Come and Knock on Our Door

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Dear Dharma,

I strive very hard to make sure my friends know I am here for them anytime, anyplace – friends are forever.  If you need me, I’m here…always. BUT, I have this one friend whom I love dearly, but she keeps stopping over, like ALL THE TIME!  She doesn’t call first.

To be honest, I’m usually very happy when friends stop by, but this is getting out of hand.  I can’t get anything done, it’s hard to meet up with other friends when she’s stopping in unannounced because I can’t get out of the house AND I’ve started dating a new guy and we can’t seem to get any alone time!

I love her dearly, but please, how can I ask her to stop without hurting her feelings…

At Least She Knocks First

Dear Knocks,

I feel confident I can help you with the first part of your question, but can make no guarantees for last portion.  Because as we’ve talked about before here in Dharmaland, the message can be delivered about as perfectly and gently as possible, and her feelings my still get hurt.  You can’t control the way someone else feels, right?  So the risk factor is yours to decide on.

And actually, in dealing with the first part of your question – how can I ask her to stop – we are more dealing with your behaviour rather than hers in helping you create and set boundaries.

Which might not be your strongest suit, I’m guessing?  Because if her flash visits are causing you to fall behind, leave other friends waiting and create a Three’s Company scenario with your new guy, then boundaries are tough for you.  You may prefer to call it being nice so that you don’t have to deal with it, but really… it’s creating stress for you and others in your life (the friends tapping their fingers as they wait for you, your new boyfriend), so how nice is it really?

Next time this happens…

The next time your doorbell rings and it’s your friend showing up unannounced, you need to say BEFORE letting her cross that threshold, “Eliza, hi!  I’m so sorry, but I’m just about to (head out the door, jump in the shower, jump in the shower and then head out the door, jump on my boyfriend) so now really isn’t a good time.  Would it be okay if you called next time before dropping by?  That way I can be sure to have time for you…”

You might see a flash of hurt in her eyes, but if she’s a decent person, she’ll handle herself graciously and assure you it’s okay that she calls next time… Because when you make it seem like it is her choice, as opposed to a reprimand from you, she’ll just naturally respond more favourably.

If, however, the lesson doesn’t stick the first time, repeat, and repeat again as necessary.  Your only other choice is being a doormat, so…

Dharma

 

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