“It’s A Great Way To See Who Respects You And Who Doesn’t”: This Woman Is Sharing The Simple “Rule” She Uses To Set Boundaries And Evaluate Friendships, And It's So Smart
"It's a great way to see who respects you and who doesn't."
I don't know about you, but for most people, it's hard to set boundaries with loved ones, no matter what kind of relationship they have with them.
To be honest, it can even be difficult for some individuals to understand what personal boundaries are in the first place, because most of the time, they're based on subjective needs and wants.
However, thanks to TikTok, both psychology experts and everyday people have been sharing and explaining how they choose to define and set boundaries within their own lives — which, btw, is incredibly helpful for those of us (*ahem* me) who need assistance in this department.
So when I found this "Rule of 3" technique on TikTok, posted by Kelsey Laurier, I knew I had to share.
In the video, Kelsey responded to the question, "Can you give examples of the boundaries you set in friendships?"
Kelsey answered by saying, "Something that has really helped me establish boundaries with people is my 'Rule of 3.' I have to tell you something once, [that's] okay. I'm telling you once. I'm bringing up the problem, and I'm establishing the boundary or the issue that I'm having."
"If I have to tell you twice — [that's] okay, I'm telling you twice. I'm going to give people the same grace that I would like to be given," she says. "So if I really care about you, I don't mind bringing up something twice. But if I have to tell you something three times, you can kiss my whole entire Black ass. I will cut you off without warning."
Later in the video, Kelsey further explains why this approach works for her: "When I cut somebody off, I never hear from them again — because they know exactly why I'm not talking to them. It's also a great way to see who respects you and who doesn't. And if you don't respect me or you don't take my feelings into consideration, then we have no business being friends."
After Kelsey posted the video, people were praising her "rule of 3" method.
One commenter thought they were losing it when it came to setting boundaries in their own personal life (and Kelsey validated that they, in fact, were not losing it).
Other people were agreeing and adding to the conversation with why this boundary tip works.
After watching this video and seeing how much Kelsey's advice resonated with people, I wanted to learn more — so I reached out to Kelsey directly.
She told me how and why she first started using her rule of 3. "Most of my life, I was a people pleaser. I was raised to always put others' needs before my own," Kelsey told BuzzFeed. "As I got older, I realized how much damage this had done to my mental health. I had a tendency to keep friends around far too long after they had shown me they were not supportive or respectful."
It wasn't until Kelsey started going to therapy and reading self-help books that she realized her life lacked boundaries. "It stemmed from low self-worth," she said. "I knew if I wanted to start having friendships that felt reciprocal and not one-sided, I needed to learn how to stand up for myself and set standards for people."
"I started to come up with my 'Rule of 3' when I was thinking about my past friendships and asking myself, 'When was the moment I realized my friendship with someone was probably not going to work out?' Typically, my answer was after the third time they did something that hurt me," she continued.
"Of course, the old me continued to be friends with them, and I had to learn the hard way," she said. "But I made a promise to myself that moving forward, after three times, it was going to be a deal-breaker...three times is more than enough confirmation to know you need to part ways with someone."
But while this "Rule of 3" boundary can be useful in many situations, Kelsey emphasized that there are certain boundaries that do not need to be set. She said: "Behaviors like stealing from you, gossiping about you, or making advances on your romantic partner should be a one-strike thing. Also, if you have a friend who is emotionally or physically abusive to you or others, you need to remove them from your life immediately."
I thought Kelsey's method made a lot of sense — but I wanted to reach out to a professional to get their take on it. Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist, board-certified behavior analyst, and author, generally agreed. "There are physical and emotional boundaries that should be considered," she told BuzzFeed. "As long as this is discussed prior with what the expectations are in a positive manner, it can be done. Sometimes, the consequence is not to end the friendship, but maybe [take] a pause."
Even though it's important to set boundaries to have stable, healthy relationships in your life, it can be incredibly hard for most people to set them. Reena said this is often because there's a "honeymoon" period that takes place in any new relationship — and then "the guilt comes in when it's time to be assertive."
If you're establishing boundaries for the first time with someone (or need an overall refresher), Reena provided this example of how you can start the conversation, especially if you consider yourself a people pleaser like Kelsey: "You can start by saying, 'I am so glad we are friends and my hope is that we feel comfortable communicating what will help our friendship grow. I hope you can come to me with concerns, and I can help you.'"
And if you're second-guessing whether you should even be setting boundaries at all, Reena wanted to remind people why it's important to do it in the first place:
"Not only will you feel safe in a relationship, but your feelings can be validated and you'll feel heard," she said. "Just remember: You are of value and you deserve respect. Plus, the more you set boundaries, the more comfortable you'll be to say 'no' when you want to."