You Do You and I’ll Do Me

“You Do You
and I’ll Do Me
and I Won’t Do You, 

A chuckling teenager says he heard this quote watching a YouTuber. The innuendo grabbed his teenager attention, but the first two lines grabbed mine. I thought it was the clearest/best life advice I’ve heard in a long time. 

“You do you. I’ll do me.” Advice I wish everyone would heed. I work with relationship conflicts every day, and try to find language to explain boundaries. “You do you,” is about as simple as I can make it. 

A lot of people don’t understand the concept of boundaries: Your influence stops at the invisible line where my influence begins. This is me- my stuff, my thoughts and my feelings. Your influence doesn’t cross this line, this boundary. Boundary violations are everywhere. Parents don’t know when to let kids be, leave them to figure things out. Friends step on each other’s toes with unwanted advice or criticisms. Spouses correct one another. 


A married couple goes out to a party and the wife is having fun. Before long, her husband whispers in her ear, “You’re too loud. Everyone is staring.” She looks around and doesn’t see anyone staring. She has plenty of friends and is well liked. Does she need her husband to supervise her social etiquette? She has made friends in social settings for years without his advice. 

A mother says to her son, “Your friends aren’t going to get it if you tell that joke during your speech at school. It will fall flat. ” But he has great comedic timing, and his speeches are top notch. The teacher has already approved the joke, and he thinks it’s funny. Can’t he choose for himself?

A friend says, “Well I don’t understand why you moved in to that expensive house. You’ll never be able to afford to live there.” 

A casual social acquaintance says, “That outfit is an interesting choice.”

Why do people do this to one another? Why are we free to dish out opinions to one another  on matters that don’t affect us? 

How about you do you, and I’ll do me? 

Posted on May 23, 2016 .