You learn to say NO, and always be consistent, so that people know where you stand!
Loving and caring for others does not mean you say YES to everything they ask of you, because you cannot please everyone. That will also encourage them to take you for granted because they know you will always act according to their expectations. Additionally, when you say YES all the time, the moment you cannot oblige they will be disappointed, and perhaps upset.
When dealing with people in an environment of mutual respect, you have to establish certain rules with yourself to enjoy those friendships, boundaries that will gradually give you the confidence to be you, while showing them that you care, too.
The main rules should be;
- Pleasing yourself first, and being yourself. Those who like you will stay close to you, while those who don’t, will pass you by. Don’t seek their approval, but always try to appreciate and accommodate them.
- Be consistent in your actions. Soon everyone will know what to expect and how to treat you. If you keep changing your behaviour for approval, or to be liked, you will lose their respect.
- Be sincere and confident in your reactions. You should be equally comfortable saying YES or No without having to explain yourself. Do remember that we all have the right to act how we feel so long as we are not harming others by that action.
- Be there for them, but only within your own limits. Otherwise you will set up false expectations you cannot fulfil. For example, if you are ill you would be in no fit state to help another ill person, so recognising your own limitations is important to prevent disappointment and
- Try to be empathetic without allowing yourself to lose your perspective. Don’t go overboard in trying to ‘fix’ things for others. They have to learn to take responsibility for their own lives so that they are not completely dependent upon you.
- Just be you, and you will attract the kind of people who like your approach. You will also find it easier to be yourself without trying to impress or to fit in.
These simple guides do not provide all the answers but they should help to establish mutual appreciation and respect within your friendships.