Building stronger relationships is all about setting healthy boundaries. But that can be hard when I feel a close bond and want to spend time with someone.
When a friendship is new, it’s exciting to see how much we have in common. We want to spend a lot of time with one another to deepen our sense of connection and share new experiences.
But over time, things can feel a little strained, if you get to a point in your friendship or relationship where you feel drained after spending time with someone, or you find yourself avoiding them, it may be time to do a little boundary work.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries
A boundary is not meant to be unkind or restrictive. It’s simply a way to set limits so you don’t spread yourself too thin. Think about when you get tired or drained after being with people. Is it after socializing for many days in a row? Or maybe it’s because you ended up texting all day when you thought it was going to be a much shorter conversation. Thinking through what makes you feel tired is a good first step to make sure your boundaries are rooted in healthy self-care.
Once you know what’s missing, take simple steps to make time for recharging after being with people you love. There are lots of little boundaries that can make a big impact on your energy and well-being:
- Scheduling alone time every week
- Canceling plans if you feel ill or tired
- Not taking calls or answering texts after a certain time
- Unplugging from devices and social media at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep
- Checking in with yourself each morning before you are around others, and each evening when you get home
Next time you feel a little stretched by your relationships, try one or two of those steps.
I’ve noticed how much better I feel when I get the rest I need. After all, I can’t be there for people when I’m exhausted. But sometimes my friends and loved ones may not know I’m tired. It’s important to share your boundaries with people close to you so they can support your efforts to take care of yourself. It can be something as simple as saying something like this: “I’ve noticed I’m overdoing it. I need time to unwind at the end of day. If you need to talk, text me before 9:00.”
Ask for Help
Sometimes setting boundaries is difficult. Our friends may push back a little when we ask for alone time. It often gets harder to remember our limits when someone we love is going through a tough time and needs extra support.
Leaning on faith can be a good way to keep our boundaries in mind. After all, we're only human, and turning to God often brings peace and clarity when relationships get tricky.
If you’ve tried everything and still feel stress and strain from relationships, talking to someone with experience setting healthy boundaries is a big help. Reach out to a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine today for a safe, judgment-free place to work through your boundaries. We are here for you, and you always have our support.
Are you upset because you've been fighting with a close friend? Find out what to do and how to deal with relationship challenges here.