Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Where Is The Line?

As Billy Talent sings so well: "Where is the line? Where is the line?
                                                  Between your fashion and your mind
                                                 Where is the line? Where is the line?
                                                  ‘Cause some of us are blind!
                                                 Where is the line? Where is the line?
                                                  To be your self is not a crime
                                                 Where is the Line? Where is the line?
                                                  ‘Cause some of us are blind!"

My question is Where is the line? Where is the line? Between you or another person being uncomfortable.

I've had many times where someone wants more from me than I feel comfortable giving, whether it be invading my personal space with an uninvited hug or touch, or information I don't want to share with them.

Some people are very touchy-feely, others have a big personal bubble, and most of us are somewhere in between. I'm in the in between category. It also depends on who I am interacting with, of course.

So where is the line between me feeling uncomfortable by their closeness (physical/emotional), or me drawing a boundary and them feeling uncomfortable.

As Billy Talent sang, "To be your self is not a crime", but when it infringes on other people, then it can be a problem at least. People who like to hug everyone don't seem to understand that it's not okay with everyone, or that it's not okay all the time.

Philosophically I'd like to tell you that I draw the line with people. "You don't have to hug me every time I see you and every time we say good bye and once in between." or "Don't hold onto me for thirty seconds when you hug me." or "Don't sit so close to me." or "Could you stand back just another half a foot while we talk?" or "If you didn't notice by my short vague answers, I don't want to talk about it." or "We don't have a close enough relationship for you to ask/tell me that." or "I do not want to cry in front of you, so back off." or "Don't call or text me so much." or "Don't write about very personal things on my facebook wall, send me a message instead." or "Don't offer to help me when you have more problems than I do. Take care of your own problems." or "I can't make it to every event in your life and your kid's lives." etc....

But the reality of actually having the courage to say those things to people is very hard. So most of the time I (we all) just endure them uncomfortably, then talk about the person after they are gone. Everybody does it!

Here's an approximation of my circles. There are certain people that are in different categories, and certain times when they change, but as a general rule.

Kids are always told, "You're not the center of the universe!" But I am the center of my universe, and you are the center of your universe. Kids are the center of their own universes, just not everyone else's universes.

When people try to pass the line that I drew for them in my mind, it makes me uncomfortable. Everyone has their own lines and circles, and they don't match other people's lines, and that is where the problems start.

So how do I tell someone to stay in there circle?

I know someone who will always say, "It's just who I am!" as their defense. Everyone is a certain way, but when you are making lots of people uncomfortable, maybe it's time to pull back on the bad habits and strengthen the good habits. You're still being you, just the better part of you.

For me, I just need to find more strength to say what I want to say to make me and my family comfortable. If I can't put myself before others, then I won't be able to take care of others. I'm the center of my universe, so I need to be there for myself. Then it ripples out, and I take care of the closest ones first.


  1. I've become a hugger over the years. I did not used to be as a child and especially not as a teen--probably as a result of being made to kiss family members every time you saw them, because of the French culture. It started to change when I had my own children (I honestly don't remember being hugged as a child). This is a great post to remind me that my "comfortability" (word?) of space is not the same as others. I'll probably be a more "careful" hugger in future. ;>

  2. I don't think it's bad to be a hugger. That's not the impression I meant to give. It's just to be aware of how others react. If people are stiff during a hug or keep their arms crossed, that's a clue. But if they hug back, and smile sincerely, they don't mind. I partly wrote this post because of a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back person. For a lot of the things I mentioned, it's not a first time offense, but a continual offense. I would say keep doing what you're doing but with an aware mind to how people react. BUT, be careful you don't read too much in to a wrong signal. If the person is busy or had a bad day, it's not the same as them not liking you. It's all a balancing act. Good luck!

  3. I love hugging people to! but yeah, there are definitely people I'm like, stay away from me!