Setting boundaries with other people, and often our own loved ones is essential for our own mental health and quality of life. Human beings aren't perfect, and there are so many different personality types, that sometimes not everyone clicks. With others, it takes work to establish those boundaries so you can interact with them best. It's a rare and special thing when you interact with people who understand this, and you are already past that point, but don't expect it often.
I've learned a lot about this process in recent years especially, and I think most people don't establish healthy boundaries because they feel bad, or guilty about it. But in the end, that can be how the other person learns too. Let me create some examples.
Those who shamelessly ask for things, and don't plan. -
We all know at least one of those. Their emergencies are often self-imposed, and they try to make that emergency someone else's by asking for favors that are inconvenient for others. Like loaning money, asking for a ride somewhere out of their way, Or, oh, my rent is due, I need rent money by tomorrow, can you send me Western Union? Let's examine this. Let me say that if it's not a usual occurrence, that could be different, but seldom do those people unabashedly ask such a thing.
Everyone has different parameters. But as for me, it's NOT ok to ask to borrow money. It puts the other person in an uncomfortable position, and it's probably inconvenient for them. They have their own bills and expenses. Each person is responsible for their own household, and we have the freedom to work and manage money wisely, or be flippant with it. In which case, those flippant have to learn somehow. Giving someone money who makes irresponsible choices is not helping them at all, and it only inconveniences you.
It's being a friend when you ask them, how did you get in this position, and try to guide them to avoid being there again. Teaching them how to fish, per se. Teaching them how to plan. Offering help in that regard is seldom met with eagerness, but defense. THAT is where establishing boundaries comes in. It hurts to see those we love struggle, but there is sometimes value to that. I changed my consumer and spending habits over the years, because I got tired of struggling and paying the bank every month instead of myself. I wanted to change, and asked for help, and I got it. Asking for someone to fix my problem for me wouldn't have taught me anything.
I love generosity, but for those who don't create their own problem. If someone is really trying to get on their feet, and recognizes where they went wrong, they deserve my help, whether financial or with advice, support, etc. Or someone who encountered a natural disaster or medical emergency, and they aren't like the person described above, then fine.
I just find that money between friends can ruin friendships, and it's inappropriate to ask friends to borrow money. Usually, people who do that, it's not a one time thing, it's habitual. Some take the hint, others don't take no for an answer.
Not taking no for an answer, or someone trying to put you where you don't want to be.
You have to be polite, and firm. Sometimes people take a mile when you give an inch, and they don't always mean to. I find that not leaving the topic open to debate is the best way to quickly end it. Sometimes it requires being passive aggressive, but often that's what they're doing, and they then get a taste of their own medicine. Here are some examples of what I might consider saying.
-Can I borrow $100.00 until next week? My rent is due, or other (usually blaming someone else for their situation) -
I'm sorry, but it's not convenient for my own household as we didn't budget for that. No other explanation is needed. Or, it's inappropriate to ask friends to borrow money, and I value my friendships too much to mix the two. Maybe I can help you with budgeting and financial habits, as I have had to change my own habits. (I wouldn't bet on them responding to that, but if they do, THAT is how to best help someone.)
-Can I get a ride downtown (usually short notice) ?
I'm sorry, that's inconvenient for me, and doesn't fit in with my schedule today. (Of course, for example, if it's a disabled neighbor who asks in advance and has limited resources, it pays to be generous when you can)
Then offer a solution like the Uber app or help them find a city bus schedule. That ride downtown can turn into much more if you let it.
-Will you ask such and such if they'll do this for me, etc.?
Here's his or her phone number, or email address, etc. as my slate is full, and I don't want to mistranslate second hand information. Done.
Sometimes you have to draw lines in the sand. Nosy people who ask inappropriate questions, don't entertain the conversation, and ask them questions about themselves. People who put you in uncomfortable situations for their own convenience, don't let them. Don't loan money (or give money, because how often do they pay it back? If they had credit, they could go to the bank. There are reasons the same people are always in the same mess, and usually they're full of denial. You don't have time to waste or coddle them. You want my help? You get my opinion. If they keep pestering you, the answer doesn't change, and at that point, I'd no longer acknowledge them. Boundaries are not mean, they're healthy for both parties.