Sometimes boundaries make relationships possible

Some people are lovely in some contexts, and awful in others. Sometimes, the only viable way to be their friend is to limit the contexts in which you interact with them.

For instance:

  • Some people are great when they’re sober, but mean when they’re drunk
  • That might mean that you hang out with them in alcohol-free spaces, but not in bars or others places with a lot of booze around
  • (Or it might mean that you don’t hang out with them because habitual drunkenness is dealbreaking for you)
  • Some people are lots of fun around adults, but don’t know how to tone it down around children
  • That might mean that you decide never to bring your kids to places they will be, but that you still hang out with them when kids aren’t around
  • (Or it might mean that you don’t hang out with them because failure to behave appropriately around kids is dealbreaking for you even if kids aren’t around) 
  • Some people are good friends in a personal way, but have abhorrent religious or political beliefs
  • Sometimes it’s possible to remain friends by agreeing not to discuss politics and religion
  • (Or it might not be, if certain kinds of political and religious disagreements are dealbreaking for you. Sometimes they are)

Some things are completely dealbreaking in a friendship. Other things can be accommodated with the right boundaries. 

  • This is a personal decision
  • The parameters of this look different for different people, and that’s ok
  • But for everyone, there are some things that are dealbreakers for relationships, and other things that can be managed by asserting boundaries