What are boundaries in relationships? How to set boundaries in a relationship without being controlling or rude? Do we ever think of building a wall so that others don’t invade our life and personal space? People are good at it, aren’t they? They enter your space and sometimes even end up ruling it, they even succeed to make you see your reality through the opinions they have formed about you. These are unhealthy boundaries in relationships where the person has already crossed the line.
How to set boundaries in a relationship without being rude?
We are taught to love unconditionally and be kind and forgiving but it doesn’t mean that we need to give our full control to someone else’s hands, we cannot live a fulfilled life if we don’t get to define and see life the way we want to.
We don’t have to lose ourselves and whittle our needs to meet others’ expectations. Boundaries in a relationship don’t have to go the rude way, they could be politely drawn but I know it is hard, especially for someone who has been given complete access to them their whole life.
People pleasers and friendly people usually fail to say no to others, they try to fill in and stay accessible. Over the period when they are adulting they realise they have already given too much access to others, and now it has become a difficult task to take that access back. People become used to that always available or flexible trait of yours.
Examples of healthy boundaries
There could be different types of boundaries, based on your approach, your relationship, personal or professional or depending upon what situation you are in. You cannot suddenly start setting boundaries one fine day but need to know and understand the signs. Here are a few examples of boundaries that could help you draw comparisons with your daily practices:
You are in a healthy relationship with your friends, family, subordinates and that special one, when:
- Your privacy is respected
- Your thoughts and feelings are given importance and acceptance
- Your opinion and suggestions are counted
- You are not judged or critically analysed for your mistakes
- You are asked for permission to do things
- You are shown gratitude for the things you do
- You feel safe
- Your voice is heard
- You feel included
- You feel comfortable
- You want to be with them often
If you just said a yes to all the above-mentioned examples or even a majority of them, bingo! You are blessed to have a healthy circle of friends and family. If you nodded your head with a no or annoyance with each point I mentioned above, I am sorry to pull the trigger, but you should know that you are not alone.
5 ways to set boundaries in a relationship
The majority of people feel uncomfortable and unhappy at various paces, just because they couldn’t draw a boundary in the first place and now suddenly they cannot say NO, thinking it might sound rude or not their usual self. I know we all learn in the different phases of life, you can not suddenly get up and start being someone else, someone who loves his own space or wants to say no to that annoying person in your life, but at least we can start trying.
Setting boundaries in a personal relationship
No matter how much investment you are in a relationship with someone, there comes a time when you are expected to pour more than your capacity because somehow you have set a pattern of doing things in a certain way. Learn to understand your capacities and based on that invest and comment in a personal relationship.
Setting boundaries with your in-laws
If you are a people pleaser, it is hard for you to say no and upset anyone, even your nasty mother in law. But you need to set boundaries with your in-laws so that they don’t develop unrealistic expectations from you in future. Keep it real and be yourself right from the beginning, with assertion and subtleness.
Setting boundaries with your relatives
Do not give access to your personal life to others, even if they are your close relatives. When things fall apart they are the first ones to comment and pass remarks which are of hardly any help.
Setting boundaries with your friends
Even your best of friends, give space, get space. As an individual you are entirely responsible for yourself, your friends could be your pillar of strength but even they have their way of thinking and opinions which might not always be aligned with your personal interest.
Setting boundaries in the workplace
If you don’t define healthy boundaries at the workplace with your boss, with your colleagues and yourself, chances are, you will soon head towards the very famous “frustration” zone.
Setting boundaries with yourself
Yes, most importantly it is you who needs to understand that thin line. Set boundaries with over-pouring, thinking, overdoing, going over the board, out of the way for others. Learn to say no, where needed and most importantly stop pleasing others just to make them happy.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are examples of boundaries in a relationship?
Saying ‘No’ politely but assertively, giving realistic responses and respecting others’ privacy as well.
How do you create boundaries in a relationship?
Develop boundaries in relationships by communicating your needs, being honest and giving space to your partner to open up.
What are personal boundaries in a relationship?
Giving too much access to self hampers the personal boundaries in a relationship. Identify the red flags (criticism, gas-lighting, narcissism) and draw boundaries to save your sanity.
Priyanka Joshi is the founder of Sanity Daily. Host of ‘Mental Health First” Podcast. A digital nomad, published author and an NLP practitioner, helping you prioritize your mental health.