How do you understand requests for attention and help others understand your boundaries?
Our prompt comes from Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange user Mark (original and abridged version ccbysa3.0):
Basically, I don’t have enough time. I have so many things I want to do (books to read, stories to write, pictures to draw, etc.) that I never have time to do them all.
Now we have a new, additional roommate, with her boyfriend.
They keep trying to rope me into spending time with them. When they are in the kitchen, they keep knocking and asking me polite questions. They cook too much food and invite me to join them (alright, alright, this one isn’t actually that much of a problem ;)).
It’s generally all extremely nice of them, but the problem is that spending time with them is boring to me. I really like them. I think they’re great people. But I just don’t have much in common with them and I keep feeling like I’m just wasting time when I hang out with them.
I know that they already know I’m trying to keep my distance from them, and I also know that it bothers them. I’d like to sit down with them and try to explain the situation but no matter how I try to phrase it in my mind, it just keeps sounding incredibly rude and unfriendly.
My Question: What would be a good way to explain this to them without offending them?
We also talk about Melissa’s Granny Squares Color Pattern Generator and China Miéville’s The Scar.
Please share any comments you have! If you have a submission of an everyday situation where it’s hard for you to be empathetic or compassionate, write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org