Under the Kilt: Establishing boundaries for yourself and not others

Have you ever had those moments where you wished you had put your foot down and stood up for yourself? Maybe it was during an argument with friends or a significant other that made you feel like you had no say. This feeling is something I am familiar with, and I have learned ways to establish boundaries between friends, significant others and myself. 

Establishing boundaries can be something as simple as stating your need for alone time. Being an introvert myself, I find any social interactions to be extremely draining, regardless of who I am spending time with. It would get to the point where my interactions with my friends would result in moodiness, and oftentimes, I would get called out for being quiet. As a result, my relationships would be strained, and I would feel awkward. I had thought I was putting in effort to meet my friends and spend time with them, but with no time to recharge myself, I was only hindering my friendships and causing tension. 

The first step in improving my friendships was to talk to them plainly. I remember explaining that I had been so caught up in being present that I never got alone time with myself to recharge. Once I had explained my need for alone time and self care while reassuring my friends that I still appreciated them, our friendship improved. I was able to say no to hanging out with no fear of them hating me for it, I found that whenever we would hang out, I would be happier and have more fun. The same could be said for my friends who no longer had to deal with me and my moodiness and the same method can be used in romantic relationships. 

With romantic relationships, it seems like there is more of an expectation to hangout and see each other. The entire reason one enters a relationship is due to the fact that both parties enjoy spending time together, but no matter how much each person enjoys doing so, it is still important to take time to recharge. You can recharge alone or together in silence, so long as both of you are happy and understanding of each other’s boundaries. 

Another important, yet not widely discussed, boundary that I believe everyone should have are work boundaries. I remember when I worked a closing shift at a fast food restaurant on my birthday and had a day off the next day. My manager at the time asked me to work on my day off, and I felt obligated to comply. These situations would occur on a regular basis, and it was not until my last month of working there where I put my foot down and drew a clear line between my work environment and my availability. For the first time, I was saying no to extra shifts, and I felt good and unapologetic. 

Establishing boundaries in the workplace and in relationships is something that everyone could exercise, as it improves happiness and allows you to become a better person.

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