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MAINTAINING CONNECTION WHILE KEEPING YOUR BOUNDARIES

February 5, 2024by Lauren0

Maintaining connection while keeping your boundaries
How to avoid rifts in your relationships due to differing beliefs

The holidays are a time that many people cherish due to the closeness it brings in relationships.

That being said…

If you have experienced a rift in your relationships due to the pandemic, then the holidays may instead lead to feelings of anxiety and grief.

Some may feel pressure to put their boundaries aside in order to maintain relationships with family members, while others may entirely sever ties with those who hold a different view on public health.

If this sounds familiar to you then I have good news for you…

BOUNDARIES ARE NOT ALL OR NOTHING

If you are not comfortable meeting with friends or relatives in person and sharing a meal due to public health risk, you can try one of these alternatives to maintain your relationship at a safe physical distance:

1. Start out any boundary conversation by expressing your love and respect for the person and your relationship regardless of differences in belief or behavior.
2. Extend curiosity toward the other person’s beliefs and boundaries without trying to convince them of your beliefs
3. Clearly state your boundaries and reasoning WITHOUT ANGER or APOLOGY
4. Brainstorm alternative ways to maintain your relationship while respecting each other’s boundaries (**HINT: the person whose boundaries are most restrictive must be followed in order to allow both parties to feel respected). Some questions to ask might be:

  • Do I want all parties I share a meal with to wear masks when not eating, be vaccinated, be within my household?

  • What is my comfort level with virtual means of communicating over the holidays (e.g. phone, video chat, email, text)

5. Discuss what would need to happen to change your boundary with that person (either to a more restrictive boundary or more open boundary)

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