Recently, I have gotten into conflict in my relationships because I have made decisions very quickly. I didn’t want to give a quick response, but I felt pushed. The phone rings and that person wants to know what time I can take care of something. They want an answer right now. I’m in the middle of helping one of my children and they are frustrated that I’m on the phone when I was helping them. In giving an answer at this frustrating time, I am setting myself up for failure. What I really need is time to think. People are not going to just give me time, I need to make the time. I need to set Boundaries.
- I do not have to answer the phone when I am busy.
It is so tempting to answer the phone just because it rings. It’s like the phone is saying, “Hey! I have something important to say! Answer me now!” So, by answering it, am I saying that what that person wants is more important than what I am doing? Sometimes, it’s not a big deal to answer the phone. It’s sometimes really nice. But other times, it can be an inconvenience. I have turned my phone on a ring-tone that is calming to help me remember that it’s not an emergency. Other times, I have turned it off.
- I do not have to give an answer right away. It’s okay to take time to think about it.
If they don’t leave a message, is it really that important? Something my mom instilled in me when I was little is that if they didn’t leave a message, it must not be that important. In this day and age, if you don’t want to leave a voice message, you can text it. This ensures that you get the message and can get back when it’s convenient.
- If this person continues to push for an answer right now, I can just say no.
If this person demands your attention right away all the time and ignoring or even turning off your phone is not working, it’s best to just say no. It is disrespectful and eventually toxic for you to have to continually ask for respect on the same issue.
Now this process is helpful even outside of a phone. If I need to take time to process something, even for just a moment, I can take that time. I can be direct and honest. I can simply say, “I need to think about that and I’ll get back to you.” I am also realizing that it is okay to say, “I don’t know.” “I don’t have the answer right now.” And if that is not accepted and I am pushed beyond my boundary, I can just say “No, thank you.”
For more information on Boundaries, see the series by Dr. John Townsend
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