In relationships – romantic or platonic relationships, we are reluctant to set boundaries because we expect them to anticipate our needs and to fulfil them, that’s what love is all about – isn’t? Setting boundaries in relationships have been viewed by many as an interference in the spontaneity and romance in relationships.

Boundary is the line where I end and someone else begins. Without any line the distinction becomes confusing: Who owns and maintains this ambiguous space? Which rules apply? – Howes, Ph.D, Clinical psychology

Setting boundaries come with having a mutual for one another in any given relationship – asking for permissions, taking one another’s feelings into account, showing gratitude and respect differences in opinion, perspective and feelings.

It is important to set boundaries because we inhabit the habits of the people we spend time with the most. This is why it is important to clearly communicate our boundaries. The most important step in setting boundaries is speaking up when wronged or disrespected.

Here are steps to take note of when setting clear boundaries;

Be Self-aware:

This is a major step in setting boundaries. We need to know what we like and dislike, what we’re comfortable with versus what scares us, and how we want to be treated in given situations.

We should be clear about our needs:

After realizing the things we like and the things we don’t, we have to clearly communicate them to our friends and partners. Violation of boundaries stem from misunderstandings and avoiding to communicate them because we are scared of confrontation.

Be direct and specific:

It is important to avoid beating around the bush when communicating our feelings, be direct and state clearly the things we are not comfortable with. For example: “Do not read my journal. I feel violated when my privacy is disrespected.”, “I want to hear about your day. I’ll be available to give you my full attention in 10 minutes.”

Use the sandwich approach when communicating your feelings:

This consist of a compliment, criticism and compliment. Starting with a compliment prevents our partner or friend from getting defensive; it primes them for the criticism, it makes them they feel connected and comfortable enough to take it and then wrap it up with a compliment.

It’s important for all of us to have personal boundaries. They dictate how we approach relationships with friends and acquaintances. Our boundaries help us live in-tune with our desires, needs, and feelings. With boundaries, we can comfortably say no to the things we don’t want to, without feeling bad.




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