When people talk about setting boundaries, what does this mean? People who set boundaries are defining what they are comfortable with and how they would like to be treated by others. This applies to all relationships you may have – with a friend, family member, romantic partner, at work, a neighbour, or anyone else in your life.
Examples of boundaries:
1. “I am comfortable with following each other on social media, but not with sharing passwords.”
2. “I am okay with kissing and holding hands, but not in public.”
3. “I am not able to work on weekends – I need to spend time with my family.”
Once one’s own boundaries have been thought about, the next step is to communicate them… Communication is key! One useful strategy to communicate boundaries is to use “I statements.” This may help to reduce defensiveness and allow for more collaboration. For example, instead of saying “you are always late,” try “I feel like I am unimportant to you when you are late. I need you to be on time or let me know in advance when you will be late.”
Healthy Vs Unhealthy Boundaries:
Healthy boundaries are implemented to protect you whereas unhealthy boundaries may create harm or be attempts to control another’s behaviour. A healthy boundary might sound like: “I need space to hang out with my friends on my own.” In contrast, an unhealthy boundary sounds like: “I need you to stop talking to other men / women and only talk to me.”