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comment by applewood
applewood  ·  184 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 5, 2019

    Do you think it's possible to meaningfully distinguish someone and the things that person does? Or, in a context: can you love someone and yet think the things they do are terrible and hateful?

Without a doubt. I won't give details about what some of the people in my life do that worries me so, because they're not able to be here to speak for and defend themselves. What I will say though is, knowing that people I love embrace attitudes or engage in behaviors that I think are wrong, unhealthy, dangerous, or what have you, is it's important to remind myself why I love them but also why it's important to have boundaries. Just because I want someone to be a part of my life, to be there for them and to help them and support them, it doesn't mean I have to let that relationship cause problems for me, my life, and my other relationships. It's a balancing act, and one that often has me considering and reconsidering where I stand with people and why.





ilex  ·  184 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What do you do if someone is hurt by where you put a boundary?

applewood  ·  184 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Here, let me give a real good example. I have a buddy who loves movies. They're over at my place on the fairly regular to watch them with me. However, we never go to theaters together because they can't resist the urge to discuss the movie, while watching it, in a crowded theater. It angers other movie goers and embarasses me, so I absolutely refuse to go to the theaters with them and they know this and understand why. If they want the situation to change, they need to change their behavior, but while they might be frustrated by my refusal from time to time, our situation doesn't detrimentally affect our friendship.

applewood  ·  184 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Damn. That's a simple question that's hard to answer. I feel like a whole book could be written about this.

Depends on mine and that person's level of communication, trust and respect, and why the boundary was set up in the first place. Can we talk about what that boundary is, how big it is, and why it's there? Can we make choices that will allow us to take that boundary down? If yes, awesome, let's agree to work on things. If no, then I'm sorry there's pain involved, but it's either their pain for the boundary being up or my pain for it coming down. Some people are willing to work with you to make things work, some people not so much. Sometimes I'll make concessions for the sake of maintaining a relationship. Sometimes I just get burned, but you know what they say, "fool me once . . ."

I will say every person in my life is different and I'm an ever changing person with an ever changing life, and as a result every relationship in my life is different and my relationships are constantly changing. I will never not extend out a hand in good will, but the amount of good will I'm willing to offer might be very limited. Similarly, I will always be willing to give people the benefit of a doubt, to appreciate their ability to grow and change, but if I've been burned in the past, I'm not gonna just accept that someone has changed for the better without some good evidence.

Like I said, when I put a boundary up, there's a need for reflection and analysis, because they, myself, our relationship, and probably my relationships with others can all be affected.

ilex  ·  176 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think this is about as good an answer as one can give to that question. Sometimes people are willing to make different choices to move a relationship closer. Other times it's best to leave boundaries where they are, especially if trying to move them in the past ended poorly.

Thanks for your thoughts; they definitely helped my thought process!

applewood  ·  176 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's a shame there's no straightforward, silver bullet answer to these kinds of questions. Relationships, even good ones, are hard.