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Setting Boundaries

Have you ever had to set really firm boundaries with a peer, friend, or co-worker? How have you done this? When I set boundaries, I try very hard to make it about ME and not about that person, that way I can try to prevent from hurting the person’s feelings. Do any of you have experience with setting boundaries? Have you ever had to “take space” from a friend?

11 Replies to “Setting Boundaries”

  1. amber says:

    yes, i’ve had to “break up” with a friend before. our relationship wasn’t healthy, and basically everything he said to me was something negative about myself. I finally realized that i deserved better, so i told him that we could no longer be friends. i do not regret it to this day. of course on some level it will hurt his feelings, but as long as i use language that is focused on me and not on him and as long as i only speak the truth and nothing out of spite, then it is okay and i can live with myself.

  2. jgreens2015 says:

    Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable at first but once practiced, they get easier! I think it is really important to communicate with people about your needs and your comfort levels. Sometimes we assume that other people know and understand how we feel without telling them. The truth is–most people aren’t mind readers! We need to communicate our boundaries and set our own limits.

  3. thepainter says:

    Yes, I had an uncomfortable situation with somebody at work. He just kept talking too me too flirtatiously and constantly. It wasn’t on the level of sexual harassment or anything warranting official action, but it still made me uncomfortable. I talked about it with some friends and they suggested to me that instead of feeling uncomfortable at work all the time that I had the right to feel like I was in a safe space and to bring up my thoughts with the individual. So I told him how I felt and asked him to please keep all further conversation on a professional basis. It was a little awkward at first, but over time it was much better for my well-being than not saying anything at all.

  4. sunshine says:

    It’s very difficult for me to set boundaries with other people, as I am a people-pleaser. I have started to become stronger and stick up for myself when I am in uncomfortable situations with family or friends. It gives me greater self-respect when I can speak what I believe and stand up for myself.

  5. maria1234 says:

    Yes. I used to suffer from an eating disorder, and every time I would hang out with my friend while I was trying to recover, she would comment on my weight. she thought she was being helpful, telling me that i looked great or that i put on some weight, but it was not helpful because i was trying so hard to not think about my weight or appearance. Anyways, I had to sit her down and have a conversation with her telling her that what she was doing was actually hurting and not helping. She didn’t understand at first, but once I finished speaking, she understood where I was coming from. After that, she avoided similar comments, and everything was back to normal.

  6. samdc says:

    I’ve never had this happen to me yet, and I hope that I don’t. It sounds like this is a common problem, though! I am fortunate to only stick with friends who respect me and treat me well. If they don’t, I can find other friends.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Recently I had to learn to set boundaries with my oldest friend, a girl who I met in elementary school and had been best friends with for years. We always had so much in common because we both came from dysfunctional families and because of that, both of us struggled with depression and anxiety. Often, we spent time together going out to bars, drinking too much, and doing drugs. About a year and a half ago, she moved across the country for law school. We never saw each other, and I was left with very few friends. It was hard to justify drinking so much and continuing to wallow in my depression when I was alone. I sought help and completely changed my lifestyle. She, however, delved further into it. She was alone at school, and dealt with this by drinking even more, every day, by herself. It wasn’t long before she was dismissed from law school and left with a lease on an apartment 1500 miles away from home. She would call me often, crying and having panic attacks. Sometimes even her mother would call me because she was so worried about her daughter. Each time I would talk to her I would tell her she needs to be seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist, and she needs to quit drinking. No matter what I said, her behavior didn’t change. I realized I couldn’t change her, and worrying about her behavior would do nothing to help her. I stopped answering all the 2 am calls, and didn’t respond to every miserable text message. She knew what to do if she wanted to get better, and I couldn’t force her to do anything. Unfortunately, she still hasn’t changed much. I still talk to her every once in a while, but the calls are few and far between. I put my own sanity before hers, because putting her first did nothing to help her. Instead of worrying about her when she calls me, I pray for her and put the responsibility in the hands of my higher power

  8. mediastudies2015 says:

    I have had to be really honest with some friends– in the nicest way possible. If I want to continue the friendship then I tell them how I am feeling/what is bothering me. Usually when I use “I statements” and talk about my emotions, the other person understands and doesn’t become offended.

  9. mmariani41 says:

    This took some practice in asserting what I wanted and needed in my relationships and friendships. It is always better to communicate how I am feeling then to let it bottle up and turn into resentment or anger.

  10. Nana says:

    Setting boundaries has ALWAYS been a struggle for me. I’ve grown up as a very trusting person and tend to open myself up to people very quickly. Most times, this is a good thing because I can then be a person who others know will be there for them when they really need it. But I have had several times where people have taken advantage of my kindness and generosity. I let things go on so long that it became more difficult to set boundaries. I still have trouble with this now (I had a real problem in this area with a coworker last year), but sometimes, no matter how difficult it is, it is really worth setting those boundaries for the sake of your own peace of mind and to be able to work or generally function as a human being. I know when I try to ignore these situations, I get very anxious or I suffer as I let the other person take advantage. In the long run, it has always been worth it to set the boundaries, no matter how late in the game it is or how hard it may be to muster up the courage.

  11. Sara says:

    Nana, I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I get nervous setting certain boundaries because it is so uncomfortable. But, you’re right they are totally necessary in all aspects of life. It really comes down to speaking up for yourself and say that we need to talk about what is crossing the line.

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