Having a "manual" for someone versus setting boundaries?

Hi Brooke,

I am hoping you can help me make sense of a recent situation I encountered with a friend the other day. I am having a hard time making sense of whether or not this was me having a “manual” on how someone should be versus a positive example of me trying to set boundaries. (As background – I’m a super people pleaser and trying not to be and really working on trying to set better boundaries).

Here’s the situation. A friend invited me to dinner. This is a friend who had not treated me well in the past and recently reached out to try and patch the relationship. We made plans to meet for dinner this past Thursday. They even confirmed dinner a few days beforehand. I will say that friend is often fairly last minute about plans (in terms of exact time and place) and they are also someone who likes to pick new restaurants so I deferred to them to make the plan.

Thursday morning came and I believed that we were still meeting for dinner that night and, thus, I planned my day accordingly so I could be free that evening (working out early morning instead of after work, etc.). However, I didn’t hear from my friend that morning. By noontime, I thought it was strange and then reached out to my friend with a text saying “hey. I know we have plans to meet for dinner tonight. What time are you thinking?”

My friend wrote back to that message and said: “I messed up and my flight doesn’t land until 11pm tonight” (they were traveling on business).

I was shocked by that reply because I felt that if my friend discovered that they weren’t available that they would proactively tell me. And, I was very hurt and mad that they didn’t. I did text back my friend and say “I feel you like you could have handled that better. I appreciate how disruptive business travel can be and how busy you are. But, I understood we had solid plans and arranged my day around those plans. In the future, can you please tell me of changes like this proactively? Otherwise, I will feel like you are not respecting my time and feelings.”

So, my questions to you are:

(1) Is this a case of having a manual?
I struggle a bit with that idea because it seems like common courtesy to tell someone your plans have totally changed.

(2) Was my response back an appropriate way to set a boundary?

Thanks so much for your insights!