How to Set Boundaries

Posted by SVAKOM 09/12/2021 0 Comment(s) Official blog,

Boundaries are essential with every relationship we have in our lives. Be that relationship with a partner(s), friends, or even work. Boundaries help us to remain comfortable in our relationships and within ourselves.


Setting boundaries can seem intimidating. The phrase alone comes with the connotation of conflict or discipline – which is no surprise. We often hear this phrase when raising a new pet or child. However, in this context, setting boundaries shouldn’t come with conflict. If setting boundaries in your relationships does cause conflict, then you should take that as a big red flag. Someone who cannot respect your boundaries or comfort is not someone who should hold a significant place in your life.


Think of boundaries in a similar way to consent. While the mental image it may create seems robotic and stale, it doesn’t have to be that way. Setting boundaries can be a healthy part of your relationships when you remove away from the negative idea of how it will come across.


Don’t surprise people. When the topic of boundaries is brought up suddenly, it can cause the other person to go on the defensive. Bringing the subject up with no warning can lead the other person to assume they’ve done something wrong or upset you, making them less receptive to listening. Instead, warm up to the conversation; you can ask them what things that make them uncomfortable are. If they seem confused, just reassure them you’re asking because you don’t want to cross any lines. Boundaries are a two-way street, so listen to the other person. If they respond well, ask them if they are okay with discussing the topic further. Let them know you would like to talk about this, but don’t make them feel they cannot say no.


Choose how you are going to have this conversation. First, discuss with the other person if they want to do it now or want some time to think. Maybe you can do it in a more freestyle kind of conversation, or it can be more of an `I go then you go` situation. Or maybe you don’t want to talk about it now but wish to open up the opportunity to discuss boundaries when an issue or simple lightbulb moment arises. No matter which way you choose to tackle the conversation, initiating it is crucial.


Boundaries shift and change; something you were once okay with can become an action or word that now makes you uncomfortable. So allow room for the discussion to resurface when needed. It doesn’t need to be as big as the initiation in the future. It can even be an offhand comment,


`oh yeah, I used to like that, but I don’t know, it kind of makes me uncomfortable now`.


You have communicated your boundaries to your partner(s)/colleagues/friends in a simple sentence. The responsibility is on them listening and understanding. However, not everything is about you, and you need to remain vigilant in respecting the boundaries of everyone you deem important in your life. If you accidentally cross the line – apologize. Let them know you’re sorry and that you will be actively working on not doing that again.


`I think I’ve crossed the line with my actions. I’m really sorry about that. It wasn’t okay for me to do xyz. I’ll work on not doing that in the future`.


Sometimes, the other person will tell you when their boundaries have been breached. Still, a lot of the time the responsibility is on you to acknowledge and understand when a mistake has been made. When you take responsibility for your own actions and faults, the channel for communication becomes stronger and healthier.


Ultimately, the most important part of setting boundaries is maintaining an open and safe method of communication. Consider yourself and the other person. Perhaps you are someone who finds it easier to communicate face to face, or maybe you find it easier to have these conversations via message. Find the way that works best and feels the safest.


Each relationship is different. One approach will not work for everyone. If discussing boundaries causes a hostile reaction, prioritize your own safety. If you feel unsafe around someone, please seek help and take the necessary precautions.