Setting Healthy Boundaries 

Boundaries are an important part of every relationship. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries and being able to respect other people’s boundaries will help you build strong relationships where you can thrive.

Boundaries are the limits and rules we set for how and when someone touches us or interacts with us. We set our boundaries based on what we are each personally comfortable with. 

Knowing how you feel and what your needs are in a given moment come from listening to yourself and your body. This may change moment to moment – and that is ok. It’s all about communicating and having your own back.

It can be scary to communicate or assert our boundaries. What if our friends or partners think we are too much or don’t want to respect our boundary? But, having boundaries actually is healthy for both people in any given relationship. Think about how much you appreciate when someone shares their needs with you – it helps you know how to interact and connect with them and how to support them.

Expressing your boundaries helps you to create safe and caring relationships. And it can help you recognize when a situation does not feel right and being able to leave it – and for respecting when others do the same.

Types of Boundaries

There are many of boundaries, including those around personal space, physical touch, and even how others talk to you or how they talk about others when around you.

Healthy boundaries can look like...

“I like holding hands with you, but not in public.” 

“I am not ready to have sex, but I really enjoy making out with you.” 

“Today isn’t going well. I’m tired and stressed with school and I need some time to myself.” 

“Joking and making comments about my body doesn’t feel good for me. I am going to need you to stop doing that.” 

We have created some communication scripts to help you with setting healthy boundaries. 

Script 1 

A – So are we going to hook up tonight?  

B –  Can’t wait to hang. Feeling kinda blegh, don’t want to make any promises. 

A – We’ve been going out for three months.  Feels like we’ve been talking about it forever. Can we finally do this? 

B –  It doesn’t feel good when there is pressure for hooking up. I like spending time with you, but I want to go at my own pace. And I want to feel that my needs are respected and that you wouldn’t want me to do something I am not comfortable with.

A – Sorry I am just excited! Sounds like you’re not feeling ready yet, and that’s totally cool. I like hanging out with you whatever we do. 


Script 2 

A – “Hey, I’d really love to kiss you, do you want to?” 

B –  “Yes, I’m into that.” 

A – “Okay great, I think that’s as far as I want to go right now though.” 

B –  “That’s fine. Whatever you’re comfortable with sounds good to me. ” 

How people respond to your boundaries will tell you a lot about them and the relationship.

If someone is not totally respecting your boundaries, or lashes out when you try to set or maintain them, it’s time to assess the relationship.  

Talk to them about it. Tell them to stop. Tell them how they are not respecting your boundary and that this is not okay. (If you feel safe) 

If it doesn’t feel safe, if they lash out, or if they continue to ignore your boundaries, it may mean that the relationship is unhealthy or abusive. It’s important to get support and talk to someone about it or make a break-up plan. 

Talk to someone you trust about it. You could talk to a friend or the Women’s Advocate. 

Further Support 

Need help in setting healthy boundaries? Want to walk through some more scenarios and get help with how to word them?