Normally, I tend to be watchful of this human shortfall but I got caught myself recently. New people moved into the rental property next door a few months ago and became problematic right from the start. Usually, I believe in dealing with things strongly from the outset in these situations but......I was busy with music things and didn't want that negative energy so I tried reason and being pleasant a few times....I finally realized as these "incidents" started to escalate that these people thought I was weak (soft headed) because I was being nice and reasonable with them(soft hearted) instead of involving city authorities. That has since been fixed :-) They no longer think that I am soft headed and certainly, not soft hearted !!
So, what are we to do? Be "tough" on everyone with the attitude that they are going to take advantage of us.?....be suspicious of friends motives? etc..? No, we can't do that because if we close off our soft hearted feelings of kindness and generosity we will miss all the wonderful experiences with people that these feelings can bring us. People who appreciate and reciprocate our kindness and soft heartedness.
I think we need to understand what our boundaries/perimeters are and when those boundaries/perimeters are crossed we need to deal with it right away and firmly. Sometimes, it helps to communicate what our perimeters are early on in relationships......now, I did do that with my recent situation...I explained nicely and reasonably what my expectations were (simply stay on your own property and do no damage to mine)...where I fell short this time was not following thru with action once those expectations were not met. I need to take my own advice, for sure.....and will do so next time around :-)
In give and take type relationships of any kind...even casual ones....we have to be sure that give and take is really happening and appropriate appreciation is expressed. Really, it comes down to respect/regard and gracious manners. I have a lovely neighbor a few doors down who has old fashioned values and we have become fast friends for the past several years....I'll call her Jeanette for this writing....she brings me goody type things....I thank her and follow up with a call on how good it was etc etc....then in few days she receives a goody or something from the garden from me and I receive the thanks and appreciation....it is comforting and reassuring and creates warm feelings on both sides. She is very soft hearted to me but, then, I am also to her.....as it should be.
Many of us do a lot of communicating on the internet for various reasons...chats....social media....group participation sites like sound cloud.....sometimes I notice that there a lack of regard or respect for others...perhaps, it is due to the lack of time and short communications ....however, I notice I am drawn to those communicators who show regard for the other "fellow" and notice that others feel the same as I. It seems to be a subset of the soft hearted issue above.....people want you to support them, respond to them, and offer info (as in a chat request) and help but do not offer reciprocating support and appropriate appreciation such as a simple ...thank you. You don't see these types of communicators really lasting long with that kind of regard for others, fortunately. Once I identify someone like that I do remove myself from their communications quickly as do others, I am sure......
Being soft hearted, generous and kind are great qualities in all areas of life (including internet communications) but, we all have to be aware so our perimeters/boundaries are not crossed and we are not taken advantage of and perceived as weak or soft headed.
Some Quotes on the subject :
"I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head."- Theodore Roosevelt
"You can't always be nice. That's how people take advantage of you. Sometimes you have to set boundaries." - Ritu Ghatourey