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4 Tips For Setting Healthy Boundaries In Your Relationships

Learning to set boundaries in relationships can pertain to both romantic, work, and personal relationships. When you learn to set those boundaries, it will be a healthy process for both you and those you’re setting the boundaries with. 

Boundaries should be seen as a way to determine your comfort levels. You can also view them as how you want to be treated by those around you. They can be seen as a barrier, but it’s important to remember that you have the right to have your boundaries, both emotional and physical respected. 

It’s just as important to know that if something is a boundary for you, you have the right to discuss it. The key here is to remember to avoid discussing boundaries out of anger. Also, boundaries should not be seen as controlling behavior. Those boundaries should not be dictating one another’s lives in the sense of what you do and who you see or where you go.

Before we dive into four ways to set healthy boundaries, we will discuss a few different types of boundaries in relationships. 

Time

This can include setting a work/life balance with your employer. You can do this by saying you’re willing to work inside of normal working hours, but outside of that, you need space unless it will be compensated appropriately. With friends or a partner, you can set boundaries of what you feel comfortable doing, or how long you feel comfortable attending an event. When setting a time boundary this is your way to let others know how long and what you’re willing to do to not give up or miss out on other things.

Physical

With a romantic partner, this could be stating that you do not like certain types of touch. This can also include sexual boundaries based on your comfort level. For others, it can be asking them to ask for your consent or discussing expectations around contraception. 

With friends or relatives, this can include not wanting to be hugged, kissed, or having them in your personal space. 

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Emotional

This can include topics, you’re comfortable discussing in certain settings. Maybe this includes not wanting to discuss your relationships in public. You may also not feel comfortable discussing relationships or work issues with others. It can also include not wanting negative conversations in your work or personal lives done in a public setting.

Now we’ve discussed a few types of boundaries. We will review four ways to help set those boundaries.

Participate in self-reflection

Before having a conversation around boundaries, you will need to understand what your boundaries are so you’re able to communicate them effectively. It’s important to note what you considered to be a boundary versus a pet peeve or grievance you may have. Once you’ve determined those you can effectively communicate with your partner friend, family, member, or colleague.

Begin the conversation

There’s no right or wrong way to have a conversation around boundaries. The key here is to just have it. Whether it’s with colleagues, friends, family, or romantic partners, it’s important to discuss key topics. You can do this by making a list of various topics as a conversation starter. Topics you can focus on can include social events, physical touch how you’re spoken to, overall comfort levels, etc.

Use a number scale

When setting boundaries instead of saying something is critical, extremely important, etc. try to use a number scale. Try to label boundaries with numbers. This helps the person you’re discussing boundaries with have a better understanding of how they impact you. In turn, they can be better prepared and aware.

Avoid procrastinating

If you aren’t aware of your boundaries or you don’t establish them early on, it can lead to confusion and frustration in your personal and professional relationships. It can be hard for both parties to understand what they’re doing is inappropriate or makes you uncomfortable if you haven’t established this boundary. 

Ultimately boundary setting conversations should be seen as a positive in personal and professional relationships. Hopefully, the tips above will help. You have some of those more difficult conversations and set your relationships up for success.

Reach out to me to learn more about relationship coaching.

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Hi, I am Kirstin!

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A courageous explorer of the heart’s depths, passionate about partnering with successful single women who long to uncover why they get stuck when they try to get close.