Boundaries: A Simple Guide

How to tell if your boundaries have been crossed:

  • You’re not comfortable with the situation.

e.g. A friend calls at 7pm and asks if they can come over for dinner. This causes you to feel uncomfortable emotionally and physically.

How to find what your boundaries are:

  • Ask yourself what you are comfortable with.

e.g. What if they didn’t come over tonight but we just spoke on the phone? Not comfortable with that either? Okay, how about if we just text tonight, and we catch up on the weekend? Perfect.

How to put your boundaries in place:

  • Tell the other person what you are not comfortable with (and maybe what you are comfortable with).

e.g. “Hey friend, thanks for the invitation! I don’t really feel like company tonight, but I don’t mind texting if you’d like to chat. Do you want to catch up this weekend?”

How to put your boundaries more firmly in place:

  • If the other person does not honour your boundaries, it is an opportunity for you to flex your boundary-placing muscles and get a little better at insisting your boundaries are respected.

e.g. Friend says “Can’t I just come over? I want to see you.”
You might say: “Hi friend, I still do not want company tonight. I like you and would like to spend time with you, however I am not willing to do so right now. If you are in need of company, perhaps there is someone else you can ask.”

  • This might go on for some time, because some people are not very well-practiced at respecting other people’s boundaries.
  • If all your attempts to enforce boundaries are ignored or violated, it is recommended you cut that person out of your life, because they are an asshat and you deserve better.
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