It’s not fun to be with someone clingy. Worse if they don’t respect boundaries.
That’s why it’s important to find people who know how to maintain healthy boundaries in relationships.
Want to know how to spot them?
Here are 11 habits you should look for.
1) They interact with and befriend a lot of people
One way you can tell that someone is capable of maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships is that they have plenty of strong friendships.
And I don’t mean that they must have like 50 or more good friends they regularly hang out with. Five or six is plenty good enough. Not everyone is an extrovert after all.
It’s a bonus if they’re friendly towards different kinds of people, too.
But to go beyond just mere numbers, those friendships should be genuine and strong.
If they only have one friend (and it’s you), it’s time you should start asking why. Sure, there’s a chance that they just moved to a new town and they’re just starting to make new friends.
However, if you don’t see them making any effort to befriend other people because they already have you, then it’s a red flag.
2) They don’t need people to always agree with them
People who know how to maintain healthy boundaries don’t have big egos.
They don’t get offended when you disagree on their decisions and opinions. As a matter of fact, they’re open-minded enough to listen to opinions and ideas that disagree with their own.
They don’t expect blind loyalty either.
They don’t try talking about, say, some personal drama and expect everyone to unanimously say “yes” and take their side.
For them, that’s just unhealthy.
3) They demand others to respect their privacy
That is to say, they don’t go around sharing their passwords as a “gesture of trust”, and neither do they demand that the people closest to them—friends and partners alike—return the gesture.
In fact, they don’t even demand to know all the details or that they should always be consulted for everything. They won’t feel disrespected at all if people keep certain information from them.
They understand that everyone needs their own private spaces, and just because someone’s their best friend or life partner doesn’t mean that they’re entitled to always be included in everything that person is involved with.
4) They don’t try to fix others
People who have hard times maintaining healthy boundaries make it their life mission to “fix” others.
This can be about making their partners “achieve” their full potential, or it can be about trying to smooth out the flaws in their friends.
But as well-intentioned as this may be, it’s actually very toxic!
As the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê explains in this mind blowing free video, most of us do love and intimacy in an unhealthy way. In the end, the “love” we give destroys our relationships.
If you want to love better, I highly recommend that you unlearn your toxic habits.
Here’s a link to the free video once again.
5) They ask before they act
They don’t just shoot first and ask permission later, or assume that just because they already know your answer, that they can just do whatever.
After all, even if you’ve always said “yes” to them quite consistently doesn’t mean that you aren’t exactly going to change your mind.
So they’re not just going to mow your lawn thinking that you’ll appreciate it. They will always try to ask you first, or at the very least try to inform you.
And this is a very good sign that they have a healthy amount of respect and understanding of boundaries and consent, which means that they’re not just going to screw up either in their relationships.
6) They don’t love conditionally
They don’t do acts of kindness expecting to be repaid in the future. And neither do they treat their love and affection as something they can just withhold or offer on a condition.
When they love someone, they’ll do it unconditionally…with no fine print included.
Even when they’ve given their friends a million bucks each because they won the lottery, they would not use this to get any sort of power or loyalty.
Love to them is not just something anyone can or should use as a weapon to bludgeon others into doing their will. Do that, and it ceases to be love.
7) They know how to say no
If they really don’t want something that was asked of them, or if they feel that someone is violating their boundaries they can and will say no.
What sets them apart from regular folks is that they do it in a gentle but firm manner. They just have the charm to reject a request without making the other feel rejected.
But they mean it, and will stand by their decision even if people try to guilt-trip them.
They’re nice but they’re not a doormat, and they’re not going to let other people trample all over them.
8) They accept criticism
We all make mistakes.
But people who have trouble maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships tend to be especially sensitive about that and lash out at the smallest criticism.
People who do the opposite and actually accept criticism, on the other hand, tend to be self-assured and well-capable of maintaining boundaries in their relationships.
Their friends and partners are perfectly comfortable calling them out when they deserve it. This can be as simple as being warned that their outfit looks a bit tacky to being told they’ve been a plain a*hole all night.
9) They don’t take offense at others’ boundaries
Sure, they might think that someone might have been a bit too excessive in defining their boundaries, but they don’t take it personally. Instead, they will try to understand them.
For example, if their partner says “Please don’t post our photos on Instagram!” then they’ll respect them.
It doesn’t matter if they think that’s being paranoid or that it doesn’t make no sense—they will respect their wishes.
Or, another example, if their friend doesn’t want to share the details of their love affair, they won’t think of them as a bad friend.
10) They don’t insist that they know everything
Humility is one of those traits that you can consistently see in those people who know how to maintain healthy relationship boundaries.
They don’t see themselves as knowing everything, and might even throw up all sorts of disclaimers about how they CAN be wrong.
They don’t like to insist that people listen to them “just because” and, as I mentioned earlier, they actually enjoy their opinions being challenged.
So they won’t push their advice on you or teach you how you should live your life—even if they’re already successful.
It’s generally those who are bad at maintaining poor boundaries that also have severe problems with fragile pride instead.
11) They don’t play the blame game
When something goes wrong and it’s clearly because they messed up somewhere, they have no trouble stepping forward and admitting fault.
They don’t try to spare themselves indignity by shoving the blame at someone else.
People who are honest about their mistakes like this are the ones who know how to build and maintain strong personal boundaries in a relationship.
It takes plenty of maturity to admit fault, after all.
And this is important because maturity is anathema to codependency. But not only that, they are foundational to the kind of confidence that one needs to not just know what healthy boundaries are, but to also enforce them.
Some of these habits might not be obviously related to whether one can maintain healthy boundaries in a relationship. But amusingly enough, they are.
All the good traits that help people handle relationships better, after all, are tied together. Humility lends itself to maturity and satisfaction, for example, and maturity is certainly important to maintaining healthy boundaries.
That’s why if you want to learn how to better maintain your idea for a healthy boundary in your relationships, it helps to try to learn how to be a better person in general.