Making and Keeping Friends: Establishing and Honoring Boundaries
Feelings inside of you (intuition) let you know who you do and don't want to be close to. Sometimes you may want to be close to a person but are confused by questions of boundaries. You may ask yourself questions like "Have I called too much this week?" "Have I stayed too long; should I leave now?" "Should I offer to help her with the children or would she be uncomfortable with that?" It's appropriate to ask yourself such questions. Boundaries may differ from person to person. You may feel comfortable with some people calling you whenever they feel like it, but you may want to put some restriction around calls from other people. You may not want to go to certain kinds of activities with some friends but be happy to go to the same activity with others.
People commonly set limits or boundaries around things like:
• the amount of time spent together and place to get together
• the kind and frequency of shared activities
• phone call time limits—time of day, frequency, and length
• connection with family
• amount of physical touch
• topics of conversation
In all relationships, you have the right to define your own limits and boundaries so you feel comfortable and safe. Say "no" to anything you don't want. You have the right to ask for what you need, want, and deserve. Expect and insist that others respect your boundaries and, as a good friend, always respect their boundaries.
Activity: Make a list of boundaries that you have or think you would want to have in friendships.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services © 2016