5 Healthy Ways Introverts Can Set Healthy Boundaries In Relationships

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How Introverts Can Set Healthy Boundaries In Their Relationships

By Gina Lucia

Are you an introvert who struggles with being social, but people don’t seem to understand that? To change that, you need to be setting healthy boundaries.

As an introvert, your time alone is how you recharge and remain balanced. However, you may find it uncomfortable to ask for the space you need when you need it.

Learning how to set boundaries will help you define what you need in a manner that is structured, clear, and specific.

When you begin asking for space, you may feel guilt or shame, or that you have let your friend, partner, colleague, or employer down. While it may be uncomfortable at first and a shock to those who must adjust to the change, it will be better for everyone in the long run.

RELATED: Why You Need To Set Boundaries And Learn To Say "No"

Setting healthy boundaries doesn’t only provide you with the mental and physical space you require, but it can improve the quality of time you invest in every area of your life.

These 5 tips will help you get started.

1. Boundaries aren’t walls.

A wall pushes people away, while boundaries provide you with the healthy limits you require to thrive. If you currently feel guilty asking for what you need, you must first accept your need for space.

Consider how you feel when you don’t prioritize your solitude. You feel physically drained, mentally drained, irritable, disconnected, spread too thin, and out of sorts. These aren’t healthy feelings and they can be minimized by setting boundaries.

You can show up fully and engaged for yourself and the people in your life when you take the time required to recharge. With consistency, you can transform your life. You deserve it!

2. Determine what drains you most.

Even with excellent boundaries, a hectic day can leave you feeling drained, creating a last-minute need for space. This is why it’s important to define what activities drain you most, so that you can proactively determine what you will need, and schedule it ahead of time.

Here are a few examples of planning your boundaries ahead of time:

Although you’re looking forward to getting dressed up and going to a charity event on Saturday night, you know you’ll feel drained when you get home, so skip your weekly Sunday brunch. So that you don’t miss out on your time together, invite your brunch buddies to the event. Or make it a date night and head to dinner before and only attend the event for an hour or two.

When returning from vacation, determine what you’ll need before you jump back into the swing of things. This might mean returning on Saturday instead of Sunday, so that you can have a full day to yourself. Don’t make any plans for the day you’ve set aside.

Going to your grandma’s all-day birthday party is something you don’t want to miss, so consider how to remain balanced. This might mean sneaking upstairs to the guest bedroom for some time to yourself in the middle of the day. Or taking a long walk.

After a chaotic day at work, you may need to lighten your after-hours obligations. Maybe you ask your partner or babysitter to pick the kids up from their extracurricular activities and take them out to dinner before returning home. Or, work from home the next day.

RELATED: 3 Steps To Creating Healthy Boundaries With Everyone You Know

3. The sooner you begin, the better.

The sooner you share your boundaries with new friends, colleagues, or employers, the better. Simply let them know that you’re introverted and require solitude to recharge. It’s helpful if you provide an example or two.

As mentioned above, share with your new employer that having the ability to work from home after a hectic day will help you remain innovative and productive.

You must also prioritize setting boundaries with those already in your life, especially if you have fallen into patterns that are unhealthy for you.

4. Be clear and specific.

It can be challenging and uncomfortable for everyone involved when transitioning from no boundaries to boundary-setting. Some people will respect your boundaries straight away, while others will require time to adjust.

Being clear and specific about what you need and when will help the adjustment period. For example, requesting two hours of uninterrupted time.

You must also comply with your boundary. Turn your phone off, so that there are no incoming calls or texts. If someone knocks on the door, don’t answer. Or head out of the house to a park or a quiet coffee shop.

If you break your boundary, especially in the beginning, it will take longer for everyone (including yourself) to adjust.

5. Learn to say no.

Learning to say “no” to things that make you feel overwhelmed, or to spending time with people who or in places that rapidly drain your energy, is essential for setting healthy boundaries.

Saying “no” will be particularly difficult if you are declining something you have always said “yes” to. Again, this is about setting healthy boundaries for you.

Introvert or not, before you commit consider:

  • Your intention: consider if you’re saying yes out of guilt or a sense of obligation or are you saying yes because it’s something that you sincerely want to do.
  • Your gut reaction: if you listen to your body, you will instantly be able to gauge whether it’s something you want to do. It’s ok to decline things you don’t enjoy or simply don’t have the energy for.
  • Your schedule: it’s okay to say “let me get back to you” so that you have the time you need to take a look at your schedule and see if you have the energy (not just the time) to fit something else in.

Even if it’s something you typically enjoy, but if you’re already drained, it won’t be the same. Yes, there will be times when you will need to compromise your boundaries.

For example, when a loved one is ill. The goal is to ensure compromise is the exception to your boundaries, not the rule.

Setting boundaries delivers an immediate sense of ease, and it gets easier with practice. Your extra time and space can improve your quality of life in every way.

Here’s to your healthy new boundaries!

RELATED: How To Have A Healthy Relationship When You're An Extrovert In Love With An Introvert

Gina Lucia is a writer who focuses on relationships, self-care, and love. For more of her relationship content, visit her author profile on The Mind's Journal.

This article was originally published at The Mind's Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.