How to Set Boundaries with People

Setting boundaries with people within all relationships is way of maintaining healthy interactions and your sanity. Avoiding people-pleasing, co-dependency, entrapment in the web of a narcissist or being bossed about are all good reasons for setting boundaries. This article will assist you in this most important aspect of being a whole human.


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    Locate your boundaries. Do you actually know them, recognize them and adjust yourself according to your boundaries? A good practice is to write down what you consider to be your boundaries. Explain to yourself what it means to have boundaries in relation to significant others. Some ways to help you decipher this include asking yourself:
    • What feels too much personally or physically?
    • When do you feel that your autonomy is threatened?
    • What does it feel like when someone tries to take over and boss you about or think for you?
    The idea is to clearly define and convince yourself on these boundaries. Clarity will give you the confidence and will define yourself to others.
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    Identify your significant others. This could mean anyone from your lover, family to friends or even your pet. Anybody who means a world to you. They have the capacity to affect you in a manner which could be unknown to you as well. Once you have identified your significant others, try to analyze your relationship dynamics with them. Close, too close, fairly close or any other category you feel is appropriate to describe your relationship.
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    Delve into some deep, dark ways in which any of these people may have hurt you in the past or still continue to do so. This could be tricky as it leaves you feeling vulnerable or agitated according to your experiences with them. Emotions can be overwhelming and hence this requires careful and honest consideration. Be objective about your analysis. If you feel that it's difficult to put rest to your stressed feelings, distract yourself; this could help you and allow you to come back and consider it later. Come back when you feel less agitated or vulnerable. If there is a pattern in all your dealings, recognize them and be aware of them.
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    Talk to yourself when you do recognize these patterns. Listen to how it has resulted in the past and what could have been avoided. This is not a place where you go into a self-loathing phase. This is phase were it is mostly self-learning and implementing.
    • Try not to lose focus. Boundaries are meant to protect you and not drag you in a deep dark hole. Go back to the first step and check whether your defined boundaries match with your understanding of boundaries. If not, then make changes accordingly.
    • The key is not lose focus from objectivity. See if these self- defined boundaries make you feel any better. Make you feel protected and secured. If the answer is yes, you are good to go. If not, then starting all over again won't harm you in any manner.


  • Write. Writing helps you gain clarity on any issue.
  • Talk. Talking helps you vocalize your feelings to others. In this way they gain clarity on you.
  • Boundaries should not be self- limiting. They should be self- liberating. Ask your self what they mean to you . Make changes accordingly.
  • Finally, respect your and as well as others boundaries.


  • Any relationship that demands more boundaries than expression of love is not worth your time, space, money and energy.
  • Boundaries change according to people . There is not thumb rule. It is person specific . One needs to understand these limitations.
  • Don't be too careful about yourself. In that way you would limit your communication with other. Allow your self to explore these boundaries and them put a seal on them.

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Categories: Relationship Issues