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July 2, 2021

4 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries with Family and Friends

One of the best things you can do for your own sanity and mental health is to set clear, personal boundaries with those closest to you. This can be intimidating if you’ve never bothered to do so before, but don’t let that scare you. One of the biggest boundary misconceptions is that by putting limits on those you care about, you will either push them away or make them mad. On the contrary, by having boundaries in place, you will be able to build stronger, healthier relationships simply because your limits are recognized and respected.

Here are 4 ways to easily set boundaries that will bring you closer together with the important people in your life. 

1. Communication is key

When setting boundaries with family and friends, it’s important to communicate your needs in a clear, concise, and kind manner. Many times, it is the lack of communication that causes problems to arise within a family/friend relationship. One person may unknowingly step over the line because they weren’t cued into another family member’s wants/needs. This causes tension and added stress that could all be avoided by a simple conversation. As soon as you identify a new limit or boundary you want to set, talk it through with those closest to you so that everyone is on the same page. 

2. Be Self-Aware

In order to set healthy boundaries with those in your life, you first need to know who you are and what you want. Dig deep and really focus on the things that are important to you. Start to ask yourself what you truly desire and prefer in every situation. This will help you gain clarity on what boundaries you need to set so that someone else doesn’t come along and deplete your time, energy, and sanity. Self-awareness is the best stepping stone to setting healthy, successful boundaries with those you love the most.

3. Be consistent

It’s important to be consistent and always follow through with the boundaries you’ve set in place. With family and friends, it may be tempting to let things slide once in a while when it comes to overstepping your boundaries, but don’t fall into this trap. If you are seen as wishy-washy, it sends a message that your boundaries aren’t all that important to you and people may start taking advantage of that. By being consistent, you let others know that you’re serious about the boundaries you’ve set and that you will take a stand for them. 

4. Start Small

If you’re new to setting healthy boundaries it can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to family and friends. However, don’t let this stop you from taking action. Asserting yourself takes practice and the only way to get better is to start. The good news is, you don’t have to make huge changes in order to get the ball rolling. Start with your immediate family and discuss some personal boundaries with them. Maybe you would like half an hour of quiet time by yourself at night or you’d simply like some help around the house. By asserting yourself in small ways, you’ll build up your courage to set even more boundaries down the road. Remember, big changes start from small beginnings. 


Setting boundaries doesn’t have to difficult, even with those closest to you. With a few of these tips, you’ll be on your way to building healthier, happier relationships with those around you without taking away your own sanity and inner peace. 

Not sure if you struggle with boundaries? Take my quiz, “Are you a pushover?” to find out! Click here for the quiz.

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Dr. Monique Belton


Executive Coach and Clinical Psychologist, Monique Belton, Ph.D. helps empower people to create their dreams.

Dr. Monique Belton

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