Being Selfish vs. Setting Boundaries 

The other weekend I had to bail out of a friend’s birthday party.

Okay, to be fair, I didn’t bail. I actually did not confirm that I would go, but promised to let her know the day of. And that day, I told her I couldn’t make it.

A lot of people from the outside looking in are going to see that as selfish. A lot of people would question why I was unable to put my own needs aside for my friend for just one night.

But that’s a question that almost answers itself: because these are my needs. 

The week prior to this party I was exceptionally busy ( and yes, it’s the Calgary lifestyle, we are all “always busy!”). I hadn’t slept much; adequate rest and nutrition were definitely lacking. I really needed that evening to get back on my feet.

As a person prone to anxiety, these are just things that I normally keep in check. If I’m not my best self, what can I possibly give to anyone else?

I think when it comes to deciding if you are making a selfish decision or setting boundaries, intention is everything. Are you making this decision out of fear, or out of love? Are you making this decision from your ego, or your soul?

We all have to set healthy boundaries, in both our relationships with other people and also with ourselves.

Luckily I have the most beautiful and understanding friends in the world. This one in particular didn’t hold it against me, and we enjoyed a belated birthday brunch the following weekend.

All decisions made from love require no explanation or justification. But I wanted to share with you guys this example to highlight the difference between being selfish and setting boundaries.

A selfish decision would be cancelling because you don’t know anyone at the party. Or out of past resentment towards the friend. Or even going simply because you feel obligated.

Practice good self care, always. These decisions are for you to know and decide.

8 responses to “Being Selfish vs. Setting Boundaries ”

  1. Totally! Not to mention, there is no good in being something you just aren’t! Anxiety is not something that can be tamed so easily, and so we move forward with care and a little maneuvering. A birthday brunch is wonderful!
    Good for you, noticing that it may have been earlier habits that set you up for an episode…people can have very nearsighted vision and that can be disastrous with anxiety! Take care😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see so many women pushing themselves through exhaustion, only to grow more exhausted and unhappy. We are not winning any medals. I think it is important to take the time when we need it so we can be our best to the people we love. You made a healthy choice. Brunch with a friend is so much better than a party any day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes I totally agree. I also get anxious a lot when I’m not in my normal routine and sometimes I just need some time to myself to get back on track. Intentions are everything and good friends will always understand =)


  4. I did the exact same thing today! I know I’m prone to anxiety so when a friend asked me about going to a girls night I told her I would let her know depending on how I’m feeling. Last night, I was 100% dreading the idea of going so I “bailed” and opted for a night in with a good book instead. I think it’s important to put yourself and your needs first. It’s not selfish, its self-love. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t understand why cancelling because you don’t know anyone at the party would be selfish.

    Surely we have to look after our own needs, and if not knowing anyone would bring you anxiety, or distress, and so you simply didn’t want to go, surely we have to put ourselves first, and not force ourselves to be there, if we don’t what to, just for the other person?

    I’m knew to setting boundaries, and still trying to understand the difference between being selfish vs. setting boundaries, and how much we should give to others, and how much we should say no.


    • Given your example, you would be cancelling because of the ANXIETY, and not technically just because you didn’t know anyone. So if it’s missing a gathering for anxiety, that is always okay, and is probably good self-care.


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