Boundary Issues with Friends
This is part 2 of a 5-part series on Boundaries by Megan Coggins.
Read Part 1 (Boundary Issues with Family) here.
“It seems like I never end up doing what I really want when we hang out”, “I feel inferior to my friend”, or “Why do I feel irritated by her?”. If any of these statements sound familiar to you, you may be experiencing lacking boundaries in a friendship.
Friendships can be confusing and difficult to navigate. On one hand, aren’t you supposed to always be there for you friend, ‘have their back’? But why do you feel used at times by a friend or that your voice or opinion does not matter? There are a few different scenarios in friendships that can lead to poor boundaries.
One situation that I see is that someone struggles to say ‘no’ when a friend asks them to do something. They want so badly to please their friend and be there, that they will overwhelm their own schedule and lives for the friend.
It’s important to remember that sometimes friends overstep our boundaries because our desire to please them or fear of saying no, which is our problem to solve, while other times our boundaries are violated because the friend is needy or clingy and has their own problems that do not have anything to do with us or our boundaries.
Setting boundaries in friendships can seem scary because friendships are only supported by the friendship itself. Cloud and Townsend in Boundaries say it well; “The only thing that will keep them calling, spending time with us, and putting up with us is love. And that’s the one thing we can’t control.” A real friendship that is full of love and care will be able to handle limits and boundaries that will only strengthen the friendship. Being able to say “no” to a friend or speak your opinion may be just the thing that will strengthen a friendship.