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My friend has a poor sense of personal boundaries

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:00 am

Dear T2T:  

My friend’s sense of boundaries are not the same as mine. For example, she asked my boyfriend how he was doing after his father’s death in a group situation. He did not know her well and felt uncomfortable being forced to disclose his feelings in a group setting. When she was a guest in my home recently she informed me (right away after setting foot in my house) I am too thin. I understand this is coming from a caring place but it nevertheless put me on the defensive. I realize she is unlikely to change so I need advice about how to deal with her. My sense is she does not realize she is inappropriate and does not understand boundaries. — Irritated Friend

Response No. 1:

Thank you for coming to us for your problem.  We will try our best to help you overcome your situation.  People cope with situations differently, and you may not always think it is appropriate, but you have to adapt to other peoples responses.  That might be hard at first, but you will have to put the differences aside.  I’m sure your friend is very caring, but the way she comes off might be rude, but that might be a way she comforts herself.  You will have to realize that, and know that she wants the best for you and cares a lot.  If it really affects you, than I say you approach her and tell her how she comes off to people.  Just be polite about it, and explain to her how she is.  If you feel she is being rude or making people uncomfortable, then just tell her.  Hopefully she will understand and not take it the wrong way.  You are just being a friend to her, helping her to be polite to others and show more affection.  She needs to know that she can’t just go up to people asking questions that would make them uncomfortable and make people feel insecure.  She just needs to learn that people aren’t taking her comfort, comforting.  We hope that our advice will help you with your future mishaps.

Response No. 2:

First off, it’s good that you realize that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Each person has their own way of communicating how they feel. If it bothers you that much then you have to make an effort and tell her how you feel about it. Let her know that each person has their own boundaries, and tell her where yours are. Emphasize the idea that something that could be emotional to others should be talked about one on one. Make it clear that there are some things that need to be kept on a one on one basis or on the down low because the things she says can hurt other people.

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