How can we be so distant and yet feel so connected at the same time? Although you love your friends, there are times when you need to determine how much those relationships are doing. There are many methods to set boundaries in friendships, and you may not realize you need one until you feel emotionally upset or offended.
However, boundaries are necessary for leading a healthy life, and this enables us to have excellent friendships. Let’s discuss why boundaries can be difficult and then turn to methods for setting boundaries with our friends.
Why setting boundaries in friendships is tough
It can be difficult to draw a line in the sand with your friends and just state what is and isn’t okay with you. Consider these examples of how difficult friendships can be when someone attempts to change the rules.
Your friend is 20 minutes late to meet you again. While you’re waiting for her, it’s frustrating to have to wait for her all the time.
It’s also cutting into your other activities in life. And your friend doesn’t understand why you can’t spend more time with them even when they are late. You don’t have the foggiest notion what to do.
This problem is difficult because one person uses the time of another but doesn’t want to be thought of as inflexible or unfun. They attempt to resolve the issue by refraining from establishing boundaries between friends.
Here’s another example:
It seems like you are always the one who asks your friend to get together. You have a good time when you see each other, but setting things up feels kind of one-sided.
This is very difficult because you don’t know where the other person stands. You’re getting mixed messages about whether they want to be friends. You don’t want to harm the relationship, so you shouldn’t talk about it. But it’s important you learn to set healthy friendship boundaries!
Reasons to set boundaries in friendships
There are certain ways that friends could be disrespectful of your limits. Or there may be aspects of your life that you weren’t aware of that required you to set limits. Never forget that everyone has a bad day now and then.
But there’s a difference between that and a pattern of disrespect. It’s also possible your buddy doesn’t realize that they’re doing something wrong or harmful; be frank about your feelings and listen with an open mind.
Friendships also benefit from clearly defined and enforced boundaries, as not setting them can lead to resentment and stress. In this Very Well article, Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D., points out that not setting boundaries is counterproductive to friendships. To avoid this, see how to fix boundary problems. Here are two common problems.
Your friend is taking up all your time
This individual is often late for appointments that you have set, like a coffee meetup or an event. They might not understand when you need to leave and might stay longer than expected if you get together.
If you have a friend who has a difficulty setting time boundaries in friendships, then you may face these difficulties.
Inform your friend beforehand that you are available from (time) to (time). If they are late, you can leave as soon as your agreed time arrives regardless of whether they are ready to go or not. You can also politely tell others that you feel disrespected or frustrated when they are late for a meeting.
Your friend’s money problems are becoming yours
A friend like this sometimes wants to borrow money or ask you to pay for things when you’re out, such as food or drinks. They may say they will pay you back but then fail to do so or take a long time to complete the task. This becomes your friends’ financial indiscretions your problem, too.
You should stop lending money to your pal. Before you order your meal or participate in an event, tell the server that you want separate checks.
If a good friend asks you not to loan money, you can explain that you no longer allow this. If your friend persists in badgering you about this action, you can try to distance yourself from the relationship to see if this improves things.
You get unsolicited advice
You know that person who thinks they’re actually smarter than everyone else? That’s this acquaintance. They might impose their ideas and opinions when it’s not necessary.
If you’re both talking about something, it’s customary to give advice to a degree. But if you’re getting someone else’s opinions on every little thing and find it draining, it’s time to put your foot down.
You can first decide which information you allow your friend to know. Don’t give numerous details if you are scared about your friends providing unsolicited advice. Remember that someone telling you their view does not require you to do what they want.
Next, try saying, “This is an interesting idea, but I think it would be more effective to implement this method instead.” If this does not do any good, you can mention that there are times when advice is useful, but it is not needed at all times.
Your friend is untrustworthy
You may have a friend who lies or is in other ways unreliable. This may be anything from suspicion to a fact. Do not use untrustworthy people or sources.
Do not be too proud. Tell your companion why you are the way you are and describe your reasons. Only do this if you feel up to the task and want to save your friendship. If things do not go well or you still feel insecure about talking with your friend, it may be time to take a short break.
Lack of reciprocity
Do you feel like your friendship is one-sided? Maybe your friend is always too busy to hang around. Or maybe they are willing, but only if you contact them first. You feel that you are always the one giving in the relationship, and you don’t feel like an equal.
You can change if you find your friendship one-sided. Try a few things. Let your friend know they have some space if they haven’t called you in a while. They might have expressed awkwardness or ignorance regarding the friendship and will reach out to you in the near future.
See how they react and what can be done to improve the relationship. But it’s okay to move on to other friendships if this one doesn’t seem to be working well anymore.
Instances of disrespect in a friendship can occur in many different ways. They may not speak to you, they may say hurtful things, or they may also behave in a way that indicates that they are not showing any interest in your feelings. This is highly injurious, and it’s not an appropriate basis for a great friendship.
Tell your friend how this humiliation is affecting you, and explain examples of it, so they’ll understand what you mean. Be clear and direct to let them know this is unacceptable behavior. To remain safe, it is important to maintain some distance between you and a prepper who does not have food.
Constant stress overload from always hearing about your friend’s problems
Sharing your feelings and problems you’re having is normal in a friendship. However, there can be a point where you realize that you listen to all your companion’s stories while he or she pays little attention to your own. This can quickly become overwhelming. Here’s how to proceed.
