Boundaries are game changers in relationships – whether personal or professional because the perception that you have on the situation may not be the way the other intended. Personally this subject for me is touchy because I’ve had to deal with crossed boundaries a few too many times than I care to admit within the last 2 years BUT at the end of the day, it’s what I can live with and deal with that matters.
What is a boundary? A boundary can be defined as a line that marks the limit of an area; a defining line. For me that didn’t clearly explain it so I went “old school” and found it best described from Merriam Webster dictionary. So, again, what is a boundary? A boundary is the unofficial rules about what should not be done; limits that define acceptable behavior.
Why are boundaries necessary? To establish the fine lines of the relationship and what one can expect from one another. This is why the contract is a necessary element of a professional relationship. It should clearly define what you do, for who, how often and for how much. If excess to the contract is needed, then “XYZ” occurs.
The old saying of
“Business is Business and
Personal is Personal”
is a great example of boundaries!
Crossing of those lines can be the downfall of a friendship and/or business relationship.
You have to set the tone in the beginning so that it’s clear. If you wait until something happens, then make it a change across the board with all. A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
How do you set boundaries? Clearly and in person (face to face via Skype, Hangout or FaceTime) as you want and should have the persons undivided attention. Most times, you can tell if they are receptive by the look on their face. If they look confused as to why the conversation is happening, use that as an opportunity to further explain it.
What to do when boundaries are crossed or in jeopardy of being crossed? Address it at that time with a calm and cool head. State facts and keep emotions in check. At times it may need to be done the next day depending on what lines were crossed, but still try to remain calm.
How do u address them when no said limitations have been discussed in the beginning … especially between friends? Calmly and rationally. State facts and why it seemed to be a crossed line to you. Noone can read your mind, so they don’t know how you feel unless you say something.
A. your client asks you to offer your services/product to one of their friends at a reduced rate
B. your friend constantly asking you to give her a discount
C. your client doesn’t pay on the agreed date but doesn’t want to pay the late fee either.
D. a friend wants you to talk to your client because “you know them better”
Though each scenario and situation is different, tread lightly and state why you are allowing the cross to occur. ALWAYS state if this is a one-time occurrence and make note of it. Never assume anything! Honestly once you allow the lines to be blurred, chances are they will be crossed again at a later date. Allowing it to happen once, opens the door for it to happen again and again.
You need to be aware of the boundaries that are set and if they are different for the different areas of your lives … but PLEASE set them!