8 non-negotiable boundaries every introvert sets in a friendship

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Introverts value meaningful connections and enjoy deeper social interactions with a close-knit group of friends.

But because their social batteries may run out faster than their extroverted counterparts, they set boundaries for themselves. 

This helps them preserve their mental well-being while balancing the maintenance of relationships with people in their network. 

If you are an introvert and would like to know how to set boundaries in your friendships, here are 8 ways you can do so.

1) Learning to protect their alone time

If there’s one thing that introverts hold dear, it’s their alone time. This is something sacred to them, one that they will protect at all costs.

An introvert’s alone time is important because it gives them a break from an entire day or week’s worth of socializing with others. Spending time alone helps them recharge. 

Unlike extroverts, introverts thoroughly enjoy being alone. They don’t need to conform to societal expectations or think of ways to keep conversations going – they can just be. 

Whether it’s spending their day at home reading a book, cooking, or even going shopping, visiting museums, and watching movies alone – introverts cherish this time alone with their thoughts.

They may even cancel appointments or outings just to preserve this time for themselves. If their schedule becomes too packed with activity, they will gladly rearrange hangout sessions with friends.

It may seem selfish at the start, but in the long run, protecting your alone time as an introvert is crucial in setting boundaries and enhancing your overall mental well-being.

You wouldn’t want to find yourself burnt out from maintaining your friendship.

And this is why introverts value…

2) Quality over quantity when it comes to friendships

Introverts usually have a smaller group of friends that they meet with regularly.

Sure there may be introverts with many friends, but even these individuals have a tighter-knit group that they will spend more time with.

Introverts would rather have deeper connections with a few people than superficial relationships with many. This is because they prioritize meaningful connections and in-depth interactions or conversations.

This also helps to conserve their social batteries for people who truly matter to them, as introverts have a more limited capacity for social interaction.

As we grow older, we get more responsibilities and less time to spend with the people around us – let alone ourselves. 

So to keep their peace, introverts would rather opt for quality friendships than have many acquaintances.

3) Protecting their personal space

As an introvert, I try not to have people get into my personal space because it makes me uncomfortable.

My personal space is also bigger than the average person, which could be due to my introversion, as I do know a lot of introverted friends who are similar in this respect.

I’m not a hugger, but I do have friends who are huggers, and sometimes I have to tell them that I’m not that comfortable doing so.

It’s not that I don’t like them, I’m just not someone who likes people invading my personal space

In my culture, we don’t really do hugs or kisses when greeting one another (which I’m super thankful for), but when I’m visiting friends from cultures that practice this, I’ll do so out of respect.

But otherwise, I’d rather limit my greetings to a simple ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’  so that I can maintain control over my personal space.

4) Clearly communicating social expectations

As introverts usually have a smaller group of close friends, they’re a bit freer to share their thoughts with the other person – and the other person would likely be someone who is comfortable with the introvert’s behaviour.

This is why, to draw boundaries, introverts may clearly communicate their expectations of the interaction at the outset. 

For example, they may tell the other person that they’re a bit tired from work and can only be a listening ear for this amount of time, or that they may only be able to listen and not provide advice just for that day.

Setting and communicating these expectations at the beginning of a conversation or interaction helps set the tone right for the entire conversation, helping the introvert draw boundaries, and informs their friend on what to expect.

5) Prioritizing their mental well-being

As an introvert, I’m usually torn between having to prioritize my well-being and being a people pleaser, such as agreeing to whatever my more outgoing friends say.

But over the years, I realized that I should be focusing more on myself instead, as there’s no point wearing myself out with people who don’t mean that much to me – or those who don’t give the same amount of effort.

This means being selective of who occupies my time, space, and effort. I enjoy being a listening ear to those who are going through difficult times, but this itself requires a lot of energy and mental capacity.

Putting myself first doesn’t necessarily mean spending time alone as well. It also means spending time with people who can replenish your energy.

Which leads me to my next point.

6) Understanding the need to recharge

Another non-negotiable boundary that every introvert sets is that there should be time for them to recharge.

This is important as they have less energy to socialize with people than extroverts and will need time to recuperate from hanging out with friends – even the people closest to them. 

Resting and recharging may look different from person to person, but introverts will likely distance themselves from activities that require anything that has to do with socializing with people. 

However, there are introverts who recharge by spending time with people who can replenish their energy, such as a cherished family member, or a close friend or partner.

Some activities introverts do to recharge are:

  • Spending a day out alone or with a close friend
  • Spending a day indoors working on their hobbies
  • Going on a social media detox
  • Traveling out of the city or to a park, away from the crowds and noise

7) Not pressuring themselves to respond instantly

I have a close friend who’s also an introvert and we’ve been texting each other daily (or almost daily) for the past nine years.

We could text each other once a day (with many, many messages to update on what transpired throughout the day or week), but we don’t pressure each other to respond immediately.

So there may be double and even triple texting happening, but when the other person responds, we make sure to reply to every message. 

It’s a low-maintenance friendship that works because we’re mindful of each other’s personalities, busy schedules, and of course more urgent messages that demand our attention.

And true enough, it has sustained our friendship for nearly a decade.

While there may be an unspoken expectation for people to respond to each other immediately, introverts don’t pressure themselves to do so. 

This is how introverts draw boundaries in a friendship because to them, their wellbeing comes first.

8) Allowing themselves flexibility when it comes to planning

Nowadays no one really has time for spontaneous plans especially when we progress through life, so we often schedule meetups days or weeks in advance.

And this really helps me because different friends require different energy levels so I can plan accordingly – let’s say a quiet dinner with someone two days after drinks with a bigger group and then a cafe date with a few friends the week after.

Of course, this is subject to everyone’s availability, which is why I don’t always agree to gatherings just to avoid pulling out at the last minute because I was drained by a prior appointment.

While I love catching up with friends, nothing stresses me out more than a packed calendar of appointments.

So if need be (although I try to minimize this) I’ll reach out to either reschedule or cancel a meetup if my head isn’t in the right place.

Concluding thoughts

Again, it may seem selfish of introverts to put themselves first, but by doing so, it gives us the energy to be fully present when we meet others.

Introverts aren’t interested in superficial relationships, which is why it takes a lot out of us to create and maintain meaningful connections with the people around us.

If you’re someone who’s an introvert and is feeling drained from too many social interactions, try setting these non-negotiable boundaries for yourself!

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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