Boundaries help us define our limits, protect our privacy, and foster emotional health. We need them to maintain family harmony as well as our friendships.
Regardless, many of us feel obligated to remain available to others, 24/7.
When I was a young mom, for instance, I worried that I'd appear selfish if I didn't provide free child care, editorial service, taxi service, or crisis intervention for everyone who had my phone number. I was a people-pleaser, and my boundaries were flimsy. I learned the hard way that being a nice person, a loving parent, a good friend, and a team player didn't mean that I had to leave the door open for everyone at all times. It took a while, but I discovered that the roof didn't collapse when I said no.
I also discovered that living out loud -- on social media -- makes it twice as hard to establish boundaries.
Back when I used Facebook and Twitter, I fell into a compulsive pattern of posting updates on where I'd been, what I'd eaten, movies I'd seen, people I'd spent time with, or what I was thinking at any given moment. I did so because everyone else was doing the same thing, and I believed that having a social media "presence" was expected of me. Likewise, I felt obligated to check (and answer) my email every half hour.