There is a time to be open and there is a time to be less open.
It’s important to choose wisely.
Being open with people can be a great way to create understanding and build a connection. But it should also be appropriate to the situation. The openness required to create understanding with a romantic partner and a manager are very different.
Plus, the level of openness is also affected by the boundaries in place by others and also ourselves.
If a client asks how you’re weekend was the boundaries you have in place will ensure the openness is fairly restrictive. But if a friend asked you”re more likely to go into signififcnatly greater detail and divulge information that you may not share with anyone else.
These thoughts about openness and boundaries are nothing new or revolutionary but I do think it’s interesting to think about. It gets even more interesting when you observe the way openness decreases and increases as relationships change. Perhaps as a colleague becomes a manager or a friend becomes a romantic partner.
I wrote about boundaries in a recent post but upon reflection I had more to add.
Sometimes even when you are aware of a persons boundaries and you know it has nothing to do with you, you still try to overstep the mark. A person will do it in small or subtle ways because they are curious whilst also being aware they have to tread carefully.
But when you catch them overstepping in the moment they’re likely to respond by telling you that they didn’t mean it or that they didn’t relaise that it was an issue. perhaps they try to tell you that there is no issue at all.
When it comes to over stepping a boundary it’s really about respect. When you can see a clear boundary you have to decide if it is more important to follow that curiosity or to simply respect what the other person does and doesn’t want
You can learn a lot from someone by simply observing them.
I recently noticed in a particular relationship that the other person had very clear boundaries. It wasn’t anything that had been explicitly stated but through this persons actions it was very clear what they were and were not open to.
Sometimes a persons boundaries can feel personal. You might feel that they’re being harsh and closed off toward you. On the other hand you might internalise it and end up thinking you need to put in more effort.
In the situation I experienced I could have taken it personally, in fact 5 years ago I would have. I’d have thought this means [insert monologue of dramatic over reaction here] and maybe this person doesn’t like me.
But I now understand that a boundary is for the person setting them, it has little to do with the people on the receiving end.