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Boundaries – what they are and how to set them

April 18, 2024

Woman sitting on a Brooklyn rooftop, establishing boundaries with work for her own self care.

Establishing and maintaining boundaries in relationships is essential for fostering healthy, respectful, and fulfilling connections. Boundaries define the limits of acceptable behavior and help you maintain your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Boundaries are like personal guidelines that help us navigate our interactions with others. In the context of relationships, whether romantic, familial, or friendships, they serve several important purposes.

New York City woman in an online therapy session learning how to set boundaries in all of her relationships.

Purpose of Boundaries in Relationships

1. Respect and Autonomy: Boundaries promote respect for each person’s autonomy and individuality. They acknowledge that each individual has unique needs, desires, and preferences.

2. Emotional Well-being: Setting boundaries protects your emotional health. They prevent you from becoming overly enmeshed with others’ emotions and expectations, reducing the risk of emotional exhaustion and codependency.

3. Healthy Communication: Boundaries encourage open and honest communication. When people know and respect each other’s boundaries, it creates a safe space for discussing wants, needs, and concerns without fear of judgment.

4. Conflict Resolution: Clearly defined boundaries can help prevent conflicts or misunderstandings. When boundaries are breached, it becomes easier to address the issue and find a resolution.

When setting and communicating boundaries to the people in our lives, it is important to first have some self awareness and get curious about what your needs, values and limits are. We want to focus on open and honest communication, choosing the appropriate time and place for this conversation. It is also important to be specific about boundaries – bottom line is if we are too vague, there is room for misunderstanding, and we only want to have this conversation once. Consistency is the most important factor in maintaining boundaries – how do our friends, family and partners continue to show us respect by adhering to our boundaries, and how do we consistently do the same for them and theirs.

Boundaries in Different Types of Relationships

Brooklyn woman with a flower crown, smiling because she has set boundaries with the relationships in her life.

1. Romantic Relationships: In romantic relationships, boundaries are essential to maintaining individual identities and preventing codependency. They can cover physical boundaries (personal space), emotional boundaries (sharing feelings), and even digital boundaries (privacy on social media).

2. Friendships: Boundaries in friendships can involve personal preferences, such as how often you hang out, what topics are off-limits, or the level of support you can provide. Healthy boundaries help maintain balance and prevent one-sided friendships.

3. Family Relationships: Family boundaries can be complex due to long-standing dynamics. Setting boundaries with family members may involve establishing limits on intrusiveness, financial expectations, or emotional support.

4. Work Relationships: Boundaries in the workplace are crucial for maintaining professionalism and preventing burnout. Setting limits on the amount of work you take on, personal discussions at work, or expectations outside of working hours can help create a healthy work-life balance.

Boundaries are the cornerstone of healthy relationships in all their forms. They promote respect, autonomy, and open communication while safeguarding individual well-being. Setting and communicating boundaries effectively require self-awareness, clear communication, and consistency. By understanding the significance of boundaries and implementing them in your relationships, you can create more harmonious and fulfilling connections with others. Remember that healthy boundaries contribute to the overall well-being of both you and your relationships.


Brooklyn woman sitting on a couch, listening to music, journaling. She has created strong boundaries in her relationships.

At Manhattan Wellness, we understand that with all the messages we receive from the world, it can be difficult to maintain positive boundaries within our relationships. From social media, movies, and even people close to us, it can be hard to drown out the negative. So much so that we lose ourselves in relationships with others. That’s why our female therapists want to support you in building the confidence you need to reach your highest potential. Let us help you create an empowering narrative that will benefit all aspects of your life, from personal to professional. If you are interested in beginning counseling for women:

  1. Submit a Contact Form or Email Us at
  2. Learn More About Our Team and Our Areas of Expertise
  3. Begin Seeing Yourself in a Whole New Light!


Our therapists understand that building confidence takes time and that other issues can come up along the way. To better support you, we offer a variety of services to cater to your individual needs. The therapy services we offer are Therapy for Self Esteem, Anxiety Treatment, and therapy for dating and relationship issues. As well as therapy for college students, support for maternal mental health, body image therapy, and so much more. Are you feel like you’re not living the life you want and need to make changes? Let’s talk about it.

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