You Have Every Right Not to Talk to Them

monsterI’m a very polite person. This has been my downfall. When someone asks me a question, I answer. When the phone rings, I pick it up. (A bad habit I learned when I worked at a call center!)

But years ago answering the phone from one particular person increasingly caused me nothing but pain. They’d tell me what I should do and how I should do it. They’d rant. I’d listen. I would get frustrated. It felt like I was being held hostage.

Nothing I said made any difference.

Until one day I decided I could no longer handle the discussion. I’d had enough. However, for reasons I can’t go into publicly, it was important I still communicated with them. I couldn’t afford to cut off all contact.

So the next time they called, I made my big announcement. “I will no longer accept phone calls from you. You aren’t able to be respectful. We can’t engage in a civil discussion. I no longer wish to communicate with you by phone.”

Well, there was a lot of spittin’ and sputterin’ on the other end of that line! “Well, you HAVE to talk to me,” they said.

I said, “No, I don’t. I don’t have to accept your phone calls any more. I will accept a letter. You can write to me as often as you wish. But no more phone calls until you learn how to be respectful.”

So that’s the way it went. I took control. The weight lifted off my shoulders was enormous. ENORMOUS! It was a huge relief to set boundaries I could live with – to clearly state what I would accept and what I wouldn’t.

Over time, this person simmered down. I began to look around for other situations I could regain control over. (Bwahahaha!)

Life became a little bit brighter in my corner of the world!

Is there someone in your world who’s disrespectful? How have you handled it?