Boundaries are limits to the behaviour you will accept from yourself or someone else.
There are emotional (how you feel) and physical (body, personal space, privacy) boundaries
Boundaries protect you from being hurt, manipulated or used by others.
Why set boundaries?
Boundaries help you to understand who you are as a person; how you think and feel about things. They help you to manage your emotions, your behaviour and to form your self-identity.
They protect you from the impact of other people's actions.
Setting boundaries is a skill you will take with you through your life and helps you to develop positive relationships with others.
They help you to find your real friends.
How to set boundaries.
Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable because it forces you to speak for yourself (or others). It's OK to feel that way, it's hard for everyone to have uncomfortable conversations (see point 2 below).
1. Define - Notice when you feel uncomfortable, hurt, anxious, scared, ashamed or stressed. Make a note of who is around you and what behaviours cause you to feel this way? Is it a once-off or do they do this all the time? If you keep a diary, make a note of when this happens, what they are doing and how it makes you feel. Use the private YourCrew journal found on your dashboard.
2. Identify your feelings - Think about the barriers to speaking with them about their behaviour. E.g. fear of rejection, guilt, fear of confrontation, etc.
Own these feelings, they are real and everyone feels like this when they have a difficult conversation.
Think about how you will feel if you do nothing. e.g. the behaviour may not change and you may continue to feel uncomfortable, hurt, anxious, scared, ashamed or stressed.
If you feel like you can't bring up how you feel with the person, ask someone to help you. That can be someone from your Crew or other people e.g. a good friend
3. Communicate - keep it simple - you can start by saying 'no' then you can build it into a simple statement of why this is important to you.
When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, calmly, firmly, respectfully, and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, get angry, or apologize for the boundary you are setting.
Remember: this is how you feel - it is valid and you do not need to defend it
Practice what you are going to say.
Example: "When you [behaviour] I feel scared. Please don't act like that."
"When you treat [person] that way, it is mean. I don't like people being mean. Let's go and do something else."
4. Set consequences - lay out some clear consequences if people persist in crossing your boundaries e.g. you will walk away from the friendship, you will spend more time with other friends.
"If you keep doing this, I need to spend time with other people"
5. Prepare yourself for fallout - if they really are friends they will stop the behaviour. True friends look out for you, care about you and how you feel, include you and treat you with respect. Sometimes people we stand up to get nasty - aren't you glad you found that out now so you can get away from them and spend time with true friends?!
But - if things get out of hand such as they bully you, it is time to reach out to someone for help. Contact your Crew or a teacher or counsellor - they will help you.
6. Be gracious and open to behaviour change.
Sometimes pointing out to someone their behaviour is something you do not accept, makes them think about their own morals and values and who they are and who they want to be. This can trigger a defence response, because, deep down, they don't want to think they are the cause of people feeling bad. They may initially react to you but then go away and think about how right you are and change their behaviour. They may even apologise. Accept their apology and support their behaviour change - we all make mistakes.
Give yourself a pat on the back because calling out bad behaviour has made the world a better place to live for everyone.
Setting boundaries is the key to building good long-term friendships.
HELP OTHERS / CREW
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do to support someone. You may feel stressed or scared you'll say the wrong thing.
Remember your main role in YourCrew is to listen, acknowledge and communicate support. That can mean calling a professional service such as Kids Helpline or, in an emergency, calling 000They can also guide you on what to do.
If you are under 18 years, you can also reach out to an adult or your Crew to help you support someone.
If you are crewing for someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, overwhelmed, stressed or repeatedly contacts you day and night, then it is time to set some boundaries.
If you can't sort it out so that they respect your boundaries tell them gently:
"I have some problems myself and I don't think I am the right person to Crew for you. But I would like to help you get some help because you are a good person and you deserve to be helped. I'd like to go with you to talk to an adult or you can call Kids Helpline"
You are doing the right thing, you have listened to them and you understand how they are feeling. But you don't feel like you can help them and so you are taking them to the help they need. You can feel good about what you have done to help them.