values of yours. However, when you begin to shift your values, you’re going to inevitably experience a lot of friction amongst those old relationships.
In my experience, long term relationships and friendships are the hardest. You may find yourself in a place where your closest relationships no longer understand you anymore. However, do these friendships have to have to go? I don’t think necessarily so. There’s no need to cut out a person because of a difference in values, that’s because, despite a difference in values, there may be overlap in values.
However, if you are constantly bickering over petty behaviours. That merely goes to show that you have different fundamental life values and have completely different priorities completely, then perhaps some time off that particular relationship might not be a completely negative thing.
In my experience, I found out the hard way that people around you are going to have different values from you do at the different point of their lives in multiple areas of their life from relationships to careers.
This is true of your relationship with to your parents, your childhood best friends, your boss, your pet goldfish, and your colleagues. You may have a childhood friend that has conflicting values at some point of his or her life and a loss of friendship is inevitable.
It’s values that ultimately bring people together and tear people apart. You’re going to be what you value. Choose your values wisely.
J, Z., S, S., J, C., & Z, Z. (2009). Social networks, personal values, and creativity: Evidence for curvilinear and interaction effects. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(4), 1544-1552.
W, M. M. (2007). Happiness and Virtue in Positive Psychology. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 89-103.
You can argue that the majority of dating and relationship problems are a boundary issue in one way or another. Years ago, I was enrapt in a relationship that felt great at times and just dirt shit other times. It was like a rollercoaster ride. It was only years later after knowing the concept of boundaries, that I realized that my ex-girlfriend and I had piss poor boundaries in our relationship.
So other than sparring yourself from rollercoaster relationships, why are boundaries important?
Firstly, strong boundaries are the cornerstone of attractive behaviour. Secondly, they create emotional health and are created by people with emotional health. They lead to emotional stability and self-esteem. They are also something you can work on right away.
Okay, before you get into deeper details, let’s take a look if you have a boundary issue.
You May Have a Boundary Issue if You:
Constantly feel like people take advantage of you or use your emotions for their own gain?
Feel like you’re constantly having to “save” people close to you and fix their problems all the time?
Find yourself sucked into pointless fighting or debating regularly
Find yourself far more invested or attracted to a person than you should be for how long you’ve known them
In your relationships, you feel like things are always either amazing or horrible with no in-between. Or perhaps you even go through the break-up/reunion pattern every few months?
You tell people how much you hate drama but seem to always be stuck in the middle of it
You spend a lot of time defending yourself for things you believe aren’t your fault?
If you answered “yes” to even a few of the above, then you probably set and maintain poor boundaries in your relationships. If you answered a resounding “yes” to most or all of the items above, you not only have a major boundary problem in your relationships but you also probably have some other personal problems going on in your life.
What are Relationship Boundaries?
There are many reasons why someone may lack boundaries. Psychologically speaking, people with a lack of boundaries may appear may be motivated by an unconscious need to ‘keep the peace’ because of the fear of getting hurt.
So, what are boundaries and how do they look like?
NOT taking responsibility for OTHER people choices, actions and emotions
Taking FULL responsibility for YOUR own choices, actions and emotions
Healthy Boundaries from the outside:
NOT expecting others to be responsible for your choices, actions and emotions
Other people should be responsible for THEIR choices, actions and emotions and NOT responsible for YOUR emotions and choices.
Examples of Poor Boundaries:
Since I’m Asian, I can use a couple examples from the Asian culture, I’ll chime in a few examples.
“If you go out with your friends tonight and not keep me accompany, I’m not going to give you allowance next month.”
“If you don’t study the subjects as I want you to, I’m not going to pay for it.”
“If you don’t do as I say, you’re not being filial to the family. Hence, you’re not a good child.”
This is an example of a parent’s expectation for his or her child to take responsibility for the parent’s choices and emotions.
In this scenario, the person is taking responsibility for actions or emotions that aren’t theirs or are expecting someone to take responsibility for their actions or emotions. When you set boundaries in your relationships, it can be as simple as saying no to someone and letting the chips fall where they may.
You’re NOT responsible for someone’s else emotions.
Flip that around, it’s also the willingness to take a no from someone else. That’s because if you feel crappy about hearing a no, you’re are responsibility for your own mood and not expect or blame anyone else for your emotions and choices. Ultimately, having strong boundaries does not mean that you don’t want your partners or friends to be happy. It just means that you can’t decide if your partners or friends are happy or choose to behave in a certain way.
