I told my friend he was rude

And he didn’t take it well! A letter writer’s friend got mad when she told him he crossed her boundaries. 

Let me recommend the “I” method, says our elder.


Dear EWC

Hello there! Today, while I was joking with one of my male best friends, he started making inappropriate comments that made me uncomfortable. Although we have known each other for years and I am comfortable around him, I felt that his jokes and comments were not just jokes and they made me feel awkward and angry as they were very rude. Due to our culture, hinting to sex while talking is not something very common and is frowned upon, especially between individuals of the opposite sex. I am against such traditions and normally I am OK with jokes like that; however, he made jokes about me personally. I confronted him and told him that I have boundaries and that I am not comfortable with him talking to me like that, and he got offended and accused me of criticizing his manners and essentially bashing him. He got mad and I feel like our friendship is endangered here. While I am willing to end the friendship if he keeps on crossing my boundaries, it would break our friend group apart, especially as we live in different countries. Do you suggest that I talk to my other people to clarify my boundaries and to avoid an incident like this again? And do you think I should apologize to him?


Salvador replies

Any relationship requires boundaries. All members have to respect each other. You did the right thing by letting him know how his actions made you feel. Other people may not mind what he is doing, and this is fine. But you are right to set your boundaries. Boundaries are agreed-upon rules that group members accept in order to respect each other.

Granted, when you start other friendships, don’t sit down right away and say, “These are my boundaries.”  Boundaries are set as people talk and express their expectations.

There is no need to apologize for expressing your feelings. The keyword is communication. Good communication is a sign of a healthy relationship. If you feel that it is likely that you will run into a similar situation with any of the others, then it would be a good idea to clarify your boundaries. You don’t need to make a big deal about it, but as you wrote, explain that hinting at sex is frowned upon in your culture. 

I will provide a suggestion about how to approach a boundary problem in the future. Use the “I” method. I like this approach very much because it is not judgmental. I will give you an example.

Let us say he makes a sex joke that includes you. For example, If he says something about your appearance and laughs about it, say, “I felt uncomfortable and hurt when you said that about my appearance.” You are not accusing him of having ill intent. You are only saying how his action made you feel. If he dismisses you, then he does not respect you. If he does that, tell him so and go on with your life. You can find friends that will treat you with the dignity you deserve. I didn’t witness the conversation, so I don’t know why he said you bashed him. Maybe your approach led him to feel that way. That is why I suggested the “I” approach.

I hope this reply helped you and I wish you the best. Remember, show self-respect by not allowing anyone to disrespect you.

Article #: 477831

Category: Friendship

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