Growing and maintaining strong and healthy relationships stems from setting solid boundaries and building trust with the people around you. Adhering to someone else’s boundaries shows them you value their word and therefore builds trust. Setting your own boundaries is just as important.  This takes courage and practice, but it’s well worth it.

Here are a few suggestions to consider when setting boundaries with those around you.

  1. Communicate. Start setting boundaries by clearly outlining your needs and comfort zones. An example of this would be telling a friend that you enjoy spending time with her, but you would appreciate it if she would call before showing up at your house. This lets your friend know that she crossed a boundary by arriving unannounced while also giving her a way to fix her mistake. 
  2. Respectfully explain the consequences. Not everyone will acknowledge your boundaries after they have been expressed. When this happens, it’s crucial to utilize healthy ways of enforcing your requests. If someone repeatedly crosses a defined boundary, consider giving a consequence. This often looks like removing yourself from the situation or declining to participate in activities where the behavior is likely to continue.
  3. Be willing to forgive but also to walk away. People make mistakes: It’s part of being human. Because of this, it’s important to determine when to give someone another chance and when it’s healthier to walk away. This decision is ultimately up to you. However, if you decide to give a person who has a history of poor behavior another chance, additional boundaries may be the best way to work toward re-establishing trust.

Good communication is at the heart of boundary setting. Explaining the benefits, such as peace of mind and higher self-esteem, can help the people around you feel included and more accepting of your needs. Remember, you don’t need to justify your boundaries to others. But, allowing those you trust into your thought process can help deepen your relationships and enable them to see things from your perspective. 

Source: SupportLinc EAP – Wellbeing Blog