Great to read this! I had a really interesting day with boundaries today myself, but the opposite ha! Usually, my painting customers are very hands-on until they feel comfortable with me, lots of questions, lots of kind of pushing up against me to see if I am trustable. It’s normal human behaviour I think when you have a stranger in your house. You want to get enough information about them to decide what to do with them – watch them, ignore them, chat… People handle that in all kinds of ways. For me it’s easy to spot, and I try to adjust myself so that they feel comfortable socially, not just with my work. I make a point of being a really tidy worker, and I have retaught myself to keep the conversation light. It’s their home, and if they like me in it, that’s how I get referred to their friends.
Ultimately, this is me both respecting and caring for their boundaries. It’s really important to me personally, and it always translates really well into all parts of my professional life. It’s just good business.
Today, however, I arrived at the house to someone who didn’t necessarily have a clear grasp on things. I’m not certain why. Nice enough, but not really well informed or engaged. He answered the door, took me through to the kitchen, asked if I needed anything from him, and then went back to watching TV. I was left to make myself at home. I got myself organised and went to it. A couple of hours later, I went to get something from the kit. I was totally shocked. All of my gear was scattered all over the front entrance, just like it gets in MY front entrance.
I was horrified. I definitely made myself at home! It was so rude! I was happy he hadn’t noticed, so I cleaned it up right away. I then noticed also that I barely asked permission to organise the painting part in their basement either. Then I got irritated and barked at him: can I open this window? OMG. There were a couple other unusual things too. I went to the paint store stating I’d be back shortly – no other explanation – and I borrowed a couple of glasses from the cupboard to store the screws for the doors… these are simple enough, but I would never do that without asking! This man had no boundaries! I never do these things!
And finally, as I left, I told him I would see him tomorrow at 11 am. He accepted that easily, and as I breezed out the door, I got this flash of how not wanting to make some sort of “excuse” for why I wouldn’t be there at 9 am like any other contractor. It makes me feel like such a lazy flake when I don’t show up at 9 am! Pretty clear to me on my side that I did not owe him any sort of explanation. I didn’t feel like it either.
It was pretty amazing today to be on the other side of the “no boundaries” interactions. Seeing both sides will help me to see how necessary boundaries are, and how positive they are. Expressing a boundary shows people where to go and how to behave. NOT expressing a boundary makes for chaos in relationship. Usually that man is me, and I wonder why people are so up in my business or they push me around.