Actress Lauren London served as guest host on Wednesday's episode of Red Table Talk, filling in for Willow Smith, who is in the midst of her "Life" music tour. This marked London's second appearance on the show, the first time being when she talked about the grieving process following the shooting death of her partner, rapper Nipsey Hussle.
During this episode, London, Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne "Gammy" Banfield-Norris sat down with licensed therapist and New York Times bestselling author Nedra Glover Tawwab about the importance of setting boundaries, a topic that has become highlighted in recent years and one that Pinkett Smith admits she struggles with.
"I really get angry when I'm forced to set a boundary," she said. "I realized that the other day with a friend of mine. I really have to talk to this person about an issue I'm having, then I got mad at that person for making me have to advocate for myself."
Pinkett Smith added that she sometimes feels like the boundaries she is asking for are "petty," and London could relate, as she described a recent phone call with a friend in which the conversation became "toxic."
"I didn't want to indulge in it. I stopped it mid-sentence, was like, 'You know, I'm really not in this space. I wish you peace and love.' They got off the phone and then a week later I hear they're talking so bad about me. So there I am creating a healthy boundary and it felt like it went to slap me in my face," London recalled.
Tawwab explained that London was setting a boundary with that person who challenged her behavior, resulting in the negative response.
"People don't like a challenge because what you said was 'whoa this conversation was unhealthy for me to hear' and that person probably thought, 'Are you saying that I'm unhealthy?' 'No, no, no, I didn't say you were unhealthy, I said this is not a conversation I'm willing to be a part of,'" Tawwab advised.
Pinkett Smith felt that setting boundaries also challenged the person setting them, which could explain why she finds herself getting angry when she has to take that step with someone.
"I realized that the process of setting boundaries is also setting boundaries on myself. And I realize that’s why I probably get upset when I have to set boundaries because now I’m being challenged. I’m being checked, I gotta grow," she said.
During the segment, the women watched several videos in which different scenarios played out that showed a need for certain boundaries and how to address them. After one of the videos about physical boundaries, London opened up about times when fans have gotten too close for comfort.
"I have been in positions like that before, with just, people coming to put their arm around you, or taking pictures with you and having their arm around your waist, and just stuff like that. I've always been like" — she motioned how she would gently remove someone's hand — "this is my body, I don't like being touched by strangers or people I work with."
Pinkett Smith explained, "I think that it's so important that we respect where people are sitting and unfortunately, the more you let boundaries go and don't communicate it, now you have to unravel a habitual lack of boundaries, which a lot of us tend to have to do, especially in important relationships, because we let it go for so long. People are so used to operating in a certain way."
Tawwab noted that boundaries are never set in stone and can be created or changed at any time because everyone is entitled to evolve.