“That is making me uncomfortable, would you mind stopping?” “It makes me feel uncomfortable that you post these kinds of things as my partner” “I don’t want to go to that event” “I am not comfortable with PDA” “I need space, please?”
As a human being, you MUST be comfortable with setting boundaries. We live in a world where people are perfectly fine with walking all over you if given the chance to. People will cross boundaries all willy nilly if you don’t establish boundaries and stand your ground when doing so. It is perfectly fine to express how you feel about a person, a situation, a place, anything! You don’t owe anyone an explanation or anything in regards to something you won’t do or won’t tolerate. This is how we establish the respect we know we deserve. We are all unique individuals with preferences, wants, needs, favorite things, etc. We are also individuals with things we hate, dislike, feel uncomfortable with, or feel the need to avoid. All of this is OKAY. It’s right as a human to have these feelings and to set boundaries with other humans about them. Don’t ever feel bad about saying no to anything. Don’t feel bad about about making the other person feel bad about the boundary you set. If they respected you, they would accept the boundary and work around it. That’s it. They would not need an explanation, or try to dissuade you from how you feel.
Speaking of those kinds of people, run far way from them if you encounter them. People who look at you as “controlling” for establishing boundaries about what you won’t tolerate from them. They want your time and energy, but don’t want to meet you at your boundary and walk all over you with disrespect. No! Do not allow it. I mean it with every fiber of my being when I say do not engage with these people. At best, they lack the emotional intelligence to understand other people and at worst, they are narcissists and need to be quarantined. Growing up, we learn how to interact with one another in a healthy way and a part of that is learning about boundaries with other children and people in general. How not to steal or take things unfairly. How to wait our turn. How to accept each other’s differences. If 3,4,5,6 year olds can understand this, then why the fuck would you put up with a boundary crosser in adulthood? You said what you said and that’s that. If they didn’t want to get the memo, reconsider whatever relationship you had with them. It’s my honest opinion that only ignorant or straight up evil people walk over other people’s firmly established boundaries.
There is “caveat” to this, if you want to call it that. You must set the boundary! It sounds simple, but a lot of people struggle with this (myself included) Sometimes you want to please people a little too much and thus you let people walk over your boundaries. Sometimes you feel uncomfortable advocating for yourself. Sometimes the person is just too toxic to even set a boundary with. While I can understand all of this, you cannot let it excuse bad behavior from other people. You have your values and beliefs to uphold. Trying to please people who don’t respect how you are and what you will tolerate will lead to negative mental health. It will breed resentment and toxicity. I am telling you it is OKAY to establish your boundaries. “I am not going there. You can, but I will NOT” “I don’t want to associate with them. I don’t” “No. No. NO!” For that last one, you shouldn’t have had to repeat yourself. You said no, that was it. It’s not 99 Nos and then a yes, it’s you are a fucking asshole for pressuring someone into something they were not comfortable with. I hate people who can’t understand someone else’s boundaries. It screams asshole, selfishness, toxicity, and a general lack of respect.
You are not controlling other people and let’s make one thing clear. Advocating for YOURSELF is setting boundaries. TELLING people what THEY SHOULD do is controlling behavior. “I don’t like when you wear that. I think it makes you look slutty” Boundary. “Stop wearing that. It makes you look slutty” Controlling. “It makes me uncomfortable when you hang out with this person. I would appreciate it if you stopped.” Boundary. “Stop hanging out with that person. It makes me uncomfortable” Controlling. “Don’t go to the club anymore. It has a nasty atmosphere” Controlling. “I don’t like that club and you shouldn’t go there. The atmosphere is nasty. I’m not going anymore” Boundary. As you can see, boundaries are usually I statements and DON’T try to force action upon people. You merely state how it affects you and what YOU won’t do. Controlling behavior dictates how SOMEONE ELSE should act. Setting boundaries is not controlling and don’t listen to people saying otherwise. They might just be looking for a hole in your boundaries to do some nefarious shit.
Set those boundaries. Do it. Make sure the people you interact with clearly know what YOU will not tolerate and what YOU will not do. They need to have the option to either respect your boundaries or walk up out your life and make room for someone who will. Life is too short to deal with people with no respect and the state of mental health is too dire to continue to allow these people free rein. Set that boundary. Please. It’s for your own safety, peace of mind, and in general it allows for good mental health.