Setting Boundaries

Daniella Cressman
Erin Larson

For a while now, this guy who is my neighbor has been making conversation with me as I came back late from concerts, so, about a week ago I would say, I asked him out, thinking it would be fun to grab a beer with him.

He immediately cancels on me the next day, saying he isn’t feeling well. I’m thinking he must have gotten extremely drunk that night and not bothered to monitor himself even though we’d made plans.

He assumes I want to see him again after this, and literally says so in the same text.

I do not.

A few days later, he texts me again, saying he wants to ask me out. I have ignored three texts now, trying to let him know I am very much not interested.

He’s upset with me because I’ve ignored him.

“Why you trying to end things? We’ve had such a good time.”

He is angry and accusatory.

I call him and let him know that it’s a personal boundary I have: I just do not ever go out with anyone who cancels on the first date. It’s never gone well before.

“I’m really sorry, but please give me another chance. You won’t regret it.”

I know I will. I always do.

Now, in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been so accommodating, but I really don’t like having bad blood with people, especially if they’re my neighbors. It’s just not an ideal situation.

Not wanting to add fuel to the fire and say the wrong thing over text, I ask if he would rather speak in person, so I go over to his apartment.

I have a weird sensation in my stomach the entire time: Something just doesn’t feel right. There’s a glint in his eyes that’s making me uncomfortable, and the energy is off.

We start talking. At this point, I’ve said that I forgive him and we should hang out because it was the fight that made him cancel and he hadn’t just gotten shitfaced.

It was probably both. He didn’t say that though.

In retrospect, I should never have agreed to anything.

Then we start talking.

The country music comes on.

Surprisingly, the music of the southern gentleman is closer to the heart of some people who want to oppress women than I’d like it to be, but I still like the melodies and the romance of it all.

There are plenty of country fans I love. It’s the good ole’ boys you have to watch out for though! They always love country.

I had an uneasy feeling. The place was a bit of a mess as I walked in. That was okay. I mean, not everyone’s a neat freak including myself.

He offered me a beer.

I took it.

There was still something in the air that just felt wrong.

It hit me very quickly.

This man made a point of not respecting my boundaries.

He asked me if I wanted marijuana.

I said no, explaining that it was addictive.

“You think it’s addictive?” he said with a chortle, as if I’d just made this up and it was completely out of left field.

Let me tell you, you can get addicted to marijuana. I’ve done countless hours of research on the subject. Cannabis can also be extremely effective in treating a myriad of conditions, but only when one consumes it in regulated dosages.

This man thought that his opinion was a fact and was laughing so hard he could barely stand it because I hadn’t just gone along for the ride, and told him he was right when he was very clearly mistaken: Only people who are addicted to Mary Jane think it’s not addictive…It’s one of the great ironies of humanity I suppose.

That’s when I knew I no longer wanted to fraternize with this man: He didn’t like me stating facts that he didn’t want to hear, so this clearly wasn’t going to work.

His brother was coming and I said I was tired.

I’d already agreed to the date, but I was certain I didn’t want to go now, because I don’t like people trying to discredit me for stating facts I’ve researched while simultaneously using fiction they’ve convinced themselves is actually nonfiction, all in order to disrespect my boundaries.

I texted him a very long message, trying to be respectful, stating I just was not interested.

“Okay, but I still want to take you out.”

“I’m busy. Please respect my boundaries.”

This is clearly not about what I want. It’s all about his desires.

He texted me this morning, presumably to ask me out.

I have already told him I do not wish to see him.

He has also told me that he hopes he is not disrespecting my boundaries.

He is.

I have empathy for him, but I am no longer interested in going out with this man and being talked down to.

I said, “No!” He thought I meant, “Yes, please try harder.”

I meant, “No. Please leave me alone. This doesn’t feel good and I actually never want to see you again.”

What’s in it for me, exactly?

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM

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