~ Breaking Boundaries - Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean

8th January 2020

Boundaries are personal and may be very different to another person who is likely to come unstuck when they cross yours! Some boundaries might be, fidelity; truthfulness, laziness, to name a few. Others might be differences in lifestyle, for example, one party may feel it is acceptable to become inebriated occasionally, stay out much later than indicated and the other party finds the particular behaviour unacceptable. Often though the significant other doesn’t know what the boundaries are because they haven’t been communicated properly.

In personal relationships it might be differences in child rearing. In business it might be how business expenses are used or hours seen to be working – caution on this last one as perception is not always accurate. The list of misdemeanors relating to boundaries is a long one!

Often the transgressor isn’t aware that they are breaking boundaries simply because the boundaries have never been discussed! So are we able to avoid breaking boundaries. No, though communication is the key. Unfortunately communication takes work and time and needs to be an ongoing effort. An analogy might be if we are studying for a degree we focus. It is necessary if we want to achieve our goal. The same is true in personal and business relationships if we want a great relationship then we have to focus and work on it. In the case of personal relationships not just in the heady early days when our pheromones might be working overtime!

Don’t be afraid to have crucial conversations up-front – that is if you want to avoid conflict later. Say what your needs are and listen to your partner and what their needs are. Don’t skirt issues, face up then they won’t come back to bite you. It is common in new relationships to defer to the other and while this may be a good thing, it isn’t if it is against your values and it is wise to speak up. Too many couples separate and businesses fail for reasons that might not have been insurmountable if addressed early in their relationship. Unfortunately if matters that are important have not been addressed they rarely go way and often fester.

Alex Roberts