Archive for July 5th, 2011

July 5, 2011

It’s usually a boundary issue…

by Rod Smith

Enduring (long-lasting) relationship difficulties can usually be traced to ill-defined boundaries.

Boundaries (fences, walls, lines on a road) surround us.

Some are unseen. People give couples “room” to be couples even though there is no visual demarcation.

Internal boundaries are “the lines I draw” inside me. These “unseen” boundaries are the reasons I don’t steal, hit annoying people, or say everything I think.

Boundaries support necessary separateness, space, definition, and therefore provide necessary clarity.

Separateness, space, clarity, are essential for individual growth and the wellness of any family or community.

Boundaries keep us apart and together by keeping us healthily apart and healthily together. People who are too close, and people who are too far apart, stunt or distort their potential.

Two imperfect illustrations:

Every time a vehicle is on the road a driver must obey (honor, acknowledge) many rules, and respect many boundaries or, of course, accidents occur, build up occurs, people are injured, and things are damaged.

Trees cannot grow to full height if planted too close to each other. If planted too far apart, their unified capacity to provide shade is limited.

Adults (except in very unusual circumstances) are responsible for establishing and maintaining their own boundaries. Boundary maintenance cannot be left to another no matter how much love or care or history is shared.

July 5, 2011

Friend gets offended if I don’t call….

by Rod Smith

“My friend and I talk on the phone a lot. Yesterday I was very busy and I forgot to phone. When I did he reamed me out like I was a schoolboy who did not do his homework. What do you think I should do?”

Apologize. Call him exactly on time the next time. Tell him you were very busy and that you are sorry for your insensitivity. Remind him that adults are better off when they offer each other the freedom to be late, the opportunity to be wrong, and even the room to sometimes be insensitive.

Remind him your forgetfulness was not the result of malicious intent. Tell him you love him, that you are pleased to be his friend, but that friendship with him would be very much more rewarding (for both of you) were he to grow up, develop a thicker skin, and resist talking to you as if you were a schoolboy who’d not done his homework.