First things first, a friendship is not a commitment and doesn’t incorporate intimacy. With friendship, there is no kissing or holding hands, maybe some quick hugs and a peck on the cheek when you first see each other and that’s where it should end as far as physical connection goes. Friendships should remain platonic just as much as they shouldn’t be physically or emotionally binding.
With close friends, you get to hang out a lot and you talk about basically everything. You support each other as you wade the rough waters and celebrate the good times together. But at the end of the day, you need to understand that your friend, no matter how close, is only a friend. This way it becomes a lot easier to know how to behave when you are with them.
Sexual attraction is what differentiates relationships - as either platonic or romantic. If you are having a sexy time with your best friend then well, you are a cheater. The same counts when it comes to emotional cheating – where, you are cheating in every way possible but physically.
A romantic relationship isn’t solely based on sex, there is also the emotional aspect. As thus it is important that you have boundaries when it comes to your closest friends.
Shannon Thomas, a relationship expert and author of ‘Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse’ reminds us that: “Boundaries help to filter who loves us with conditions versus those who do unconditionally. When we speak up and our friends honour what is important to us, even if they don’t fully understand, they are showing us their willingness to truly invest in the relationship. We show our love within a friends group by allowing each person to fully be themselves.”
A little selfishness is key to having a successful friendship. Friendships, when not handled appropriately, can put one in uncomfortable situations. Here we have a few tips to help you identify when you need boundaries and how to go about setting them for more satisfying friendships:
According to Thomas, the need to set boundaries mostly shows up as stress and physical manifestations of stress such as an upset stomach, tense muscles, a headache or a rapid heartbeat can serve as the first indicators that it’s time to set limits especially when these symptoms manifest every time you are with a particular person.
If you feel nervous about sharing you honest opinion with your pal or when it is time to discuss a complicated topic, then that can be an indication that you are not having one of the healthiest relationships.
If you have a friend who is always late to meet you and it feels offensive or hurtful, you should let them know about it. Or if your friend wants you use a white lie to cover for them and it is making you uncomfortable, you need to be honest with them.
In a friendship, you should always be feeling agitated or pushed to express how you feel as your friends as supposed to know what works for you and what doesn’t. When you still feel like you are constantly trying to be sane, then maybe your friends be taking advantage of you.
If you are constantly on call as an emotional support for your friend, it is high time you considered ending the role. Be honest with them about the kind of problems you feel comfortable handling and if they are constantly in need of help then you can recommend a counsellor as most likely they need to see a professional the more.