9 friendship boundaries that should never be broken (no matter how long you’ve known each other)

There’s a fine line between being close friends and overstepping personal boundaries.

This difference boils down to respect. Crossing a friend’s boundary, no matter how long you’ve known each other, shows a lack of regard for their feelings and personal space.

Maintaining boundaries, on the other hand, ensures that both parties feel comfortable and valued in the friendship.

There are some boundaries in friendship that should never be crossed, and I’m here to discuss nine of these.

So, buckle up as we delve into “9 friendship boundaries that should never be broken (no matter how long you’ve known each other)”.

1) Respect for personal space

In any relationship, including friendships, personal space is a non-negotiable boundary.

Sure, friends bond over shared adventures, keep each other’s secrets, and spend heaps of time together. But let’s not forget the importance of giving each other breathing room.

This space comes in various forms—physical, like respecting closed doors, and emotional, like not poking around sensitive topics.

Bear in mind, encroaching on personal space can breed unease and put a strain on even the strongest of friendships.

2) Honesty without hurtfulness

Honesty is the backbone of any lasting friendship. But there’s a big difference between being honest and being hurtful.

I remember a situation with my childhood friend, Sarah. She had a habit of speaking her mind without considering how her words might affect others. One day, she made a comment about my appearance that left me feeling self-conscious and upset.

When I confronted her about it, she defended herself by saying she was just being “honest”. But I explained to her that there is a way to be honest without being hurtful. Since then, our friendship has grown stronger because we’ve learned to communicate in a way that respects each other’s feelings.

Bottom line? Honesty in friendship is all about speaking the truth with love and respect. It’s about knowing when to speak, what to say, and how to say it without causing unnecessary hurt.

3) Keeping secrets shared in confidence

In a friendship, trust is built over time through shared experiences and secrets. Sharing secrets can make us feel vulnerable, but it also strengthens the bond we have with our friends.

However, research has shown that the average person can keep a secret for only 32 minutes before spilling it. This can be detrimental in a friendship. When a secret shared in confidence is revealed, it can damage or even break the trust built over years.

Therefore, one of the golden rules in friendship is to keep secrets shared in confidence. It shows your friend that you value their trust and are reliable. Once a secret is out, it’s almost impossible to put it back. So remember, if a friend trusts you with a secret, it’s your duty to keep it safe.

4) Avoiding unhealthy competition

Friendly rivalry adds zest and drive to life. It’s exhilarating when it propels you to soar higher. Yet, there’s a boundary that must remain unbreached.

When competition turns toxic—morphing into a relentless race to outshine each other—it’s a recipe for disaster. It breeds feelings of unworthiness, stokes resentment, and ravages the very fabric of friendship.

In genuine camaraderie, triumphs are celebrated and defeats are shared burdens. Your victories shouldn’t intimidate your friend, nor should theirs threaten you. Mutual upliftment is the hallmark of true friendship.

5) Not taking each other for granted

In enduring friendships, there’s a lurking danger of slipping into complacency. It sneaks up subtly, but its impact can be profound, leaving one friend feeling overlooked and dismissed.

It’s tempting to fall into the trap of assuming that longevity excuses all, that certain actions are pardoned simply because of the passage of time. Yet, therein lies the peril. Friendships, like any bond, demand consistent care and attention.

Don’t forget to vocalize gratitude, to lavish appreciation upon each other. Never presume that your friend’s loyalty is a given, regardless of how you treat them. Respect is earned through continual acts of kindness and appreciation.

6) Forgiving and letting go

the power of forgiveness 1 9 friendship boundaries that should never be broken (no matter how long you've known each other)

Friendship isn’t always smooth sailing. There will be misunderstandings, disagreements, and mistakes. However, the ability to forgive and let go is crucial in maintaining a strong friendship.

Holding onto grudges or past mistakes doesn’t benefit anyone. It only breeds resentment and creates a barrier between friends.

Let this be your constant reminder: Everyone is human, and humans make mistakes. While some actions may hurt, it’s essential to discuss these feelings openly, forgive, and move forward.

7) Respecting different opinions

We all have unique perspectives and opinions formed through our personal experiences and beliefs. In my early twenties, I had a close friend who held very different political views from mine.

At first, it was challenging. We would have heated debates and sometimes, it would strain our friendship. But over time, we learned to respect each other’s opinions, even when we strongly disagreed.

We realized that our different viewpoints didn’t have to divide us. Instead, they broadened our understanding of the world and added depth to our friendship.

Thus, even when opinions clash, remember that it’s okay to agree to disagree. Respecting different opinions is a crucial boundary that upholds mutual respect in any friendship.

8) Not crossing physical boundaries

Physical boundaries are as important as emotional ones. These can range from respecting personal space to understanding comfort levels with physical contact.

Every person has different levels of comfort when it comes to physical touch. Some people are naturally more tactile, while others are more reserved.

It’s crucial to understand and respect these boundaries. Just because you’re comfortable with something doesn’t mean your friend is too.

Always ensure that any form of physical contact – a hug, a pat on the back, or even a casual touch on the arm – is mutually acceptable and comfortable. This boundary, when respected, ensures everyone feels safe and respected in the friendship.

9) Upholding each other’s self-esteem

In the realm of friendship, safeguarding each other’s self-worth reigns supreme. Friends are meant to be staunch allies, not relentless critics.

Now, it’s not merely about sidestepping disparaging remarks or critiques; it’s about launching each other to greater heights, reveling in each other’s victories, and providing unwavering support during moments of uncertainty.

A true friend acts as a pillar of confidence and motivation, not a harbinger of doubt. So, commit to elevating your friend, fortifying their sense of value at every turn. This boundary not only fortifies your bond but also fuels personal evolution in the most positive of ways.

At the heart of it all: Respect

Scratching beneath the surface of all these boundaries, there’s a fundamental element that binds them together – respect.

Respect in friendship isn’t just about being polite or courteous. It’s about valuing your friend’s feelings, acknowledging their individuality, and honoring the trust they’ve placed in you.

American Anabaptist author David Augsburger once said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” This sentiment encapsulates the essence of respect in friendship.

Whether it’s respecting personal space, being honest without hurting, or keeping a secret shared in confidence, each boundary speaks volumes about the respect you hold for your friend.

As we navigate our friendships, let respect be the compass that guides us. Because at the end of the day, a friendship grounded in respect is one that not only survives but thrives.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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