7 Tips to Set Boundaries with Friends

Updated on 6 minute read
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It can be very difficult to set boundaries with friends. You want to maintain the relationship but you also want time for yourself. Here are 7 tips that will help you set boundaries with your friends and still stay in touch.

When you think about relationships, ask yourself what is important to you. After that, consider how much time they are spending with you and whether or not the relationship is healthy for both of you. You can decide if it’s worth keeping the friendship after reviewing these things.

If your friends want too much of your time, talk about boundaries with them in a caring way. First, tell them how much you love and appreciate your friendship with them. Then let them know that the relationship is important to you but so are other things in life such as family or work obligations. You may also want to say what time of day they should not contact you because it’s a bad time for you.

Friendships that aren’t handled with care can be draining, however. It is important to take time for yourself in order to maintain a healthy relationship with your friends and the other people in your life. All of this takes practice but it is possible when you set boundaries with your friends.

Pay Attention to Your Body’s Signals

Your body may know better than your mind what you can and cannot handle. If something feels off, pay attention to that feeling and consider the boundaries you want to set with this friend.

This step may take time and require patience. The more you listen to your body, the better it will get at giving signals related to boundaries.

Make sure that everyone involved knows exactly where the boundaries are for both parties. If one person doesn’t know their limits, it will be difficult to set boundaries.

Sometimes it’s better to take a break and come back later instead of setting up boundaries right away. This gives both people the opportunity to think about their friendship and how healthy it is, as well as whether or not they even want that relationship in their lives anymore.

Consider the History

Do not forget about the history of your relationship with a person. Sometimes we need time apart from certain friendships so we don’t repeat negative patterns or habits over and over again.

Because this is a major decision and can be a sensitive subject, we recommend that you consult with an expert before proceeding.

Pay attention also to the history of what has been going on with that friend in particular over a longer period of time. Even if you have decided that this is not about her but only something happening now, it can be helpful to look at what has been taking place between the two of you.

The fear factor is another consideration if your boundaries are related to fears or anxiety levels. For example, pay attention to how intense some interactions may feel for you and set boundaries accordingly.

Check the Fear Factor

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Your fear of losing a friend is not as important as your health and safety. If you are afraid to say no, it’s okay! Still set boundaries with this friend even though you feel fearful about doing so.

The more you say no when it is right to do so, the easier and less scary it will get. Think about what fears stand in your way of setting boundaries with this friend and see if there are ways to overcome those fears or set some new healthy boundaries as a result.

Boundaries are not about being mean or selfish, they are simply a way of caring for yourself so that you can take better care of others in your life. As long as what is happening within the friendship does not hurt anyone else, it.

Take Care of Yourself First

This one seems like an “obvious” one. However, so many times we forget to practice self-care first before putting ourselves out there for others.

Your well-being is an important part of setting boundaries. So, in whatever way you need to take care of yourself first before acting on setting a boundary with this friend, do it.

In case you have tried everything and you still feel drained, scared, or uncomfortable in the relationship with this friend it may be time to consider ending the friendship. If you decide that is what needs to happen for your well-being as a whole, do not look back on it even if there are some regrets afterward.

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Pause and Reflect

One common indication of trouble in a relationship is when it feels like you are walking on eggshells or that you have to “pause” whenever they enter the room. It may be time to reevaluate this friendship and set boundaries with your friend.

This part of the process is a time to reflect on whether or not you can allow this person into your life in the way that they want. Is it possible for them to respect what you need?

Master the Boundaries Vocabulary

It is okay if you do not know how to say no! It does not mean that something bad will happen when you exercise your right to put up a boundary. When we are uncomfortable engaging in an action, it means our bodies sense danger.

You may have heard about boundaries before and wondered exactly how to set boundaries with friends. Learning more about boundaries will help you to know what words to use when setting boundaries.

Moreover, if you are struggling with setting boundaries, it could be helpful to work on self-compassion and accepting yourself as you begin this process.

It is important to remember that everyone has the right to set their own boundaries! This means saying no when we mean no and yes when we really want to say yes.

Keep Your Self-Talk Positive

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Believe it or not, you can set boundaries with people without being mean. You are simply exercising your right to say no and the other person must respect that boundary if they truly care about you as a friend.

After all, you are taking care of yourself first and that is what friends should want for each other. When the fear factor is high, using positive self-talk can help to remind us about our worthiness in any situation where limiting a friendship may occur.

On the other hand, you could also get past the friend zone, but if she doesn’t like it there is nothing much to do.

When you think about the relationships in your life, you may realize that some people are not worth your time. That’s okay! You deserve to have quality relationships and we want to help show how setting boundaries with friends can be the first step in doing so.

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