Drawing Boundaries

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I have learned one thing over the last year. (Well, I’ve probably learned more than one thing but I am only going to share one thing now.)

It is my responsibility to draw healthy boundaries with the people in my life.

I can’t delegate that responsibility to anyone else. And I can’t depend on the other half of my dysfunctional friendship to draw appropriate boundaries. Drawing healthy boundaries in MY life is MY job.

If there is no fence, or any semblance of a border, around a large open space, I can’t blame a weary wanderer for trespassing. And if there aren’t established boundaries in my relationships, I can’t blame a seemingly codependent friend for overstepping confines that have never been established.

So, this is me, taking the initiative and drawing healthy boundaries in my relationships. And if anyone neglects them, then we are going to have a talk, and if they still can’t come to embrace my need for these boundaries, then I think we’ll all be better off rethinking this ‘friendship.’

Do you draw healthy boundaries for the relationships in your life? Or do you wait for someone to go a step too far and then get agitated, frustrated, and all out of sorts? 

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’m guilty on part 2, I’d never looked at it this way.
    I always get frustrated and agitated with the weary wanderer…

    Definitely, food for thought!

    • Anonymous

      I do it too!

  • Anonymous

    I spent a great deal of time thinking about this very subject yesterday. I think my relationships are in a healthy place right now. I’ve been in one or two toxic ones, so my boundary-buster-radar is always up. It’s probably a bit overly-sensitive, actually. That was my conclusion yesterday. Hi.

    • Anonymous

      You and I seem to be on the same pages these days. And so…I’m praying for you. 

  • I love this post! This has been heavy on my heart this year. I love people but stink at drawing healthy boundaries. So my question is… is it ok for my boundary to stretch all the way to the OC? 😉 Love and miss you!

    ~ Trish

    • Anonymous

      I wish you’d just move already! 

  • Sharon O

    Healthy boundaries makes the best relationships.  Someone I know did some hurtful things a fw years ago and I said firmly “that will never happen again” and to this day our relationship is healed and whole and doing very well. I had to set a boundary along with a firm word and they had to decide if it was going to be something worth working on. 

    • Anonymous

      It’s not easy, but so worth it.

  • this is definitely something I need to get better at doing. and it’s a topic that keeps coming up in my mind so I know I need to figure out what it looks like practically for me, and implement it.

    how do YOU go about drawing the boundaries? and do you communicate them to people?

    • Anonymous

      My tactic has been just to create the boundaries and then once they are in place if the other party feels the need to discuss ‘why?’ or neglects them then we can have a conversation. 

      Only because it feels a little presumptuous to ‘DTR’ with friends.

      • I agree… I just wondered because of your statement that “if anyone neglects them, then we are going to have a talk”. Was curious if you were referencing a willful neglect (that could only come from knowing what your boundaries are and ignoring them anyway) or an unrealized neglect (because of unrealized boundaries).

        You’ve got my brain wheels spinning! Thank you!

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, I think it’s more the latter. But I don’t really know what I’m talking about 😉 Just figuring my way through one step at a time. 🙂

  • I so wish there was a mandatory class everyone in a family would have to sit through about creating healthy boundaries.

    Love the post.

    • Anonymous

      Haha. I know. 

  • It is a very hard thing to do especially with family. But I’m learning… slowly. 🙂

  • Cass Comerford

    I struggle with this. What are appropriate boundaries and how do I go about putting them up – it’s not one size fits all.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a good question. I will say this…I think intuition plays a big part. 

  • I have had to do this with past relationships, and it is a great reminder for me as I start developing new relationships. I need to set some boundaries for my relationships at work. I don’t want them to weight me down when I am at home. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Bianca

    Awwww, this is huge. So proud.

  • I am all about boundaries. I was a bit more fanatical during my social work days, not just with patients but with anyone who wanted a piece of my time.  Because I was in such a draining profession, I wanted to be surrounded by healthy, positive people in my personal time. Which is not to say I kicked friends out if they were going through hard times- I was very happy to be there for them. Once I decide someone is a friend, I’m extremely loyal and it takes a lot for me to sever the relationship but I do speak up for what I need in a friendship and make sure we’re both on the same page as far as what we need from one another. Sometimes you don’t know which boundaries you should have until someone crosses the line. The trick is to figure out why it bothered you, whether it’s a realistic and respectful expectation to have of another person, and then know how or if to confront the person.

    • Anonymous

      “The trick is to figure out why it bothered you, whether it’s a realistic and respectful expectation to have of another person, and then know how or if to confront the person.” Oooh, that is good. 

      • I have no idea where you fall as far as extrovert-introvert but I’m reading Introverts in the Church right now (and coming to grips with the fact that I just might *be* an introvert) but the last part of chapter 5 was about boundaries and pitfalls in relationships. McHugh lays things out very helpfully. Try to find a copy if you can!

  • I’m so bad at fences. In fact, I tend toward the opposite — putting up “please trespass” signs and then wondering why I feel so spent. These past two years of being basically homebound raising babies has been good for me in that way. It has forced me to say no to most things and to say yes over and over again to my family. Now that I’m venturing back out into the world I can sense those old habits perking up, and I’m nervous. Here’s to boundaries, and to the Spirit granting us discernment to know where to place them.

    (I miss you!)

    • Anonymous

      I miss you. Lots.

  • ash

    so important, so necessary- something I am really trying to work on, too. thank you for leading the way.