What are boundaries and how are they important? Boundaries are the physical and emotional limits a person establishes in his/her relationships. Most boundaries reflect our personal preferences or our values. Knowing and maintaining these boundaries keeps us safe, healthy, and true to ourselves. Take some time to reflect on what your own boundaries are. Do you have boundaries between you and your friends? Do you have boundaries between you and a guy you are dating at school? Why do you have them? Take the time to think through this and get to know yourself and your boundaries. Keep these boundaries in mind and stick to them. They will help you stay well emotionally and socially. They will help you have healthy relationships.
Below are some scenarios that you can read through and think about how you would respond.
A guy at your school has started showing you some attention. Lately, he is constantly texting, calling, showing up at your locker and at your lunch table. He is just always around trying to get your attention. He’s also trying to get you to come over to his house when no one is home, but you are unsure about that. You really like him, but sometimes when you don’t text or call him right back he gets mad at you. He has a car and one day he offers to give you a ride home from school. While in the car you are talking and laughing and the next thing you know you are pulling up to his house. You tell him you really need to go home, but he insists that he just needs to go inside real quick to get something and tells you to come with him.
– Is what he’s doing okay? No. He should respect your boundaries.
– What can you do in this situation? Do not give in to pressure. Stand up for your boundaries and yourself. If he refuses to drive you home, call a friend, or even better, call an adult.
Your boyfriend has been putting you down, both in private and in public when you are around friends. He makes fun of your mannerisms by accentuating them and laughing. He makes negative comments about your looks and tells you that you are lucky you have him because no one else would want you.
– Is this a healthy relationship? No. Maybe it started out as one. However, relationships can change. Know that you can always choose to leave a relationship. You should be with someone that supports you and respects you.
A teacher or coach you admire seems to favor you over the other students. He has “accidentally” touched your breast and buttocks on a few occasions. He appears when you are alone in the locker area sometimes too. You don’t want to hurt his feelings and you know he has control over whether you start on the team or not/your grade, but his behavior is making you uncomfortable.
– Who can you tell? Tell an adult. It could be another teacher at school, the principal, or your parents. It is important to tell someone. This behavior is unacceptable. It may be hard since you look up to this person and it may be very confusing that someone you look up to could make you feel uncomfortable. But it is important to know that no one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable. A coach or teacher should never encroach on your privacy or touch you in private areas. Even if you feel that they have power over your position on the team or a grade in class, you should tell someone. Your position and your grade will be protected.
– If you ever feel uncomfortable, tell someone. You are never wrong to feel uncomfortable.
– Be aware of your surroundings. This includes places and people. Try to not put yourself in risky or compromising situations as best you can.
– Friendships and relationships change. If a friend starts to push you beyond your boundaries, or make you feel pressured, they are not a good friend and it is not a healthy relationship.
– Surround yourself with people that are supportive of you and encourage you to be your best! Support those around you as well!