How to Set Boundaries in Your Friendships
As a highly sensitive soul setting boundaries is not easy, as you are drawn to being a carer and helping everyone and that includes in your friendships too. The downside to that is it can lead to you having what I call unbalanced friendships.
Unbalanced friendships will look very one sided, you will be providing care and support, yet when the tables are turned you may not receive that same level of care and support reciprocated.
I’ve experienced this type of friendship a lot in my life, I was the ‘go to person’ when shit hit the fan and of course I would provide care, support and guidance only to be left high and dry when things improved and their life was going well.
Whilst caring for others is part of my soul journey, it doesn’t mean I need to sacrifice myself in the process. Sound familiar?
I want to tell you that ‘balanced friendships’ is possible, I know that because that is what I have now. My friends care for me and hold space for me as much as I do for them.
First I want to clear up what an unbalanced friendship isn’t, you know those friends you have had for years and you may not see or talk to them all the time but when you connect it is like it was just yesterday. That is not an unbalanced friendship, that is a deep soul connection and whilst you may not connect a lot in earthly time, you always have that deep connection.
An unbalanced friendship is one where you are noticing your energy is being drained, they are pulling more from you than you have to give and are not providing you what you need in return.
Now again it is important to understand that all friendships will have times where they may feel unbalanced, where one friend is going through a difficult time and you are supporting them. This is not unbalanced this is just the ebb and flow of the friendship.
Of course if the time comes where you are having a hard time and that same friend is not available for you, then it is time to look at the friendship and see whether you feel there is an unbalanced component to it.
What does a balanced friendship look like?
A balanced friendship is going to provide you with what you need, allowing you to feel heard, seen and understood on a deep level. You don’t come away feeling drained and exhausted from the connection and above all you do not feel or ever doubt who you are.
“A balanced friendship is going to fuel you, not drain you.”
A balanced friendship also has something on both sides that is very important especially as a highly sensitive soul, and that is Boundaries.
Boundaries serve to support both you, your friend and the relationship.
Now I know your first reaction is going to be NO I can’t have boundaries with my friend, they will think I don’t care about them. This is a very normal response, I hear this from all of my clients, as a caring person it is your neutral base point.
What if having boundaries allows you to be a better, more attentive and energised friend?
Let’s have a look at how you can set boundaries in your friendships and what they may look and feel like for you.
How to set boundaries:
- First step is to look at your internal boundaries, these are boundaries you have for yourself. Taking some time to really think about what it is you want out of the friendship, how is it you would like to be treated?
- Second step is to look at more practical boundaries, what do you need to put in place to allow you to experience what you decided in step 1. For example it may be the times that you are available.
- Third step is all about communication, sharing with your friend what it is you need from them. Without being open about your needs, your friend has no chance of being able to meet those needs for you. It is okay to actually ask for what you need, it is not demanding, it is open communication.
- Fourth step the most important of all, do not say YES when you actually want to say NO. In honouring yourself and your boundaries it is important that you are not forsaking yourself by saying YES when everything within you is screaming NO, this will lead to resentment and that is not good for any friendship.
Whilst setting boundaries especially for a highly sensitive person is never easy it is so very important for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. I talk to my private clients a lot about capacity, without boundaries your capacity within you to cope with what life throws at you will always be diminished.
I would love to hear how you feel about boundaries in your friendships, comment below.
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