What comes to mind when you think of the word boundary? You might have thought of something like a line, a fence, or a wall used to protect an area or an object. A psychological boundary is no different. Psychological boundaries are invisible yet firm fences or lines that you draw between yourself and other people. Boundaries are a crucial aspect of every relationship, be it a romantic relationship, a friendship, work, or a relationship with family members. This article explores the concept of boundaries in depth.

Understanding Boundaries

In simple terms, boundaries are lines that we draw between ourselves and others based on the level of comfort that we share with them. As children, many of us are often encouraged to ‘fit in and adjust according to the needs of others; thus, setting boundaries is discouraged. Setting boundaries might even be confused with being selfish. That is why many people find it difficult to set boundaries. However, the truth is that appropriate boundaries are essential for healthy relationships.

Within relationships, we can set different types of boundaries. Each type of boundary usually covers different aspects of our lives. Let’s look at the various forms of boundaries:

  • Physical Boundaries: These are boundaries regarding physical touch and comfort. For ex- You might not be comfortable giving hugs at your workplace
  • Emotional Boundaries: These boundaries revolve around protecting your feelings and emotions. For ex- Calmly communicating with others when you feel hurt or angry about how they spoke to you
  • Financial Boundaries: They revolve around matters of money and material possessions. For ex- Refusing to lend money to a friend because you have a student loan to pay.
  • Sexual Boundaries- These are boundaries that revolve around intimacy. They are especially important in romantic relationships.

Boundaries are important in every relationship because they keep us physically and emotionally safe. Healthy boundaries also act as indicators to others about what is acceptable for us and what is not. Respecting each other’s boundaries in a relationship ensures respect and equality and also helps in setting a strong foundation for long-term, healthy relationships. A lack of boundaries can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and disrespect in relationships.

How To Set Healthy Boundaries?

Healthy boundaries are those that allow us to engage with people while protecting our own physical and emotional well-being. Some ways to set boundaries are:

  • Reflect

Start by reflecting on how you want to be treated in your relationships with friends, family, or a partner. Thinking about how you want to be treated will give you an idea of which boundaries you might need to set in each of your relationships.

  • Clear Communication

Clear communication is essential to boundary setting. Let other people know about your boundaries calmly and respectfully. Also, let them know why these boundaries are important to you so that they understand your position. You can consider using ‘I statements’ for clear communication. For ex- ‘I do not like it when you shout at me while talking.’ This step usually takes patience and practice.

  • Practice Saying No

Saying no is a key part of boundary setting. Saying no might feel uncomfortable at first, but one can get better at it with practice.

  • Enforce Your Boundaries

Respectfully, let others know when your boundaries are being overstepped. Consider setting consequences when someone repeatedly violates your boundaries. For ex- Leaving the room when someone disrespects you despite setting boundaries

  • Professional Support

Boundary setting is a difficult process, especially when someone has just started with it. If you see yourself struggling with boundaries, consider seeing a therapist. A therapist can help you deal with the challenges of boundary setting while also helping you communicate your boundaries appropriately


Boundaries are hard to set, yet they are an essential part of a healthy relationship. A lack of boundaries can lead to feelings of anger, disrespect, and an eventual loss of interest or burnout in relationships.  When navigated thoughtfully, boundaries contribute to the growth and longevity of a relationship, creating an environment where both people feel respected and supported


  1. Personal Boundaries: Types and How to Set Them | Psych Central. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2024, from https://psychcentral.com/relationships/what-are-personal-boundaries-how-do-i-get-some
  2. Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships: Examples & Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2024, from https://www.betterup.com/blog/healthy-boundaries-in-relationships
  3. What Are Boundaries in A Relationship? (2023, January 3). https://www.psycom.net/relationships/how-to-set-boundaries


Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin