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How To Set Boundaries
In Any Relationship
What Are Your Boundaries?
Every relationship needs boundaries, and they can apply to anything: if you don’t like being hugged or need a certain amount of alone time everyday, it’s important to make that clear to others. We put boundaries in place to protect ourselves, and putting yourself first in these situations is called self-preservation.
Don’t Wait To Share
Sharing your boundaries can feel awkward, but you can’t expect others to know what your boundaries are unless you tell them. If the worst-case scenario occurs and the person you share with lashes out, that says more about them than it does about you, and it may be a sign that they shouldn’t be in your life anymore.
Communicate Them Clearly
Communicate your boundaries in a clear way, and avoid phrases like “maybe” or “I guess” that aren’t definitive. Per therapist Jenn Kennedy, “If someone sets boundaries with assertiveness, it feels firm but kind to others. [...] Assertive language is clear and non-negotiable,” so remember that your boundaries are not up for debate.
Ask About Their Boundaries
Discussing boundaries should be a process where everyone gets to share, and as dating coach James Preece tells PsychCentral, “Everyone’s got their own space and comfort levels when it comes to boundaries.” If you want someone to honor your boundaries, then you have to be willing to do the same.
Know Your Limits
Even if you’ve been clear with your boundaries, people can still mess up, so it’s important to decide where certain boundaries fall on the spectrum of forgivable mistakes to deal breakers. Boundaries aren’t just about self-respect — they set a standard for those around you to respect themselves as well.