You teach people how to be in relationship with you

I Need You to Call Me
A couple of weeks ago I met a man in the course of my work. We sort of hit it off, and I gave him my business card, which contains my cell phone number.

Two nights later, at 11:00PM, he sent me a text, asking me a question.

It wasn’t an important text, he wasn’t in danger, and there was no compelling reason for the message to be answered in the middle of the night.

On the other hand, I was wide awake, reading a book. I could easily have answered the question and went back to reading. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a big deal.

But I didn’t. I ignored the text message. Because if I answer it, I just taught him that it is totally reasonable to send me a casual text after 9:00PM and expect to get a response.

And I don’t think it is. I don’t want people to send me late-night texts. I don’t want that expectation out there in my relationships.

You have to teach people how to be in relationship with you. Every single interaction with someone else sets the norm about how we expect them to treat us. And it is important to be conscious about it, because once you taught them how you expect to be treated, it is hard to expect them to treat you differently than that.

I agree with Jesus that we should treat other people the way we wish to be treated. But we also have an obligation to tell them how to treat us, too.

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