Boundaries. When did these become obsolete? It is unbelievable to me the amount of people I see that do not enforce boundaries in their life. With anything. Life seems to have turned into a giant free for all. Maybe it’s because I am a type A person, but it makes my head spin! Boundaries are vital to all functioning relationships. Whether that unit be a family, an office, or society as a whole. Boundaries are an important part. If people do not have boundaries to function within, then chaos will ensue.
I get that you want your child to be an individual. I do too! Differences keep things interesting. What is not interesting or even the tiniest bit amusing? That your child is so hyped up on caffeine and sugar that they are spiraling out of control in my favorite breakfast place while I’m trying to eat my eggs. Letting your child choose to chug maple syrup is not letting them make their own choices and be an individual. It just makes you an asshole to everyone else around who has to inadvertently deal with the consequences of your decision. Set some damn boundaries. Sure your child can have some syrup, on their French toast, and only if you are going to make sure they wash their sticky hands before they start touching everything.
Children thrive on boundaries. They become better people because of it. Will they test them and your patience? Hell yes. Isn’t that what being a parent is about? Can you even call yourself a parent if you don’t make your three-year-old scream because you told them no once in a while?
With children the trick is making sure there is a balance between strict boundaries and fun. Let them do something they really want to do, but only if they can operate within the rules. Then stick to those rules. If a child realizes they can cross boundaries and still get what they want, it will never stick. The thing with being the parent, or other adult is charge, is your rules are non-negotiable. There doesn’t have to be the give and take balance that needs to be in place with other adults. You make rules for their safety and betterment. Those boundaries are the law of the land. As long as you stay consistent, most children will pick up those boundaries and test them less often. Until they are 12… That’s another ball game.
When people first start dating they seem to let all the negative stuff slide. No one wants to seem like a Debby Downer when they are trying to start a relationship. I get it. However, if in six months you are not going to be okay with your significant other playing video games until 2:00 in the morning and calling in sick to work, you need to speak now. Setting boundaries and expressing your expectations early on is crucial to future happiness in the relationship. Wouldn’t you rather know three months in that you are not really compatible? Instead of playing the “cool” one and thinking surely a person will change?
Set boundaries for how you want your partner in life to behave. If they cannot live within those boundaries then that likely means you should part ways. Yes, that is harsh. Yes, sometimes that is what it takes to have a mutually happy and healthy partnership.
If you don’t have solid boundaries already in your romantic relationship, it is time for a sit down. First you need to determine what boundaries you are willing to bend slightly and which ones are set in stone. Compare these with the boundaries your partner has. Are they mostly in line? If so, you should be able to come to a mutual agreement you can both be happy in. As long as you both promise to respect the lines drawn and always respect one another even if you do not like the boundary, then you have a solid foundation to fall back on.
Are you that person in the office that everyone knows won’t say no? It is great to be dedicated and hard-working. It is not great to be a pushover who works twice as hard as others for less reward. Setting boundaries lets your co-workers know that you want to be part of the team, but they can’t drop their work on you all the time. Nothing is worse than watching other people advance while knowing you did part of their job for them. Successful people in the workforce know how to set boundaries. You can still be helpful. You just need to make sure all of your work is impressive instead of half-assed from being spread too thin first. Make it clear that you are busy with your own tasks, but you will find them once that is done to help IF you have extra time.
Make sure you are clear and assertive about your role in your workplace. If someone sees a person they can use to get out of doing their own work they will take it. It’s the sad truth. Be frank but polite when you notice a person pushing your work boundary. It is better to begin by addressing them individually to solve the issue before utilizing other avenues. Make it clear that you have boundaries you expect to be respected moving forward, and you hope this does not affect you having a positive co-worker relationship. If it does, their loss. Stay professional but short with those people. They will not be the ones to help you achieve your career goals anyway.
I always go by the adage that what you allow is what will continue. This seems especially true with the bad behaviors. Lets face it, they are always more fun. A boundary can always be changed if it needs to be, but it is very difficult to put one in after the fact. Even when it may be in their best interest, people do not respond well to having things taken away from them or forced upon them. Look at prohibition.
Have you been setting boundaries in the relationships in your life? Are the boundaries in place working for you? If you are feeling like you are being walked over or you are not getting your needs met then some new boundaries may be in order. Maybe it’s time to evaluate what boundaries (if any) are in place and make some changes. It is up to you to decide what you what in your relationships and how to get it. Boundaries are a crucial part of any well-functioning relationship.
Be sure to comment below or contact me privately if there is a specific situation where you are struggling to set the boundaries you need. I am always happy to offer objective suggestions.