How often do friendships come to your mind, when you think about the relationships that require the most boundaries? Frequently, we all find ourselves struggling to perfect the dynamic relationship we build over time with our best friend, and boundaries are one such filter that enables us to understand what we can truly accept and what we can’t.
Setting boundaries help us communicate what is important to us, and when your friends honour your boundaries even when they don’t fully understand them, they are showing you their willingness to truly invest in the friendship. When you set boundaries in a relationship, you outline the emotional and physical ground rules for how you want to be treated. However, each person sets their boundaries in a unique way, defining how they want to be understood and acknowledged. It is always a healthy choice to communicate your values, as well as the behaviours you will and won’t tolerate.
It is rightly said that friends become your chosen family and that friendships are meant to be your safe haven. Of course, a little selflessness here and there is key to the success of any relationship, but there’s a limit to how much you can give.
5 such things I believe one should be able to fearlessly say in a relationship with best friend
I can’t even remember how many times I’ve canceled on my best friend because depression and anxiety got in the way. And as much as we love our friends, it can be equally difficult for us to go against them. But, you shouldn’t be forced into it if you don’t want to go somewhere or get involved in something. Sometimes, we also tend to accept situations that we would rather deny being a part of simply because we owe to our friends. We don’t always know what’s causing our absence, but we simply may or may not want to be involved in something for our own reasons. In times like these, it is always a good idea to be honest about your feelings and politely say ‘No’.
2. “That is not funny/appropriate”
Our friends usually tend to joke about our past experiences we wouldn’t want to recall, our failures, or even our failed relationships at times. Even though our friends pass it away as a ‘joke’, some statements really haunt us for nights and keep us wondering about the bygone times. Knowingly or unknowingly, you’re now remembering incidents you so badly want to forget. Moreover, some jokes feel more like a personal attack or a threat to your own security. It is your responsibility to draw a boundary for your friends to learn what makes you feel uncomfortable. “Sorry, but you’re not allowed to talk about it even as a joke.”
3. “Because I don’t want to”
Can we please normalise saying “Because I don’t want to”? There are end number of times when I’m forced to get out of my comfort zone, despite not being in the proper space, only to embarrass myself in situations I absolutely hate. A relationship is not an obligation, and you are allowed to opt-out if you don’t wish to be a part of something. There isn’t always a reason as to why we don’t want to do certain things, but we just don’t feel like it. A friend who understands and respects your personal space and choices without forcing you for their own selfish reasons is your very own personal asset!
4. “You’re making me feel uncomfortable”
If you’ve been unlucky enough to suffer from something traumatic in your past, whether it’s abuse, serious illness, or something else, the general advice is often to share in order to help you heal. However, some prefer to simply ignore talking about their experiences as it slows down the process of healing. One does not necessarily have to set themselves on fire to keep others warm. It’s okay for you to tell your friends about the discomfort something causes you, rather than listening to them because you don’t want to make them feel unheard.
5. “I don’t agree with you”
It’s okay when two people have different opinions, and it’s okay to not agree with someone on the sole grounds of friendship without respecting your own sanity. Your friend comes from a background where they experienced life in a completely different way than yours, and so their viewpoints are always justified for themselves. However, you are not bound to look at something from someone else’s perspective. It’s okay for you to not agree with your friends. However, a healthy discussion on difference of opinions is always appreciated.
The amount of self-disclosure shared between friends is another example of a boundary. While one friend may feel comfortable airing intimate details about their health or romantic relationships, another friend may prefer to keep these details to themselves. It’s okay for you to be vocal about anything that does not float your boat. Remember that relationships are not obligations and you are allowed to keep boundaries that keep making you feel safe in your comfort zone.