When it comes to friendships, we mostly want to ensure we are there for our friends all the time, and we expect the same from their side. We often feel guilty when we don’t share everything or tell all our secrets to our friends. In friendships, we expect constant support from one another and share too much about our lives. While this is what friends are for, however, there are some boundaries that every friendship should have, like any other relationship. Otherwise, you jeopardize ruining the friendship.
1. Respecting one another’s time.
We usually expect our friends to be there whenever we need them or that they’re available whenever we want to make plans. You need to know that life happens to them just as it does to us. They might get busy, or overwhelmed with things happening around them, tellingly, we shouldn’t sulk if one time they were not there for us. Your friend should also be respecting your time. It is not ok to make plans and then cancel with you last minute. This is something you need to make clear, that your time should be respected and you should respect theirs.
2. How reciprocal you are.
Friendships should be reciprocal in the sense that both sides should be investing in keeping the friendship. If you have a friend who only calls you when they need something or only shows up for their benefit, then you need to set boundaries. While friendships shouldn’t be measured with a 50/50 give and take and be more flexible, there still should be a balance. One part of the friendship giving all the time will cause this person to be drained.
3. How much you share about your life.
We confide in our friends and we feel the urge to share and vent with them. However, and no matter how close you are, there are some things you should always keep private such as sensitive family matter or problems with your partner or your financial status. On the other hand, you as well should be respecting your friend's privacy and not ask intrusive questions. In the end, how open or private you are is a personal choice and there shouldn’t be an obligation on how much to share in a friendship.
4. Your impact on one another’s life.
You should feel safe, comfortable, and at ease in a friendship. Of course, there can be times when you argue or have a conflict, but that cannot be the case majority of the time. You should ask yourself whether your friend impacts your life positively or negatively, and on the other hand how you impact theirs. Friendship should have no room for mind games, guilt-tripping, and picking fights. If this is how it is you are in a toxic friendship.
5. How often are you able to say ‘no’.
This tells a lot about the friendships you have. If your friend makes you feel guilty about saying ‘no’, pressures you, or makes you constantly agree to things you don’t want just to please them, then you need to set boundaries. It is a major red flag if you notice that when you say ‘no’ you get indirect punishment with silent treatment or a passive-aggressive attitude. Friends should feel at ease when saying ‘no’ to each other without any sense of obligation.
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