How to Create Communication Boundaries With Friends

Whether you’re in complete isolation mode or occasionally going on socially distanced picnics with friends, communication with loved ones can feel tricky right now. You may have trouble telling a friend you don’t feel comfortable going to their house, or you might not be up to FaceTiming your family as much as you were at the beginning of the pandemic. Because of this, it’s increasingly important right now to set up boundaries around communication with friends.

“We all have different ways of responding to what is happening around us and how we navigate through this challenging time,” Pamela Krasner, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist tells Allure. “Some of us crave connection with others in an effort to lessen our feelings of isolation, while others withdraw from social interaction as a way to preserve themselves. Boundary setting allows you to communicate the level of social engagement that will feel supportive and uplifting during this time, rather than overwhelming or depleting.”

Adjusting to socializing differently can feel mentally and emotionally exhausting, especially if you are not on the same page as your loved ones. If you’re feeling like you don’t have the capacity to communicate with your friends or like you’re tapped out of talking about a particular subject, it’s important to recognize that boundary and communicate clearly and intentionally.

The importance of creating strong boundaries with friends

Setting boundaries with loved ones is often easier said than done, as it can be difficult to set a firm boundary without hurting anybody’s feelings. According to Santa Barbara, California-based relationship coach Silvy Khoucasian, clarity about what boundary you want to create can eliminate future issues or hurt feelings amongst friends.

“It’s important to remember that boundary setting is both personal and relational, and your boundaries affect more than just you,” Khoucasian tells Allure. “Being clear and not leaving any gray area about what you are expecting from a friend is really beneficial. It’s important to get in touch with your emotional capacity around how much you can text, talk, or hear someone else vent and then just be really honest with people about it.” 

Khoucasian added that in addition to honesty, it’s also important to be compassionate while setting boundaries. While it’s important that we all advocate for our own mental health and insist on silence and alone time when we need it, we should make sure that our friends still feel wanted and appreciated even as we take space.

“During such hard times we might see new sensitivities that we didn’t experience before,” Khoucasian explains. “People might be more prone to feeling rejected or abandoned when we set a boundary. So it’s important to let friends know that a communication boundary isn’t something personal and it’s not because they did something wrong — remind your friend that your boundary is only about you.”

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