Why It’s Necessary To Set Boundaries In Relationships
Why It’s Necessary To Set Boundaries In Relationships

It’s the recipe for a richer life

As much as millennials and Gen-Zers are proactively working towards establishing boundaries—professional and personal—to honour one’s space and time, truth be told, it’s a tricky trajectory that calls for treading with caution, lest you piss someone off.  


As much as boundaries are integral to maintaining healthy relationships, a wrong move could have things go horribly wrong (and awkward).  Yet, it’s worth the risk. “Don’t wait for a crisis to happen to set boundaries. Start with small, simple boundaries so that you know how to practice it, acquaint people with your limits, and move on,” begins Ambika Warrier, RCI Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor and Psychotherapist. 


Understanding Your Needs And Limits  


Verbalising clearly about what your comfort and tolerance levels are, is key to establishing boundaries without letting things turn sour. And, it’s best suggested to start early on, with zero references made to past events. “Boundaries are valid in every relationship. Be calm and communicate, and address only one issue at a time. However, it’s important to take some time out to understand and re-access what your needs, goals, and priorities are. This would help identify areas you really need to set boundaries at,” Warrier says.  


Thinking along similar lines;Bhavna Singh, CFO at Tatsam, a mental health and wellness start-up, asserts how healthy boundaries help prevent deep-rooted conflicts. “It’s important to remember that setting boundaries is not about being selfish or not being dedicated. It’s about trying to find a balance to become more authentic and better communicators. Initial awkwardness aside, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.” 


How To Get Started  


“Start statements by saying ‘I feel’,  instead of stating ‘you said this to me/ you said that to me’. In friendships and relationships, we need to understand patterns before we start setting boundaries,” says Warrier. However, the talk on setting boundaries doesn’t always need the spotlight to be only on you. “I believe boundaries only work if you’re willing to meet someone mid-way, sound genuine and communicate with respect,” avers Neha Kalra, a 38-year-old content strategist, further adding, “The next thing is to address deal breakers or at least give people a hint of what’s okay and what isn’t. Have them spoken and clearly agreed upon.” 


Man and woman arguing at the street


Questions to Ask yourself 


Are you ready o be vulnerable in front of everyone? What are the things you are okay to do with someone or for someone? Warrier stresses the importance of sitting down and self-reflecting before having the talk to ensure you don’t act out of an impulse. “Boundaries are valid in every relationship. Be calm and also prepare for a confrontation. Hence clarity of thought is essential,” she says.  


“Do not over-apologise. You don’t have to justify. If boundaries are required, it is required. And make it a two-way conversation. You needn’t be emotional while speaking about setting boundaries but rather be assertive. And most importantly, do not have over-compensatory behavior just because you’ve decided to have boundaries,” concludes Warrier.  


Ways To Establish Clear-Cut Boundaries  



  1. Address problems directly rather than involving a third party.  



  1. Practice assertiveness. “Being assertive means that you’re giving factual reasons. And never say a maybe when you want to say a no,” says Warrier. When you’re replying to someone, be in the moment. “By doing so, you save yourself from being accused of bringing up things from the past.”  



  1. Make your expectations clear, and lastly, speak up for yourself. At work, practice delegation as and when needed. This helps people understand what to expect of you. Do not share or overshare personal information or seek out personal information. The more you get intertwined in office gossip, the more challenging it gets to establish boundaries. 



  • Inputs by Ambika Warrier and Bhavna Singh.  

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