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Respecting People’s Boundaries

Respecting People’s Boundaries

Respecting people’s boundaries is not something many people truly discuss. Every single person has their own boundaries that they have created. However, not every person is great at expressing their boundaries which is where the issue lies. I am one of those people who don’t always express my boundaries mentally and physically. 


Just a quick reminder people have boundaries not because they want to keep people from getting close to them. They create boundaries to protect their mental and physical health. There are so many actions/ways as friends, coworkers, and family that we can take with people’s boundaries. Respecting people’s boundaries is more than them telling them it’s us also being conscious of our own actions and being proactive. 


The biggest struggle when it comes to respecting other people’s boundaries is not many people are vocal about it. People want to be good friends, they want to listen to your bad day, and they want to be there for you. But sometimes it can be a lot and even draining, or just something they cannot handle at this time. 


Here are a few steps anyone can to respect people’s boundaries and even be proactive:


  1. Ask before you just start telling your friends everything. (esp if it is heavy or requires a lot of thought). 
    1. Before you vent ask your friends “Hey I had a really bad day are you in the headspace for me to talk about it with you?” 
    2. Not only does this show that you want to speak but also makes sure the person is okay with you sharing that information. 
  2. Be conscious of what you are sharing 
    1. I love telling my best friends everything but I also know they are going through their own struggles. So I do my best not to share with them my struggles to add to their burdens. 
    2. For example, I had a family member in hospice years ago at the same time one of my best friends had gotten into a car accident. She was 100% okay and her car was not totaled but it scared her a lot. She knew my focus needed to be with my family and not her so she told me weeks later. Yes at first I was hurt but I was so grateful that she gave me that opportunity to be fully present and not overload my own thoughts. 
  3. Your friends are not your therapists 
    1. Yes, we share things with our friends but they are not therapists. They are humans and cannot hold all our emotional baggage. 
    2. We have all made this mistake of telling one person everything bad thing in our lives and expecting them to always offer up a solution on how to fix it. But that is not their job they are still trying to fix/navigate their own life. 
  4. Reflect on your own actions/shares  
    1. You can always stop and ask your friend if they are comfortable or if what I am telling you taking a toll on your own thoughts and mental health. 
    2. “Hey, I realized that I’ve been talking about a lot of negative parts of my life, I do apologize are you okay? Do you need me to hold back more?” 
  5. Respect what they say 
    1. If your friends, family, Sibling, or coworker stops you and tells you they cannot deal with this right now. You need to respect that. Do not keep sharing, do not try and explain yourself. Apologize and thank them for telling you.
    2. Now I say apologize because you want to show them that you care about their own personal boundaries. 
  6. Work on yourself 
    1. Take the needed steps to work on yourself and the issues you’re having with your friends. 
    2. If you keep sharing with your friends how upset you are that your room is messy. Take the time to figure out why it’s always messy, how you can clean it up, and how you can keep it clean. (Random example but you get the point).


The beauty about boundaries is everyone has their own unique boundaries. On top of that, each person is allowed to change, shape, and adjust their boundaries to a situation or to a different person. When it comes to respecting people’s boundaries it’s more than doing what is right. It shows people that you respect their friendship and care about them. 


Respecting people’s boundaries isn’t something that you just learn and pick up overnight. It takes time to learn people’s boundaries, understands when you are overstepping, and even how to correct yourself. Especially for friends who struggle with saying when you are being a lot. I even struggle with this at times, but the first step is knowing you have to work on it. We are humans and part of being human is growing to be better not just for us but for those in our lives as well.



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