A Thriving Friendship

Boundaries are not just a critical component of self-care—they're also the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, including those you have with even your closest of friends.

Friends are important. They’re the people outside of our families who we share mutually beneficial, rewarding, trusting bonds. Our friendships provide us with the support, love, and nurturing we need to navigate life. They keep us grounded, real, and in touch with our life goals and motivations. No doubt about it: friends can be everything.

When we have friends, we are often free to be ourselves around them. Yet, there are times where we are often afraid to speak our mind, worried that our friends will judge us and those special relationships can actually become strained over time. When boundaries lack, it can cause a disruption in the necessary balance of your relationships.


You can’t change the people around you, but you can maintain personal understandings that allow you to feel happy, safe, and comfortable in any given situation.

My first lesson with boundaries began with friends.


As a teenager, I would turn my friends’ problems into my own, taking on all their emotional baggage and energy until I was zapped. This became abundantly apparent to me while answering friends' phone calls about decoding their boyfriend’s text messages, all while I was practically dealing with a family member being recently arrested and not knowing what their future holds, rocked my family and I.


Another time when I started to date someone, a close friend of mine became frustrated with me for not spending as much time with her as I used to. It was very hard for me to solve that and I had to go out of my way to “make her happy,” but we both ended up being annoyed at each other because we felt insecure and were passive aggressive to each other. I felt like I was giving up time to make more time for her, and it still didn’t make her feel better.


When boundaries lack, it can cause a disruption in the necessary balance of your relationships.

Developing a new sense of what it meant to be there for someone, without making it my “job” to fix or put a band aid on them, took years of setting new lines in the sand one trip to the beach at a time. Slowly, this lesson began to take shape into all my relationships: with my family, friendships, and romantic partners.


When it comes to friends, we should not feel afraid to set some healthy terms. It is a scary thing to do, but it’s often needed, especially when you’re dealing with something that is bothering you, such as a friend unintentionally hurting you. Chances are, your friend has no idea that they did something bad, and they won’t know until you tell them.


A good friend will stay by your side, even when such conversations occur. I believe healthy friendships involve feeling loved, respected, heard, alongside clear communication.


Should friendships have Boundaries?


All relationships, including friendships, need clear terms to be healthy. The particular boundaries you have with friends will depend on a number of factors, including how close you are, how long you’ve known each other, and the things you both expect, want, and need from the friendship.


Why is it important to establish boundaries with friends?


Boundaries help keep friendships balanced, healthy, and reciprocal. They’re important to make relationships equal, helping both people get their relationship needs met while also maintaining a sense of independence.


What did I learn from this? First off, that it’s alright for friendships to end sometimes. It’s hard to process, but ultimately frees you up to either meet new people, deepen bonds with other friends, or to re-engage with your own interests. Secondly, I learned that I am someone who has a deep need for boundaries, and I’m at a point in my life where I can readily accept that.


Our friendships provide us with the support, love, and nurturing we need to navigate life. They keep us grounded, real, and in touch with our life goals and motivations.

You can’t change the people around you, but you can maintain personal understandings that allow you to feel happy, safe, and comfortable in any given situation.


You can reflect back to a previous blog about establishing boundaries and protecting your space.


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