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What are boundaries? Why do we need them? How can we make sure we set them for ourselves? 

Boundaries are a way to draw a line. We need boundaries to let people know when enough is enough. They go along with relationships, friendships and  even yourself. Setting boundaries is a way to start being able to speak your mind and do what is best for you. Listed below are the red flags that tell you when you need to set or re-enforce your boundaries.  

1. When your physical safety is in question 

The safety of yourself is the main key. When you are in a physically dangerous situation, you need to get out of it as soon as you can. You can discuss how to save your relationship and re-enforce your boundaries later, but at that moment you need to take care of your physical situation. For example, if you were to get into a car with a drunk driver, you need to set that boundary and not get into the car. If you are in a situation and do not feel safe, such as with people you do not trust or really know, you need to get out of that environment immediately. If you were to stay, the moment could end very badly. In order for you to get out of the situation, you should call a friend, family member, or an Uber in order to escape the environment of physical danger.  

2. When your wellbeing is in question 

Have you ever had someone connected to your hip 24/7? The wellbeing of yourself is another main variable with setting boundaries. Sleep is needed for everyone, and if someone constantly takes away your sleep you need to take a step back from the situation. Wellbeing could also be considered under academics. People can distract you from your work which in turn can lead to your grades slipping.   

3. Self-respect 

Self-respect is feeling like you’re forced or coerced into doing something that goes against your own morals and beliefs. People take advantage of individuals who do not have their boundaries set up properly. People tend to take advantage of others who do not have boundaries. There are multiple boundaries people cross. For example, people tend to use someone else’s clothing without even asking. Have you ever had that one classmate who asks you for your homework? This would be a good time to set that boundary and stating how enough is enough. Being in college, not everyone has a car. For those who do, they get taken advantage of when someone always asks to get a ride around town. There was a friend who told me about how someone asked her for money because she could not pay her rent. As a person, you must learn self-respect for others and yourself. We all have that one friend who is always there for other people’s problems. They sit around and listen to everyone’s problems, even when they do not want to. They are the person that others go to when something goes wrong. This is what makes them feel like a therapist, which is something a friend should not be. If your friends or family members are having real problems, they should consider seeing a specialized therapist.  

Once you have flagged when someone is crossing your boundaries, you need to re-enforce them. Below are some tips for doing so: 

1. Talk about it 

The first step of setting boundaries is to talk to the person who is hovering over you. When they ask what is going on, be honest with them. Do not sugar coat anything. When you are talking to someone, do not accuse them of anything. However, you can state the facts. For example, say someone is in your room all the time. Do not be too rude about it, be sincere and focus on their body language.  

2. Feelings  

Tell them how you are feeling about the whole problem, and hopefully, they will understand. When you are finished with your side of the story, ask the person if they want to say anything and if yes then all you have you do is listen.  

3. Good communication 

Communication is key in both relationships and ones-self. This plays a big role in relationships. Communication is a way to succeed in any relationship. If someone tells you to do to something, you have the authority to say no. Some people are too scared or too nice to say no, so they say yes to everything. Saying yes to everything is not setting a boundary. If you do not want to go somewhere or do something, just say no I am okay, but thanks for thinking of me. 

4. Set expectations 

Setting expectations are something individuals have trouble with. People believe they must be this perfect angel for people to accept them. However, that is not the case, because they accept you for you. People have their problems, and one of them might be allowing people to push you around. This relates to good communication because it’s part of no statements.  

5. Negotiate 

When you are both done expressing feelings, discuss what each one person can do better. See if there is a way to improve it without ending the friendship if that is a possibility. 

As a person, we have our own limits. For example, some people know when they are being taken advantage of. Your limits are crucial to you and your relationships. You learn your own worth and respect for one’s self. When someone is constantly overriding your boundaries, that is when you speak up. You are someone who deserves some self-respect. Ending the relationship all together is sometimes the best thing you can do as brutal as it feels.  


Olivia is a senior at Lynn University. She is studying multimedia journalism with a minor in education. Before this, she would write every once in a while for herself, but her real passion for writing started during her senior year in high school when she illustrated the pain of losing a parent. She loves new experiences and getting to know different cultures, which is why she studied abroad in London over the summer of 2019. She hopes to continue writing and become a news anchor in a major city.
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