When someone sets a boundary, your job is to respect that. You might not understand. You might feel hurt. You might be pissed off.
It doesn’t matter.
Your confusion, your hurt feelings, the fact that you don’t like someone telling you no, none of that gives you the right to violate someone else’s boundaries.
Whether it’s someone trying to pressure you into bed or someone who keeps pushing their homemade cheesecake at you, you have the right to say no.
I’ve lost friends because I had the gall to set boundaries in my own space, online or in real life. This happened a while back with an editor I considered a friend, and I still don’t understand why things immediately went to hell when I said I wasn’t in a space to have this conversation. Maybe I wasn’t nice enough about it? Maybe I didn’t adopt the proper tone? I don’t know.
How often do we teach people that they have the right to take care of themselves? Why don’t we teach that it’s okay to set boundaries? And why the hell don’t we teach people to respect them?
You have the right to set boundaries. You have the right to have those boundaries respected.
Not “You have the right to say no as long as you’re nice enough.”
Not “You have the right to say no but I’m gonna try to change your mind.”
Not “You have the right to say no unless I think you’re wrong.”
Not “You have the right to say no once you can give me a satisfactory explanation as to why you’re saying no.”
When someone says no, the correct response is “Okay.” If you don’t understand, that’s fine. You don’t have to understand. Maybe the other person will be willing to explain. Maybe not. But they don’t owe you an explanation.
You have the right to say no, period. And if someone can’t accept that, then the hell with them. The problem isn’t you.
I know this has all been said a million different times by a million different people, but I needed the reminder of it and this post went up this morning, so clearly it was meant to be.