So, you've been hella stressed these last few weeks. You haven't been home much and the dishes are starting to pile up (along with the clothes on your "clothes chair." You know that you have a mess on your hands, but at this point you just want to contain it. Meaning, the last thing you need is for the mayhem to grow.
Then it happens. Your friend comes over with their 4 for $4 and leaves their empty Wendy's cup on your coffee table. To make it even worse, they unfolded your favorite blanket and forgot to fold it back up (the minuscule bit of cleaning you found time to do). Now, you not only have your own shit to straighten up but you've been left with the homie's mess too.
Our initial thought is "damn, that's inconsiderate."
What's that? Facts.
However, there's a reason why they felt so comfortable with leaving their mess behind. When people see that your space is messy, they feel more comfortable with leaving their trash too.
Unfortunately, these actions extend past physical litter; it goes for emotional clutter as well.
All too often, when we have an overwhelming amount of internal disarray it gives others the green light to casually dump their issues on us; unaware of the fact that you may going through something tough as well. Although their intentions may not be harmful, it's far from the support you were hoping for.
The only way to combat this is by setting boundaries. Be mindful that you are not obligated to take on someone else's issues when you are drowning in your own. Fortunately, taking care of you first is mutually beneficial because you become a better listener and advisor when you are properly balanced.
You don't have to constantly be a place of refuge and you are not intended to be an emotional dumping ground either. Speak up and let those around you know if you are unable to perform emotional labor.
And tell them to throw that damn Wendy's cup away.
-The Good-Natured Troublemaker