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Seven Personal Boundaries


This resource discusses the importance of setting personal boundaries in seven different aspects of life.

Setting and maintaining good personal boundaries involves deciding how to interact with others and sharing your preferences with them. This involves making rules about how you want to be treated physically and mentally. Personal boundaries are a very important set of skills.

It is important to keep in mind that you are in charge of your own body. People should always ask before touching and you have the right to say if you want to be touched as well. If you don’t feel comfortable, excuse yourself from the setting as soon as possible. Always have a plan for when you want to leave an event or outing. Keep in mind that you do not need to talk to another person nor even like everyone that you come in contact with. You can change your personal boundaries at any time.

7 Personal Boundaries:

  1. Physical: physical boundaries include touch (like handshakes and hugs), personal space (your bedroom and bathroom), and other needs such as what you eat and drink.
  2. Emotional: emotional boundaries are limits you place on the energy and the feelings you share in a relationship and/or interaction. Think of what things you feel comfortable sharing with friends, family, and acquaintances.
  3. Sexual: sexual boundaries encompass consent, safety limits, intimate touch, and preferences. Clear communication about your sexual boundaries may include topics such as body parts that are off limits, what sexual activities you are comfortable with, and setting safe words.
  4. Intellectual: intellectual boundaries refer to our thoughts and ideas. Having healthy intellectual boundaries means reciprocal respect for thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, even when there are differing opinions and perspectives.
  5. Time: time boundaries consist of how a person manages and prioritizes their time. It is important for one to set appropriate amounts of time for each area of life (such as relationships, hobbies, and work) and to ponder what your time is worth.
  6. Financial: financial boundaries entail stating your intentions regarding how you use money and how you let money affect relationships. For example, a friend wants to go to the movies and dinner with you, but you can only afford to attend the cheaper matinee show and your friend is available during the evening.
  7. Material: material boundaries refer to your material (physical) possessions such as your personal items, home, and car. Setting healthy limits regarding what you share and with whom is important.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.