How to Set Personal Boundaries

person standing near lake

As you go through life you will come across many different people from all walks of life. They will all have their own likes, dislikes, opinions, viewpoints, and senses of humor. No two persons’ lives and experiences have been exactly the same, which is why each person’s perceptions about the world and the people in it are different.

It is because of this you must know what behaviors you are willing to accept from people and what crosses the line for you. Even more important, you must be able to effectively communicate your personal boundaries at the appropriate time.

Know Yourself

Before you can communicate to people what your personal boundaries are, you must figure out what they are. You have to determine for yourself how any person must treat you if they want to be a part of your life. This goes for all kinds of relationships, friends, lovers, and even family. Take some time for yourself to really think about how you want to be treated. Write down your personal boundaries for every type of relationship and look at them every day until you internalize them.

You must be willing to commit to keeping your personal boundaries intact with every person that is a part of your life. If anyone should refuse to respect your boundaries and mistreat you, then you have to remove them from your life. If this isn’t possible, such as when it’s a coworker, then minimize your contact with them and be professional.

You must do this no matter how much you may like the person, no matter how much you may be attracted to them. This is not out of hate or rejection of them, it is out of love for yourself. Love for yourself is one of the most important things to have, not just for successful relationships but in all areas of life.

Let People Know When Their Behavior Is Unacceptable

Once you know what your personal boundaries are, you must let people know when they have crossed the line into unacceptable behavior when they are with you. It is best not to make a scene by confronting the person in front of others. This can tend to put people on the defensive and they will be less willing to listen to you.

As soon as you can after the incident pull them aside and calmly but firmly tell them what they did and why you find it unacceptable. If they repeat the same offending behavior again after you have made it clear that they shouldn’t, then it is time for you to stop associating with someone who clearly does not respect you.

I have had to end several friendships over the years with people who I got along with otherwise because of a lack of respect for my boundaries. One guy in particular I had a great time hanging out with but whenever any females entered the picture he would try to embarrass and belittle me in front of them. He seemingly did this to try and knock me down a few notches to make himself look better.

I talked to him about it after the first time he did it and made it very clear that it wasn’t cool and he shouldn’t do it again. He stopped doing it for a while but then proceeded to do it again. As a result we stopped hanging out and the friendship was over.

While it is true that you need other people in your life, you do not need anyone that is going to disrespect you or bring you down in any way. You should never sacrifice your self respect or love for yourself for the sake of someone else.

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