Punk Rock HR Blog Lessons: Boundaries


I’m not very good with boundaries on the internet, which is a real pain-in-the-ass because I didn’t realize this problem until it was too late. I was well into my third year of blogging at Punk Rock HR before I realized, hey, maybe I need to be a little less friendly and a little more direct with people.

I am an idiot.

The problem starts and ends with the me. I like to meet new people and hear stories. I ask probing questions. I should really STFU and mind my own business, but I assume that everything will be fine. Most of the time, everything is fine. I meet new people and get to know a little about them. The world is a brighter place.

Unfortunately, there have been situations where my enthusiasm has been misunderstood. That’s the downside of a social media persona, I guess, but I really resent those moments when I have to have an honest conversation that goes like this.

  • I don’t want to receive emails from you where you criticize your wife.
  • I can’t help you qualify for long-term disability benefits.
  • Stop texting me about your weekend plans because you are being totally inappropriate.
  • I can’t be more clear: I don’t want to have sex with you.

Ugh. It feels so gross.

I take full responsibility for these situations. I operate in a world (that doesn’t exist) where I assume that I’m allowed to have professional, collegial relationships that are little more honest and authentic. I know that my language confuses people, too. I ask for details. I prod. I demonstrate a level of verbal intimacy on my blog that pushes the boundaries.

Double ugh. Damn you, Punk Rock HR. I am a liberal arts student. I’ve read my fair share of Derrida. I should know that communication is so unbelievably complicated.

So if you’re one of those people who reached out to me and feels rebuked, I apologize for your hurt feelings. I just can’t have a serious relationship with you. Your bipolar diagnosis/failed marriage/awful spouse/horrible childhood is sad. I wish you well.

Boundaries. I’m developing them. I’m sorry if you don’t understand it. Neither do I.

So it goes.

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