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Setting boundaries in friendships to get what you need

Healthy boundaries in friendship

People can either be your greatest support system or the ultimate saboteurs of your happiness and success. The key lies in recognising which friends are bringing value to your life, and which ones need to take a backseat until they learn how to appropriately support you rather than undermine you on your journey towards growth and happiness.

Cultivating friendships that are beneficial to you requires setting boundaries with people who drain your energy rather than add to it. It might feel counterintuitive to remove these people from our lives, but it’s an important step in moving forward and growing into the best version of yourself.

Friendships should enrich our lives, not hinder them. Here’s how you can do that…

What is a healthy friendship?

Friendships should be mutually beneficial and enjoyable for both parties. Friends help each other grow and support each other as they navigate through life’s challenges. A healthy friendship also has a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the time and support you give each other, without any expectation of receiving the same in return.

Friendships that are healthy also respect each other’s boundaries. This means that you won’t feel like the other person is butting in on your life and you won’t feel obligated to be present in theirs. You will feel comfortable setting boundaries when necessary, such as when someone tries to involve you in drama that doesn’t involve you.

Identify the behaviours you don’t want in a friendship

Some friendships might seem like they’re working out, but they might actually be draining you and leaving you with nothing in return. Take time to examine the relationships in your life. Make a list of the positive things these friendships bring to your life and the ways that these people support you. Then, make a list of the negative aspects of these friendships. Doing this will help you notice behaviours that you might have been tolerating in your friendships that you don’t have to any longer.

Some warning signs that your friendships are toxic include feeling drained after being around a certain person, having a feeling of resentment towards the person, or feeling like you have to walk on eggshells around this person to avoid an argument.

How to set boundaries and remove toxic people from your life

Although it can feel scary to end a toxic friendship, you owe it to yourself to remove people who are bringing you down from your life. Setting boundaries is the first step toward removing toxic friends. Let the people in your life know what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. This way, there are no surprises or unnecessary drama.

When you feel like your friend is crossing a boundary, address it as soon as possible. Stay calm and assertive, and let the person know that their behaviour isn’t appropriate. If you need to end the friendship, do so. You don’t have to explain ending the friendship. It’s not your job to justify why you don’t want to be friends with someone anymore.


As you cultivate new friendships, make sure that you’re setting boundaries in the beginning to make it clear what you expect from being friends. You don’t want to lose these people as friends once they’ve become a part of your life because you didn’t let them know what you need from them.

Even though it might feel like you’re being a little bit selfish in ending toxic friendships, you’re actually doing a great service for yourself. You deserve to feel supported in your own life, and you need to cut out the people who bring you down and don’t support your own growth.

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