There are times we find ourselves entangled in relationships we don’t know how to come out of. This makes us sulk, and leaves us restless and agitated. We always have the choice of bailing on the relationship, but that’s not always the solution. The greater truth of life is that giving up is easy, while making things work is tough. And in order to stop behaving like such a flippant child in what is otherwise a mature relationship, a better idea is to set boundaries within relationships. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but a consistent effort towards it will make your life a lot simpler.
1. Acknowledge that there are boundaries in all relationships.
2. Acknowledge these boundaries are broken when they are.
Before we start the process of setting boundaries, it’s better to get a grip on why we need them. What is it that hurt you? What hurt your ego? Did negative comments bother you or could you not take an offensive joke? If we are aware of our own limits, it will be easier for us to draw the line.
3. Be clear about what you can tolerate and what you can’t.
It is necessary to establish certain things in the beginning of a relationship, especially if it is a romantic one. We can do that by establishing mental, emotional and physical boundaries. This helps the other person understand what is acceptable to you and what makes you uncomfortable. For instance, you should be clear about not sharing passwords and other issues related to privacy. Similarly, if you are not comfortable sex-ting, you should let them know.
4. Be straightforward, and don’t hold back any punches.
Being straightforward is universally applicable and can sort out half your problems. When you realise that you are pushing yourself too much towards a person or when you are being taken for granted, being straightforward comes in real handy. For instance, if a friend is always cribbing about their life problems and it’s draining you out, it’s better to clearly explain to them that you have your own life issues to resolve. Even at the workplace, it’s better to inform your teammates that you are not okay with working overtime.
5. The world will try to make you feel bad about being selfish and placing yourself first. Tell them to put a sock in it.
When you demand boundaries in a relationship, other people don’t react all too well. Of course, people don’t like being kept at a distance. As a result, they try to make you feel guilty or put pressure on you and that puts you in an awkward spot. Thus, it’s necessary to be sure before creating boundaries. You should be firm about it and keep yourself above everything. Understand that you deserve your space and peace of mind.
6. Don’t confuse having boundaries with an invitation to snap.
Most people don’t know how to say ‘no’. It’s not easy to say it and not everybody likes coming across as blunt. But saying ‘no’ is the most important aspect of setting a boundary. We feel scared to say the truth or saying no because it scares us. But it is a fear that we should let go of. For example, your colleague wants to gossip about another colleague and you don’t wish to participate – a simple, polite ‘no’ will end it. When we learn to say ‘no’ to things we are not comfortable with, we respect ourselves.
8.Take care of yourself.
If setting the boundary brought up any backlash or feelings of guilt, then be sure to take care of yourself. Go for a walk, exercise, be out in nature, etc. Do something to help yourself get re-centered and don’t spend too much (or any) energy focusing on what happened.
So even if someone else wants to talk about the “drama” of what happened, then just don’t even go there. Tell them you don’t want to talk about it, because when we do that we keep the stress and fear-based thinking alive
9. Get rid of the people who cross your boundaries too quickly!
Spending excess time with friends makes us feel exhausted. It is difficult to be on the same page with everyone. That’s why there is a need to incorporate a distance – not a physical one but a mental one. In fact, most of the times that is all you need. It’s simple. If talking to a friend everyday is irritating you, then change that. It’s that easy.
Remember, having boundaries is a sign of a healthy relationship. We get more time to reflect on ourselves, the things we like and dislike. It curbs our impulsive reactions and makes us rational people. But setting boundaries is a long process and needs consistency.