On Emotional Health: The Border Patrol
Strong men have strong boundaries. Part of becoming a man (and enjoying healthy relationships) is learning when to radiate your personality and when to draw a boundary. To expose everyone and anyone to an all-you-can-eat buffet of your character is not manly. When interacting with an emotionally unhealthy person who is acting negative, there is no reason to offer any of your awesomeness. Peeps must earn a man’s respect, not simply expect it. Anything given away free is devoid of value and not appreciated. If you want communism, move to North Korea. Men in the free world know when it’s time to be cool and when it’s time to ignore someone.
The simplest (albeit non-funny) metaphor for boundaries is a door. Healthy boundaries act like a door that lets good vibes in and keeps negative energy out. The sound of a door slamming in someone’s face sounds like this: “NO!” Knowing when to say “NO” to people will save you a lot of stress and energy down the line. The sooner you can assert your boundaries the better. It’s called having a “border patrol.”
There’s this funny thing with boundaries. On the one hand, it sounds like guys are acting like “dicks” when they border patrol their personal boundaries. However, people (and especially women) actually hope a man enforces his boundaries. If you’ve ever wondered how to have people respect you, here’s the secret. Set boundaries. Know what they are. When people cross them, call them out. While it’s important to be firm, you can be fun.
In fact, playfully asserting your boundaries is the best way to go about it (at first). Should a nagger continue his or her nagging, then you can bust out the heavy artillery. Or better yet, just cut the nagger out of your awesomeness. No social contract obligates you to be everyone’s friend or acknowledge everyone’s existence. Remember, let people earn respect; don’t just give it. And everyone is under the jurisdiction of your border patrol because you are an awesome man.
That said, there is a douche-bag caveat to all this. While setting boundaries is very masculine because it gives men strength of character from knowing (and patrolling) behavior they do and do not tolerate, if the boundaries become too strict it negates all manness and turns dudes anal-retentive. As bad as a dude without boundaries, over-zealous border patrollers have no sense of humor and treat life as if it were a melodramatic Lifetime movie. They feel compelled to voice a compliant about every little nuance that “offends” them and are on a constant witch-hunt to undercover people who are “disrespecting” them. Boundaries are great, but even greater is living a life that’s fun. Enforce your boundaries, but don’t be douche about it.
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About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.