Dear Therapist: I need to learn how to set boundaries

By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 30 Sep 2021, 6:43 PM

I come off as a very social person to everyone around and I definitely love to hang out with people. However, I really need to learn how to set boundaries so I don’t feel my personal space is intruded upon. – Farhana B.

Dear Writer, you may need to define your personal boundaries and how permeable you want them to be in social situations. When you state that you feel overwhelmed, it may be partly owing to the impression given to those around you, that they can meet or speak to you anytime. If that’s true, you may need to modulate your own behaviour and have open doors for few individuals. This calls for self-exploration and a probable discussion with close ones to understand how others perceive you. It could be that you are the chatty one or a good listener or have a great sense of humour, which may make people want to seek you out. It’s quite possible that you are reinforcing the patterns and people’s expectations from you.

Having defined your boundaries and reflected better, you can then progress to building strategies to prevent burnout or exhaustion. You could, for instance, control the social setting or limit hours or kind of activities you participate in. For example, dinner invitations at home last longer than at a restaurant. Pacing your social activities can help you get in touch with your own need for solitude.

With few cherished ones, you can try expressing your dilemma so that they understand when it gets too tiring for you, which can take a lot of pressure off you. Working out a balance of socialisation and solitary time can help change others’ demands on you.

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