How many times in a conversation have you been asked a question you would rather not answer? How many times has someone been too close to you for your comfort? What did you do in these circumstances?
In counseling the difference between being rude and placing a boundary on someone is often discussed. Almost without question most people say they do not want to offend someone else. Somehow in our society especially among women the idea of accepting any type of behavior is considered to be appropriate behavior. This belief has been carried on through the generations from the days when a woman was considered to be second class to man. Another contributing factor to the idea that women must tolerate any type of behavior is the socialization of women. Women are taught to be peace makers. They focus on the relationship they have with others. They want to belong not to stand out.
In the quest for acceptance from society and their peers many women have taken the route of being passive. They allow almost anyone to ask any type of question they would like. They allow people to get to close to their physical bodies. Then, they become angry and frustrated because it feels like they have been run over by a steam roller. A feeling of shame is produced because women are not supposed to feel that.
When discussing their anger and frustration with others they will say? “I didn’t want to be rude” Overall in our society there seems to be some confusion over what is being rude and what placing a boundary on someone is. The best definition of rude behavior was in Wikipedia. Wikipedia defined rude behavior as a violation of human dignity or of the respect due to others. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudeness
Whereas personal boundaries are guidelines or rules or limits they create to identify for him or herself appropriate ways to behave around them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_boundaries When comparing the definitions of rudeness and personal boundaries it seems clear what the difference between the two are. In the real world and not on paper it is not as clear. This clarity is often confused by people’s individual differences. One person might tolerate one behavior and one person might not tolerate it.
How can you determine if their behavior is rude or placing a boundary? You really can not. Because the rudeness in behavior is defined by the person receiving it and placing a boundary is defined by the person placing it, it can be a difficult process.
One of the keys to success in placing a boundary is intent. When you place a boundary use the words limits, and boundaries. Explain to the person what you are doing and why. Secondly, delivery is very important. If you wait until you are angry and frustrated to place a boundary on someone your delivery is going to reveal how you feel. The best time to set the boundary is the first time the behavior occurs. Keep in mind that no matter what you do sometimes the other person will say you are rude. If you need to, refer back to the definition of rude. As yourself the following questions: “ Did I violate the person’s dignity?” Did I violate the respect I had for them?” If you answered “no” to both questions, you were not rude. Remember in the end rude behavior is a matter of opinion.
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