Understanding Boundaries

The beginning of a new shared living arrangement can feel a little awkward for all people. Establishing boundaries can significantly help feel everyone feel at ease.

Personal boundaries are the way we express what is okay and not okay with us. Understanding and establishing boundaries are important to feeling comfortable in a shared living arrangement.

Types of boundaries

Physical: with whom and in what ways you are willing to have contact, as well as closeness of contact
Mental and spiritual: what opinions and preferences you have, and what you believe in
Emotional: how open you are willing to be about what you think and feel
Sharing: what you are willing to give or share (time, energy, things, resources)


One of the most effective ways Hosts and Guests can foster an enjoyable shared living arrangement is to clearly understand what makes each person feel uncomfortable or stressed. If you begin feeling uncomfortable or stressed, it may mean that you are approaching the line between what is okay and what is not okay. Self-awareness and self-respect are vital to maintaining healthy boundaries.

You have the right:
1. To your own needs and values
2. To be treated respectfully
3. To say no without feeling guilty

Setting boundaries

If you have little experience with boundary-setting, the idea of setting and maintaining boundaries now can feel overwhelming. Thus, you may wish to start practicing early (well before any resentment forms) with the little things (things that only mildly bother you) and then keep practicing so you’re ready if a more important concern arises. Keep in mind that while setting limits with others may feel stressful and awkward for a brief time, doing so leads to a much healthier relationship in the long term.

Tip: Start with establishing Sharing boundaries, after you develop more of a connection you will feel more comfortable to discuss more in-depth boundaries.