When people think of setting healthy boundaries, they think that it’s all about themselves: making sure people don’t walk all over them or take advantage.
But healthy boundaries are just as important for the people in our lives that may be stepping over them. Setting good ones not only helps us maintain a healthy connection with the important people in our lives, it helps the people we care about understand what that looks like.
To have great relationships, follow these three simple ideas for healthy boundaries.
Respect for Time
In my last post Once a Friend, Always a Friend I talked about being there for friends no matter how long it’s been, how often you talk, or even when things are a little messed up between you.
At the same time, it’s important that you are setting healthy boundaries. Part of being a good friend is making sure that your interactions are positive and nurturing. When people don’t respect your boundaries, the relationship is neither of those.
It’s great to be there for friends and show them love and consideration, but always make sure they respect your time. It’s one thing to make a special exception in difficult circumstances, it’s another to have a friend who never cares about your schedule.
Make sure to answer the phone or texts when it’s right for you so that you can be focused on your friend. There is nothing wrong with putting on the “do not disturb” at night or at other times. Setting healthy boundaries includes making sure that you spend time with your friends on a schedule when you can give them your full attention.
Respect for Privacy
Another thing you want to do is set up boundaries to respect your privacy. You are under no obligation to share with your friends anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Additionally, if you have a friend that isn’t good at keeping secrets, don’t share anything you wouldn’t shout in the streets (you know… if you’re the type of person that often goes out shouting in the streets). You should be setting healthy boundaries with your privacy and sharing only what the other person has shown themselves trustworthy enough to hear.
Respect for Personal Needs
Finally, you want to make sure that other people respect your personal needs. Setting healthy boundaries means making sure that you are taken care of. When you fly they tell you in an emergency to put the mask on yourself before putting it on your child because you can’t help your children if you’re passed out.
In the same way, you can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first. Others should respect your need for health, good relationships, and personal space. There is nothing wrong with needing downtime. There is nothing wrong with needing to take care of yourself. It’s noble to take care of yourself so that you are in tip top condition to take care of others.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is a good part of healthy relationships. It’s important to take care of yourself and make sure other’s respect that. Whether respecting your time, privacy, or personal needs, boundaries help you become the best version you can to make a difference for others.
Don’t be afraid to set them, and don’t be afraid to hold firm to them. If people won’t respect them, don’t be afraid to decline to help until they change their ways. After all, if they run you down by helping them, they’re only stealing help from someone else.
The best way to help others is to make sure they respect who you are and what you need so you can do the same for them.