This week we are talking about how to set boundaries with people we love. This can be very challenging, especially if it wasn't modeled to us growing up. But it's so important in order to keep the relationship safe. Here are more ways to do so.
Consider Their Needs Too
When you are thinking about boundaries in relationships, whether friendships, romantic, or family, it's important to consider what the other person needs as well. For example, if you set a boundary with your husband that you want to start talking together for 15 minutes in the evening to increase connection in your relationship, consider also giving him some time for himself. Men are not as excited about communication as women can be so he may need 15 minutes of downtime after the kids go to bed before he feels like "connecting".
Or perhaps you have a friend who doesn't like to talk on the phone a lot but likes to have conversations face to face. You like to talk on the phone but maybe you could compromise and have a weekly coffee date at Starbucks. Then you could agree that if there's ever a time you desperately need to talk to her, she would agree to talk on the phone. Consider her feelings though and keep it short (if possible) and don't abuse this privilege.
It really is about compromise, isn't it?
State Your Preference
Make sure when you state your boundaries with people that you make it about you, not them. For example, if you are the husband in the above example, let your wife know that she is not annoying you, it's not about her per say, it's more just your need for quiet before going into a connecting conversation. This helps depersonalize things and people tend to be less hurt or offended.
Make general preferences to your friends so they know how you are. If you don't like to stay out late with the girls, let them know ahead of time before going out that you are not a night owl and will probably go in early. Then they know it's nothing they've done when you leave but your boundary for yourself is going home early. This helps the communication to be clear and again, helps people not personalize your behavior.
Tomorrow Joleen will help us see the importance of offering alternatives when setting boundaries. Thank you for reading and have a good week!
Written by Natalie Chandler
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville