Food for thought Positive thoughts

Setting Boundaries & giving space.

This is a vital aspect in any relationship, to keep boundaries and give space to each other. I mean, specially in a country like Pakistan, where people are diving into other peoples’ businesses, as if it is their own. People think nothing of interfering in other people’s lives. Going into people’s homes and looking into their private spaces, without any remorse.

Our people have a long way to go!

Right time to make boundaries:

So, being in such a society, it is even more important for you to make sure that the first time a person crosses his or her boundaries, you point it out immediately. It is best to make a note the first time. Otherwise, you keep taking interferences and suddenly, one fine day you wake up and start protesting against it. It won’t work if you make a protest when it is a bit late for it. Do it at the right time. The right time is at the beginning. Preferably the first time.

If you think about it, it is your fault. So, be aware of this. People will take their cues from your behavior. If you do not encourage them the first time, they won’t repeat it the next time.

Closing a topic at the right time:

It is the same with conversations. It is up to you to see where the conversation is going. When I find that one topic has been talked about too much, I’ll gently guide our conversation to another topic which is pleasant to both. When it is getting on my nerves, I say so; ‘I don’t feel like talking about this topic any more!’

People can say what they like!

Our typical response of ‘log kiya kaheingay?’ (‘What will people say?’)

My dear, people will say what you will allow them to say! Simple! If you make it clear to them that you do not like to talk about such matters, then they will abide by it. There are very tactful ways to take a conversation to where you both are comfortable.

I’ve literally seen people ruin their entire lives over this. Though if they had taken things into their own control, such things wouldn’t happen. It is a fact that a person will go as far as you will allow them to go.

Behind your back?

There are folks who are worried, what the person will say behind your back. Its their own time and effort. Stop getting bothered about such things.

The Holy Quran has a very powerful verse regarding backbiters, where it is compared to eating the meat of your dead brother! So, just stay away from it, and don’t bother about those who do it.

That is where the boundary comes. You make your own boundary, a border, and you do not allow anyone to walk beyond that point. If they do, you make sure, that you will not waste your time over it.

It applies to your grown up children too:

As far as I’m concerned, I’d not like to interfere in my own grown up children’s lives even. If I feel very strongly about something, I may ask permission and then privately make a statement to them. Then leave it up to the child to decide. I mean, it is all a matter of age.

There is an age when your child is fully dependent on you, and then, you can. But. After eighteen years of age, they are responsible for their own selves. Let them make their own successes and their own mistakes. They will learn from them, as you did from your own mistakes.

It is a matter of live and let live.

Ways to keep people within their boundaries:

Starting with your body language, you need to make things clear to others. If you are giving weightage to other people’s opinions, then they will be airing their opinions. If you don’t bother about these, it won’t matter.

There was a very interesting dialogue in a Pakistani television drama, where the girl says, ‘when people are constantly trying to talk about the drama in your life, they forget to notice the circus in their own lives!’


When people try to pry….

  1. Ask the person a question about something going on in their own lives.
  2. You can just say ‘I’ll let you know when the time comes.’
  3. Smile and walk away.
  4. Keep your cool.
  5. Talk about something else, making it clear, you aren’t going to get drawn into things that are none of their concern.
  6. You can even say, ‘it is my personal problem, I’ll deal with it.’
  7. You can also say that, ‘I’ll ask for your help when I need it.’

Boundaries and space gives more peace:

Believe me, you will be more at peace. Giving space to your immediate family and friends, gives you time and space to do your own thing too. You have more time on your hands to pay more attention to your own work. Your output will improve, and your satisfaction in life will improve too.

Stay blessed! 🙂

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  1. Sehrish Warraich says:

    very well said.
    There is dire need to set boundaries. I always need personal space and I got irritated when my friends go beyond these defined boundaries. Space is requisite for peace of mind

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      Thank you for your comment. Much appreciated.

  2. i just loved every bit of it mam. i guess we all struggle with it. But it’s good to know that now people are learning to talk about it.

  3. Ayesha says:

    How do I keep people from getting physically violent? Esp living in Pakistan where domestic violence isn’t just fine but is praised or taught?

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      The first time it happens, your reaction needs to be such that the person realizes this is his or her last time. Do not take it. Create such an issue of it, (which it is,) that the person wouldn’t dare consider doing it again! Domestic violence is a definite ‘no-no’. If it is a so called ‘normal’ behavior, then it is even more serious. Bring in the elders of the family into it.

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