Tips For Setting Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are based on our values, and they reflect what we are comfortable with in our relationships with others. Boundaries also create structure and accountability in areas of our lives that could otherwise be difficult. For example, a person who struggles to function on few hours of sleep will likely establish a scheduled bedtime. Simple, right? Well, there are times when boundaries can be tough, especially when they involve other people. Although setting boundaries can be difficult, they’re necessary to ensure that our needs are being met. Here are some tips to help you set boundaries.

  1. Identify your values. Every one of us has different values, which impact our beliefs, expectations, and behaviors. By identifying your own beliefs, you can settle on what your limits are. For example, if you value privacy, you may limit how much information you share with people online. This boundary upholds your value of privacy and grants you control over what you share.
  2. Be assertive and specific. Don’t be afraid to set a boundary. Although it’s normal to feel uncomfortable, being firm and specific in setting boundaries is helpful ensure that your limits are respected. Be specific when you communicate your limits and do so with confidence. 
  3. Communicate with respect. It’s perfectly fine to be firm, but it’s important to respect others when we speak to them. Try to avoid yelling, so your message will be better received. If it’s possible, planning what you say can help you remain mindful of your approach, and it can help you feel more confident.
  4. It’s okay to meet in the middle. Other people have boundaries too, and it’s important that we respect them. For example, you may not be okay with doing the dishes every night, because it takes time away from things you’d like to do. Your roommate, however, has a very busy schedule with school and struggles with committing to chores on weeknights. A compromise could be your roommate washing dishes on weekend nights and taking out the trash to make up the difference during the week. 

I’m hopeful that these tips are useful in setting and maintaining boundaries. Are there any boundaries that you would like to set for yourself?

Alex Vergara

Mental Health Student Intern