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Setting boundaries is essential to any healthy relationship, including friendships. Protecting your emotional energy and space is vital to your mental health and can be crucial to self-care. Here are some reasons for setting boundaries in friendships and how they can improve your relationships.
1. Lays a Solid Foundation
When you set boundaries and communicate what’s acceptable, you’re laying a foundation for mutual respect. When both parties know what’s over the line and what’s fair, they can navigate the friendship without worrying about what’s too much or not enough.
You might think that friendships shouldn’t be complicated and boundaries should come naturally, but you might be surprised. What’s normal to one person may be out of the question for others.
Knowing where to draw the line can help distinguish between being the annoying friend who doesn’t get the hint or one who knows what you need and can meet you halfway. Setting boundaries in friendships can be simple, like expressing when you can hang out and when you can’t–friends will either respect that or won’t.
2. Your Communication Styles Differ
Effective communication is essential to achieve mutual respect. Ensuring you and your friends understand each other means being able to communicate to build trust efficiently. Strong friendships can increase your self-confidence, reduce stress and improve overall health.
To build a strong relationship, you must set boundaries. If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone whenever your friend wants to talk, express that to them. Let them know when you’re available to chat or you can communicate through text while you do other things.
If you’re removing yourself from dinner with your family to be available for your friend frequently, you might want to discuss other options with them. Setting clear boundaries with them will ensure that you don’t start ignoring their calls without an explanation, leading to strife in the friendship. Clear communication is essential to understanding your friendship’s needs or expectations.
3. Things Feel Unbalanced
When your friendship feels unbalanced, it can make both parties feel uncomfortable. If you feel drained after your conversations or like you’re always the one reaching out, it might be time for a discussion about boundaries. You have to protect your emotional battery, even if that means telling someone you love that you can’t help them right now. A one-sided friendship only helps one party, which doesn’t make it much of a friendship.
Learning to say no can help you in many ways. Being a people pleaser can damage your mental health if you don’t protect your emotional well-being. You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by your friendship–it should be mutually appreciated. Feeling taken advantage of or taken for granted isn’t pleasant–no good friend would intend for you to feel those things. Talk with your friend about the level of support you provide them and how that should be reciprocated.
If you’re the go-to person for advice in your friend group, but no one seems available in your time of need, that can feel pretty crummy. Healthy friendships respect each other’s boundaries and try to make them work. Open communication can help you establish boundaries and discuss why you need them, and real friends will stick around and try to understand.
Setting Boundaries in Friendships
Take a step back in your relationships and look at things differently. Space can give you a fresh perspective on what you need and why. Setting boundaries in friendships can weed out the flaky friends that weren’t good for you and clearly define who deserves to be in your life and vice versa.
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