This month’s theme at the Women’s and Children’s Alliance is boundaries.
Boundaries are an abstract concept. Boundaries can be emotional and physical and can change over time. Boundaries are part of every relationship, including romantic, platonic, workplace and familial relationships. They are a healthy and normal part of every relationship. In order for any relationship to be successful some boundaries need to be established, whether it by naturally evolving or through conversation and mutual understanding.
Boundaries are different limits someone sets for themselves in a relationship. When those limits are crossed, a person may feel uncomfortable or may even become upset.
For example, a boundary you might set with a significant other is how much you want to have public displays of affection, or PDA. Many people have a certain level of comfort around this type of physical boundary. For you that might mean only holding hands in public and not kissing in public. Clearly and concisely communicating this to your partner is an important part of a healthy relationship.
It’s important to consider that boundaries don’t always have to be physical and with an intimate partner. You can have emotional boundaries with friends. For example, you might have an emotional boundary with whom you choose to share very private information about your past with. You might not want to share personal information to someone you’ve only known a short time, even if they are a friend.
We even have work boundaries. At a small nonprofit like the WCA, many employees work in shared office space. Checking in about work-place boundaries, is important so that everyone can have a productive and effective work environment. Talking with co-workers about thinks like playing music, eating leftovers (think tuna fish, heated up broccoli and salmon!), wearing perfume and keeping common areas neat is important – before someone’s boundaries are crossed and you have a problem.
Boundaries are something we will always have to navigate in our daily lives—our own and those of the individuals around us. Learning how to effectively establish your boundaries and communicating them with others is important to having safe, healthy relationships throughout your life. Learn more about building effective boundaries here.
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