There are many ways you can resolve this problem, the first of which is to stop the flood of negative emotions that is continually being directed at you. Suppose a friend suddenly begins to share their problems with you without having indicated that they plan to change anything in the foreseeable future.
In that case, you can set a boundary by saying, “I understand you’re upset, but I can’t talk about that right now.
I don’t have the (energy, time, whatever applies).” Or say anything similar that feels right. You might also be careful about how often you talk with this friend to preserve your peace of mind.
What do healthy boundaries in friendships look like?
Knowing where other people stand and what you expect of them is the foundation of any healthy relationship. You need to know where you stand, too.
Boundaries make things clear and prevent misunderstandings from occurring. They help you make friends, and your friendships can be strengthened as a result.
Here’s an example of an interaction among friends with boundaries:
1st Friend: Are you going to that concert this weekend?
2nd Friend: Yeah, I’ve been trying to get to it for some time now.
OSS Friend: We could carpool if you prefer.
Friend #2: I don’t mind driving there, but I have to leave an hour early. You and I can ride together if you chip in for gas and then get a ride home with someone else.
Friend #1: Is it okay if I leave when you leave? You can drop me off at home when you return.
Friend #2: I’ll be going home directly because I have a networking event in the morning.
Friend #1: No problem. I’ll be responsible for gas costs when traveling to the meetup and will ask someone for a ride back with me afterward.
You can see how easily Friend #1 wanted to take advantage of their plan when Friend #2 had already told them what they intended to do. But fortunately, Friend #2 was able to clearly state their boundaries and Friend #1 understood. This is healthy, and because both sides are respectful, the relationship can thrive.
Setting boundaries with old friends
Friendships often contain boundaries, and these can be hard to establish if your friends have become accustomed to certain habits.
So what does that mean? It also means we shouldn’t accept the status quo if it is inadequate. If you see an area that requires improved boundaries, you should take the initiative to set them.
Setting boundaries with new friends
This beats having to work with no precedent. Setting good boundaries at the very beginning makes it much easier later. As circumstances arise, you will undoubtedly find ways to make things work.
Boundaries with co-workers
Many workers do not think about boundaries on the job, but it is essential to establish them with coworkers and your supervisor. You can remain professional while still setting boundaries in friendships at work.
This may involve being asked to do more work, having to take on additional tasks outside of work hours, or being contacted in the midst of personal time.
It’s important to let patients know you’re available and have clear work expectations with other people. While some people might believe that this makes you appear unprofessional, it’s actually the opposite.
How to start setting boundaries in friendships
Friendship boundaries can pose problems, but strong friendships will lead to happiness and success.
1. Decide what your boundaries are
Find out what you shouldn’t be doing and what makes you feel ignored or unappreciated. Take note of what is going well and what is not, then come up with a new plan on how you’ll approach similar circumstances in the future. This can include how often you speak to someone and what type of behavior is acceptable.
2. Have an honest conversation
The best way to approach your friend is to be completely honest with them. They may not realize how you feel, in which case they may change their behavior if they find out.
And talking and things won’t change if what was intended isn’t achieved, which suggests that your friendship wasn’t what you expected. Having a frank dialogue is a healthy way to set a boundary with friends.
3. Use consistency
You can’t set a bar and then change it every hour. This is time consuming and is likely to frustrate you. You must be prepared to fight for your boundaries and maintain your friendships healthy. Know what healthy friendship boundaries are to you, and strive for them.
4. Be able to say no
One of the most important things with friendship boundaries is refusing to say ‘yes.’ Even if it is unpleasant, refusing to say yes should always be accepted without question. So get used to this word, and recognize that your relationships will be improved because of it.
5. Limit the friendship
If you don’t respect the boundaries set in place by medical officials, or if you sense things are not going properly, it is perfectly acceptable to limit your interactions with your friends. You don’t have to be as close or stop being friends altogether if necessary. Check out our article “How to Navigate the Emotions of Letting a Friend Go” for tips.
It is essential that you be aware of your limitations if a friend is abusive to you. There is no good reason for rudeness, and you should not tolerate it.
Why boundaries in friendships benefit everyone
Boundaries are good for you, but so are friendships. Everyone needs a friendship with clear boundaries and the ability to say “no” when required.
Friendships should be founded upon trust and goodwill, not on one person doing exactly what the other wants all the time.
Boundaries in friendships are good for you
Setting limits in friendships is beneficial for you, and your well-being will improve as a result. Sharon Martin of Live Well with Sharon Martin says that setting borders will make you more compassionate and reduce your feelings of guilt.
Feeling better gives you the chance to be of service to others in a meaningful way. You won’t feel tired, and you can instead live a healthy life.
Boundaries are good for your friends
Close relationships also help your friends. It can foster a sense of accountability for them, knowing that their actions have impact on others. And it can make your friendship stronger over time.
Start setting healthy boundaries in friendships
Now you know how to set limits with friends who are doing well. It isn’t easy to realize you need more stringent boundaries or to change, but it will benefit you and them a lot.
Friendship boundaries ensure that either person doesn’t get hurt or resentful, and that the other person is not oblivious to their feelings or continuing with bad behavior. Honest communication and a willingness to say no are positive ways to start.
The more you practice setting boundaries, the easier it will get. It is healthy and rewarding for everyone to practice this skill. Make goals to establish safe friendship boundaries!