The Breaker and Fixer Pathology
People with poor boundaries typically come in two flavours:
Those who take too much responsibility for the emotions and actions of others
Those who expect others to take too much responsibility for their own emotions and actions.
They are called the breaker, and the fixer. Interestingly, these two types of people often end up in relationships together. My first relationship was like that, it felt like it was us against the world. However, in hindsight, it was soul-sucking and emotionally tiring. She and I had pathologies of both the victim and saver, oscillating between both roles at different point of times.
If you are someone who tends to feel a need to make their partners happy all the time, you may be playing the role of the saver in the relationship. You have a boundary issue. This is because, at the core of it, you’re attempting to decide/ control how your partner act and feel.
The saver doesn’t save the victim because they actually care about the problem, but because they believe if they fix the problem they will feel loved.
The victim creates problems not because there are real problems, but because they believe it will cause them to feel loved. If you are that someone who is always creating problems, expecting others to take responsibility for your actions and emotions. You are playing the role of the victim.
The saver and victim commonly end up together in relationships and often lead to unstable roller coaster relationships. In such scenarios, the lack of boundaries leads to needy, co-dependent.
From an attachment theory perspective, victims tend to be anxious-attachment types, and savers tend to be avoidant-attachment types. They both push away secure-attachment types. They may also grow up with parents who had poor boundaries in their relationships that led to their model of a relationship that is based on poor boundaries.
You may ask, Marcus, isn’t it cold and cruel to not care about others and fix their problems?
You see, the saver or the victim don’t ACTUALLY care about each other or the relationship, they are behaving in these ways to meet their own need for self-esteem through other people’s problems. The victim needs to create problems to feel loved whilst the saver needs to fix problems to feel loved. There isn’t any real authenticity or genuine emotional connection with these relationships.
Their behaviours are based on their OWN needs to feel loved and not actual unconditional love itself.
If the victim really cares about the saver and the relationship, he or she would say, “Look, this is my problem, you don’t have to fix it for me.” That would be actually caring about the saver.
If the saver really cared for the victim, the saver would say, “Look, you’re blaming others for your own problems, you should be responsible for it yourself.” That would be actually loving the victim.
The hardest thing for a victim to do in the world is to hold themselves accountable for their feelings and their life as opposed to blaming others. They spent their whole life believing they must blame others in order to feel any intimacy or love.
For the saver, the hardest thing to do in the world is to stop fixing other people’s problems and trying to make them feel happy or satisfied. They may have spent their whole lives feeling valued and loved when they were fixing a problem for someone. Hence, letting go of this need is terrifying to them as well. If you see your relationships as economical transactions, only seeing others as beneficial or economical exchanges, not only it’s a form of poor boundaries, it’s also going to tear you apart emotionally eventually.
The Boundary Problem in Modern Culture
Now, I may take some criticism for this, but I’m going to say it anyway. In Asian culture, there’s a cultural belief that children are inherently SUPPOSED to be filial to their parents or grandparents. It’s a common cultural Asian cultural narrative to love, respect and obey your parents JUST because they are your biological parents, not based upon the fact if they are good parents or not.
This often expressed in the value of filial piety.
I had a friend to said that he would give in to demanding/unreasonable requests to his parents just because they are paying for his University fees. His parents are using monetary support as a bargaining tool to get their child to conform.
I’m may piss off some you reading here but listen to me.
That is an unhealthy and toxic relationship dynamic between him and his parents with a lack of boundaries. On one hand, his parents are using money as a means to control their child’s behaviour. Secondly, on his end, he is giving up his self-respect, his honest thoughts, and desires because he’s afraid of not getting the money from his parents.
If your parents only provide for you financially if you give in to their whims and demands. It’s a conditional relationship. The underlying meaning of the relationship would mean: I only love you if you listen to me. I will only provide for you if you listen to me.
Firstly, these are shit poor form of boundaries. Secondly, there isn’t any genuine support or affection in their relationship.
From personal experience in the Singaporean culture, there are many that have this perception that if their parents provide for them financially, it’s a MUST to give in to their parents, against their genuine thoughts, desires and beliefs.
Some of the people reading this might say: Marcus, you’re such an INGRATE for speaking out against the age old values of filial piety. You’re Asian yourself and you SHOULD be filial to your parents.
Okay, shut up.
I AM filial to my parents. However, I act on it as a gift, with no expectations of return, as opposed to an OBLIGATION. There’s a difference.
The act and value of filial piety should be something that’s given unconditionally, rather than demanded or assumed because of cultural or social reasons.
If you’re forced to visit your grandparents every weekend and you secretly hate it. Then you’re not acting out of a genuine desire to see and care for your grandparents. You’re doing it because you don’t want to piss your Mum and Dad off.
As I argued, acts of affection are only genuine if they’re performed without expectations.
Is It Okay to Sacrifice?
You may ask then, Marcus, what about making sacrifices for people you love? What about going the extra mile for best friends? What if my girlfriend wants me to call her daily? What if my pet goldfish requires me to stroke his belly 20 times a day?
I SHOULD make that sacrifice right?
Firstly, sacrifices that are made out of obligation aren’t genuine sacrifices. They are actually your inability to say no.
True sacrifice only comes in the form of unconditionally, as a gift, with no expectations of return.
Sacrifice is only true and genuine when you desire to do it out of no expectations, as a gift, and not because you should feel obligated to or fear the consequences of NOT doing it.
You can simply ask yourself this: If you stopped doing an X behaviour, would it change anything about your relationship with Y? Read: I know, the algebra. I’m Asian, live with it.
If I stopped picking her up form her house or sending her home, will she still love me?
If I stopped agreeing with her on everything she says, will she still love me?
If I told my friend that he should be on time in the future, and being late isn’t cool at all, will we still be friends?
If your answer is NO, it wouldn’t change a damn thing in the relationship, if you stopped doing a certain behaviour, then that’s a good sign.
If YES, then you probably have a boundary issue. You’re making a particular sacrifice or behaving in a certain way because you fear to lose the relationship.
How to Set Strong Boundaries
I started off a YES man. I’d say YES to events, business opportunities, introductions, trips and I was the guy that was flexible and easy to get along. Yes, that helped a lot. However, as I grow, I realized it’s so much better to say NO and truly evaluate how and who you spend your time and effort with.
These days, I’m always evaluating how I feel after spending time with someone. If I feel emotionally recharged, listened to or that I learned something from him or her, I’ll continue pursuing that relationship. If I feel disrespected, be littled or un justly criticized then I’ll stop.
In my business career, I had instances where potential clients waste my time by getting me to draft out long thought out proposals for their digital marketing campaigns and I don’t hear back from them. No, no more. You need to be a good fit to work with me.
I had instances where girls waste my time and don’t show up for a date. That’s on me. That’s MY fault. I didn’t qualify her properly. If I had disqualified and said: ‘You and I are probably not going to get a long because you’re always late’, she’s going to either straighten up or not waste my time by not showing up.
These days, I hold by these standards throughout all my relationships, from friends, family, clients, business partners and life choices. In that sense, I’m valuing my time and myself. Only by valuing your time and yourself, that you can get others to value you and your time.
Here are some of the lines you can use:
‘I prefer not to discuss them as these matters are private to me’
‘I never kiss and tell’
‘I already stated my opinion and I’m not going to argue with you further.’
‘If you keep doing X behaviour, then I’m going to leave.’
‘This is are my values, and I hope you can respect that.’
Setting boundaries by cutting an acquaintance out or an ever unaccountable friend is easy. It’s as simple as cutting them out from your life or seeing them lesser. However, setting boundaries and maybe even cutting family and best friends out are a lot harder. You can dump your girlfriend, you can’t dump a bad family member. Family relationships are the hardest to deal with. Trust me, I’ve been there.
One time, I stopped driving a couple of my friends around. I realized that if I stopped driving them around, they wouldn’t bother hanging out with me. Tough truth to face, but that’s life. When I go out with a girl on a date and she says something offensive, I don’t just play nice and ignore, I call her out on it. That’s a form of my boundaries. I don’t accept rude or offensive behaviours in my life.
Someone with strong boundaries isn’t afraid to say no. He or she isn’t afraid of a temper tantrum or getting into an argument. He or she also understands that he may hurt someone else’s feelings at times and ultimately can’t control how someone else feels.
He or she also understands that a genuine relationship isn’t made up of two people deciding on each other’s actions or emotions, but instead, an unconditional relationship is made up of two people supporting each other, without judgment or expectations.