I am not sure if you have ever struggled with this, but I am the type of person that has no filter! I just say exactly what is on my heart, which can be a good thing sometimes, but other times, can make me feel exposed and vulnerable. This is especially true when I have shared my heart with someone and then we break up or decide to no longer be friends. After experiencing this, I have learned that it is best to put up some emotional boundaries.
Healthy Emotional Boundaries:
Your friends and the person that you’re dating do not need to know every single intimate detail about your past and your heart. It’s important to set up boundaries around what a person gets to know about you. Sharing this information is also sharing the most tender parts of your heart and your life.
This isn’t to say that you should put up a wall and not share anything, but it’s important to be discerning about what you share and how deeply you want someone to know about you if they are not a life partner or someone who has earned trust and respect over a period of time.
Three things to consider:
- How much you share with your friends
Friendships offer amazing support systems, and our friends are generally the people we air out our frustrations with and also the people who help us solve complicated problems, therefore friendships are very important relational structures in our lives. However, not all friendships are created equal. Some friends are great listeners and know how to keep your information private, some friends are advice givers and other friends are friends who may be fun or casual, but not necessarily someone with whom your private information will remain confidential. We have all known that one person who gossips like crazy. Although it might be juicy and entertaining to be on the receiving end of the gossip, it is never fun to be ther person having your personal drama shared throughout the school.
All I’m saying is that in your pursuit of building friendships, be wise about who you’re trusting to give you advice, and share your personal story. Not all friends have your best interests at heart, and not all friendships need to be “lifelong.” some are simply for a season, and that’s okay.
- How much you share with the person that you’re dating
Chances are your high school or college relationship will end. I know, so sad! I hate to bring you bad news, but chances are when you look back, you’ll be grateful it ended anyway! That being said, it is wise not to give “husband” privileges to a boyfriend who may just be passing through your life. Be careful not to build up walls that prevent you from getting to know one another, but also be careful to maintain your independence and emotional boundaries so as to not become enmeshed or emotionally dependent.
- What is a way that you can engage in a relationship without giving every ounce of your heart and soul
Especially if you are not married and you are in a time in your life where your friends may be changing. Putting up an emotional boundary can look like “Here is where I end and you begin, I cannot carry all of your pain.”. When someone in your life is struggling, it is very easy to get unintentionally enmeshed with them. Meaning that you take on their pain as your own and experience it personally. This is especially true for empathic people who “feel” the pain of others. Remember that you cannot and should not carry the entirety of another person’s pain. There is a difference between support and co-dependence and oftentimes the most loving thing to do is to help them get support outside of what you can provide on your own. On the other hand if you are feeling like you need emotional support, it is great to rely on your friends and family, or a romantic partner, but we suggest also seeing a therapist or professional who can help you process and work through your emotions independently.
Bonus Tips :
- If your friend tells you personal information that is life threatening and dangerous, you need to find a trusted adult and encourage them to get help.
- When someone trusts you with their personal information it’s important to remember that it is their story to tell and not yours. The most respectful and honorable thing to do if a friendship has ended is to keep that information to yourself.