The Voice


The Voice


The Voice

Huskies in Heat: A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries

Huskies in Heat Logo. Created by Carly Busfield.

As college students and adults emerge into the ‘real world,’ it’s important to set boundaries to communicate healthily with your peers and have your needs met at the same time. There are all sorts of boundaries. Physical boundaries (ex. physical affection or touch), Intellectual boundaries (ex. topics shared around you), Emotional boundaries (ex. How much time you put into taking on other people’s emotions and venting), Sexual boundaries (ex. You refuse to have sex on the first date.), Time boundaries (ex. How much time you spend with someone, and how you make time to be alone to live your own life.) Material boundaries (ex. Giving money or permission to touch—or not touch belongings.) And other forms of boundaries that may be specific to you, your own life, and even your morals. 

This being said, it can be a bit scary and hard to set boundaries, especially with people that you care about. Luckily, with this handy guide, hopefully, it’ll be easier to assert boundaries. Trust us, it isn’t as scary as you think! 

1.) Be clear and straightforward. not mean and awful but just be direct and from the heart. If you care for the person and trust that they would also respect your needs and wants, then being as direct as possible would be best. Try not to say sorry for how you feel or beat around the bush. They are YOUR needs and they deserve to be respected. State whatever it is you need directly. 

2.) Empower yourself. It may be hard, but if you do not put your needs as a priority, it may lead to you getting stepped on and even if they are good friends or people worthy of your time and love, then they should be more than happy to listen to your feelings and make a change for the better. 

3.) Don’t raise your voice. Raising your voice will only make it worse and lead to an argument when all you needed was to voice your needs. If things get heated, back off, take a deep breath, take a break, etc. Discussing your needs with a level head is important. 

4.) Start by setting ‘small’ boundaries first and then go up to the bigger ones. This one is pretty self-explanatory, go for the small things (ex. “You can have some of my fries, but I’d like it if you were to ask first.) Then work your way up to the big things: (ex. “I don’t appreciate how you make me feel in this friendship/relationship.) 

5.) Talk to a therapist or campus counselor if you need extra help with anything. Campus always has resources to make sure that you are able to access care when you need it. It may also be helpful to seek care outside of school for summer/winter breaks if you need extra help, especially regarding self-esteem, stress, and confidence. 

6.) Remember that you are the ONLY one responsible for your own words and actions, never anyone else’s. If someone is not willing to work with your boundaries, respect them, or need constant (more than 3-4 times) reminding, then it may be a sign that they do not offer you the same respect as you do with them, and you should maybe distance yourself from people who do not respect the needs that you have requested. (and let’s be real, it’s not a request.) 

7.) Boundaries can change over time, over comfortability, context, etc. You are not annoying if your boundaries change over time. You may notice that someone who you used to not be okay with hugging you, you may want to hug them after around three years into the friendship. That’s totally okay, too! 

College should be a time of making connections with others and finding yourself within new hobbies or new educational paths that you never thought possible. Being social is just as important as education in the ways that it can transform you and prepare you for life outside of college. That being said, it’s important to set healthy boundaries in order to have your needs met and feel confident about communicating with others.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kenna Devalor, Multimedia Journalist

Comments (0)

All The Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *