Sometimes, it’s hard to know when you’re being taken advantage of. Maybe you tolerate inappropriate behavior, risk your own well being, and don’t even realize it. How can you recognize when this happens? There are some important cues that can tell you that someone has gone over your line. Once you begin to identify the signals, you can then decide how to handle the situation.
On social media a while back, someone I’ve known for quite some time took advantage of our connection and regularly needled me. I pretty much ignored it, taking the advice of, “Don’t feed the trolls.” Usually, if someone who trolls you doesn’t get a reaction, they lose interest and leave you alone. They go trolling for people who are more responsive. But when this person escalated the attacks on me, I blocked them.
When the comments were benign, they were a nuisance, but didn’t bother me. This person was just looking for attention. But I drew the line when the comments got malicious. For me, that went way beyond what I would tolerate. The intent was disturbing.
Are there any areas where you’re tolerating inappropriate behavior? I don’t mean just on social media. Maybe, to keep the peace, you’re making concessions that make you uncomfortable or even resentful. For instance, you help someone out, but they expect much more. And you give in because you feel guilty. Or, in business, you cater to a customer who demands more of your time or resources than they’re entitled to. You capitulate because you’re afraid you’ll lose them as a customer.
How do you know when to draw the line? Pay attention to how you’re feeling about the interaction. When you feel agitated, confused, offended, upset, or like I did, disturbed, those are generally signals that someone has crossed a line. That’s when you need to decide what to do to support your well being and peace of mind. You have a right and a responsibility to yourself to take action. It could be just saying, “No,” or “Enough,” and following through on that intention. Or you may have to go further, like I did.
Should I have drawn the line earlier, before the comments escalated? For instance, should I have told them to stop needling me and be civil if they wanted to continue to converse with me? Possibly. But, they already knew what would happen if they went too far. And, knowing this person, I suspect a further warning wouldn’t have worked and the result would have eventually been the same. If a person deliberately chooses to be unpleasant, then there’s no reason for me to give them further attention.
Draw your lines, set your limits, and by doing do, you show that you respect yourself and your values.
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~ Linda-Ann Stewart