We have different kinds of relationships in life; family, marital, sexual, friendships, but they all share something in common.
Relationships are defined by boundaries and no matter how arbitrary or obscure, these lines help define the acceptable behavior for every relationship. Sometimes these lines blur when a friend becomes a brother or when a mother becomes a friend, but that does not preclude the existence of such limits. Friendship work the same way. No matter how close our friends are, we have to hide certain facets of our lives from them either due to compulsion or because it’s simply the wiser choice. What boundaries should exist for healthy friendships?
To married people out there; it is not right to talk to your friends about every little spat you have in your marriage. It is better to attempt to solve issues with your spouse before bringing in a third person. You may feel that she/he is your closest friend and is entitled to know your struggles, but that does not take your partner’s feelings into account. It’s even worse if you complain to your friend before telling your spouse; this amounts to a breach of trust, and may create an atmosphere of blame and mistrust in your marriage. There are times when you need to bring a third party in to help resolve issues, but this should be carefully orchestrated to ensure equanimity in consent between both you and your spouse.
Breach of Confidences
As a human being, you are exposed to multiple circles of people – from work, school, travel – these people may sometimes be vulnerable enough to share secrets with you. When people divulge intimate details in confidence, it is expected that such secrets remain with you. Lawyers and doctors swear ethical oaths that bind them to keep clients’ secrets. In this case, you are bound by the sharer’s trust and should not divulge details to your friend under the veneer of ‘keeping up’ or ‘conversational banter’. There is no acceptable excuse to share secrets even if you are all friends, it really boils down to you being a gossip.
Decorum and Basic Etiquette
Would you let your friend be naked in front of your spouse? Would you allow certain flirtatious behavior? Would you let certain physical demonstrations of love that should be restricted to partners, be expressed by your friends? There should be boundaries on how a friend behaves in front of your partner otherwise you’ll end up losing your spouse and your best friend. Before you know it, they’ve started a new relationship and you’re missing in the picture.
Yes, you have the closest friends and yes, you love them dearly, but do they really need to know every little detail of your life? We all have immature thoughts and opinions, we should guard those thoughts jealously and allow them to grow inside us before sharing them with the world. Do you have feelings for someone, but are just not ready to talk about it? It’s ok. Your friend is not entitled to know every minuscule detail of your life. Boundaries exist for a reason. People’s opinions of others are fickle and judgmental; there are opinions/experiences you once had that should never be shared (or else you want it to be the topic of discussion for every reunion).