Bottom Lines

by Reid on May 4, 2015

smiling mid age man and disabled wife outdoorsHow do you know what you’re bottom lines are? And what do you do when someone crosses one?

Join Cathy Vartuli from as she asks Reid Mihalko from these questions.

Cathy: Hi everyone, this is Cathy Vartuli from And we’re here with Reid Mihalko from

Reid: I was just wondering if it would like my half of the video froze if I just went [pause] the whole time.

Cathy: Thank you for trying that out live.

Reid: Yeah, it was great.

Cathy: I appreciate that.

Reid: Gotta keep it spontaneous.

Cathy: Reid, can you talk to us a little bit about bottom lines? We’ve referred to them in other videos.

Reid: Mm-hmm.

Cathy: What’s a bottom line? How do you know when you have one? And what do you do when you hit one?

Reid: I think in other videos that we’ve done with you we were talking about them in dating.

Cathy: Like if someone kicks your dog kind of thing.

Reid: Yeah, so, you can refer to those, I’ll probably use similar examples. Bottom lines for me are — in dating and just in relationships in general, it can be at work, it’s you figuring out where you draw the line, where you’re actually not allowed to cross that line. A lot of people with boundaries and Betty Martin talks about it this way really well, a lot of people put their boundaries like super-close to them, like, “Don’t cross this line.”

And then when people cross it, it’s like smack right in the face, and people get pissed. What you want to do is you want to have not just your bottom lines but your boundaries in general much further out away from you, so that if people cross it, it’s not — you don’t get smacked emotionally in the face.

Cathy: Right, you have a little time to communicate–

Reid: –yeah, and you’re like, “Hey, that was a boundary of mine that you crossed” rather than, “YOU MOTHER–“

Cathy: It really does help.

Reid: And it creates a lot more safety. People who have their boundaries too close, what they end up doing is putting up these walls so that you can’t smack them in the face, but if you put the fence further out, the boundary further out, it’s more like a fence, rather than this big brick wall. Where bottom lines are really important is your bottom line shouldn’t be here, because if it’s too close, it’s already too late.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: In relationships and in dating, the analogy that I use that works really well is culturally speaking is if you have kids and you invite somebody home from a date or they pick you up for a first date at your home and your kid opens the door and they see your kid and they just kick your kid in the face, do you go on the date? And most people would be like, “Hell, no.” So you’re looking for that kind of very certain, “No. That’s done — we’re done.”

Cathy: And it’s really helpful to know this ahead of time, because in the past I’ve gotten into relationships I wasn’t clear what my bottom lines were, I wasn’t clear what I wanted, and I got attached to the person, and they’d start doing things that I was like, “Oh, that doesn’t seem quite right.”

Reid: Where they’re really close to your bottom lines and then you’re all tense.

Cathy: Right. But because I hadn’t defined what my bottom line is, what I wanted or didn’t want, what was acceptable, I kind of let it slide because I was already attached to the person and neither of us were happy.

Reid: And you were being violated in a way for yourself, and then all of a sudden it’s like, “I didn’t speak up before, so can I speak up now.”

Cathy: Yeah. “It’s only a little bit different than it was yesterday.”

Reid: In that case you want to go to the difficult conversations video and be like, “Okay, I’m having a difficult conversation with you right now” and use that formula. But the value of figuring out what your bottom lines are is huge even in work. I’ve done the math, I’ve figured out for my life to work financially, I cannot take a job that pays less than such-and-such. And you have to stick to those bottom lines, and so you’re also kind of looking at what makes your life workable versus unworkable, and those unworkable areas — and it’ll take a little time to tweak and figure out, but that’s the stuff that you’re looking at and those are going to be your bottom lines. Those are the things that if you allow even — or actually more than once right? Because sometimes people cross your bottom lines and well, it happened once.

Cathy: Yeah, you give a warning.

Reid: No, you don’t. For a bottom line it’s you’re done. The only time you give somebody a warning on a bottom line is if it was an unexpressed bottom line, and that’s your responsibility, because you should have expressed it. So this is really useful in dating, because you can lay all that stuff out immediately, or by your dating profile or however you’re doing it, weed people out who are already not a match. If you know you want to have kids, why are you dating at all somebody who is like, “I don’t want to have kids.”

Cathy: Or vice versa, if you know you don’t, don’t go out with people that really want to have them.

Reid: Yeah. And then the other thing with bottom lines is because we live in such a PC society now, people are very like, “Oh, I can’t have that bottom line. I don’t want to have kids but kids are nice. So maybe I could date somebody who has kids.” Well, I mean, do you not want to have kids that are genetically yours, or you just don’t want to have kids period? So sometimes bottom lines are very un-PC. And I’m fine with you can be as shallow as you want, because you’re honoring something about yourself, you don’t necessarily have to go take a workshop to expand and dissolve your bottom lines. Start with your bottom lines first, and then figure out if that’s something you actually want to work on, but you at least have my permission to have whatever bottom lines you want, and then it’s your job to stick to them.

And your life will start to work better I think the more powerfully you can say NO to things. At a certain point it’s not about what you say yes to, your life gets defined by what you say no to, because what you’re saying no to is what you’re taking care of yourself for.

Cathy: That’s great. Thank you very much.

Reid: You’re welcome. What are your bottom lines? Leave them on the comments below. Maybe your bottom line should be not to do videos with somebody as silly as me.

Cathy: It’s possible.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: