A boundary is a personal property line
Boundaries mark those things for which you are responsible. Boundaries help define who you are.
• Physical boundaries define who may touch you and under what circumstances.
• Mental boundaries give you the freedom to have your own thoughts and opinions.
• Emotional boundaries help you deal with your emotions and disengage from the harmful and manipulative emotions of others.
Boundaries are healthy
Clear boundaries are essential to a healthy, balanced life. Boundaries impact all areas of your life-- at work, in families and friendships. The boundaries change with different relationships.
The best boundaries are ones with civility, some flexibility and definite limits
All relationships have boundary limits. Boundaries move in response to situations---out for strangers, in for intimates. Great emotional closeness is possible between friends. The keys to closeness are communication and being known. For example, you probably accept appropriate anger from friends and loved ones, but believe it’s inappropriate in the workplace.
The workplace can develop all the roles and craziness of a dysfunctional family
The roles you play define the limits of appropriate interaction with others. Roles carry built-in limits. A violation occurs when the limits of a role are ignored or forgotten.
Some people expect the workplace to take care of them personally. Poutiness, meetings with hysteria and catty exclusive relationships are all about inappropriate boundaries. You can’t expect the workplace to assimilate such craziness without becoming dysfunctional. Everyone suffers.
What is appropriate? What’s your relationship to the other person? Do you look up, down or across? You need to understand the boundaries to know how to communicate.
Coming next: Build good boundaries to avoid boundary confusion and violations