How to Set Boundaries With Friends

Because more people are dealing with mental health concerns than ever before, there may be a greater need for establishing boundaries as a psychological survival mechanism. If you’re having problems with a friend, it could be due to a lack of communication about your demands.

Start a conversation

As opposed to acting on a new boundary right away you should have a conversation with your friend about the relationship dynamics. Tell your friend what’s upsetting you and how you’d like it to improve, and then ask for their opinion. 

Be specific

You have to describe what the problem is to set boundaries. For instance, you can say things like “You need to quit acting like everything revolves around you,” doesn’t offer them much to work with. “I need you to pay attention to me more instead of talking all the time,” seems like a better alternative. 

Make a point of emphasizing the importance of your friendship.

Boundary setting can be painful no matter how you frame it, especially when the friendship has been long-standing. Highlight how important friendship is to you and that you’re having whatever discussion because of how much you appreciate the friendship. After all, if you don’t care, you avoid tough conversations by walking away.

Provide options

You might also be able to sweeten the new bargain by providing an alternative to what you were previously offering the friendship. For example, if your new boundary involves not replying to messages right away, you can replace that with a regular phone date.