Healthy Boundaries Online – Don Charisma’s Opinion

Something that’s become very apparent to me in running this blog is the need for healthy inter-personal boundaries with others whilst online. I don’t always get it right myself, I am human after all. I do often see others making what I think are “mistakes” in regard to what they share publicly and how they interact with me.

Authenticity is a lovely ideal, as is saying exactly what’s on your mind to everyone all the time – that is being completely open and transparent. HOWEVER, obviously not all those in the world mean good towards us, and there’s those that mean harm towards us.

Naivety has a charm, but can be burdensome when we’re having to look after people who’re perfectly capable of looking after themselves – especially when our lives may already be full of prior commitments !

A recent commenter, a new blogger, gave me his full life history (almost) – all of his values, how he feels on a a lot of things, a telephone number and email address in one comment. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this type of “speech” in a comment, and alarm bells ring every-time it happens. It’s a little socially uncalibrated, and comes across a little “weird”. I could see he was new online, so had to establish some boundaries with him, for the good of both of us actually. I wasn’t rude, but was very firm about it.

My experience is that if I’m not firm that people often just worm their way around boundaries, so boundaries NEED firmness, usually hostility isn’t required. If hostility is required to enforce a boundary, then I’d SERIOUSLY question the person’s suitability as someone I want to continue interacting with.

Anyway, luckily, most people are cool, and respect other’s boundaries.

Boundaries and taking time to get to know people aren’t “abnormal”, they are rather the opposite actually, more normal. It doesn’t mean people are “dishonest” or “lying”, just that trust takes time to establish. AND we do need our “space”/”privacy” and to be able to “feel safe” in what we do or do not disclose.

I actually I do like when people are enforcing their boundaries with me, and respecting mine. Each one in the relationship is taking responsibility for themselves. OR put another way they’re carrying their own weight and I’m not having to “look after” them, and vice versa – we’re treating each other as EQUALS.

Of course I do often inadvertently step over other’s boundaries too. I have a friend who works very hard, extremely long hours and I have on occasion sent him long emails. He’s pretty polite, just indicated that I could be being more “concise”. So that’s more how I interact with him now.

So there’s give and take too – not just blaming other people or getting annoyed. The healthy well balanced adult way to set a boundary, is to simply to state or indicate what we don’t want going on. Normal well balanced adults will generally respond positively. Simply ignoring people can work without stating what the boundary was, but it’s potentially a bit final and doesn’t really help the other person learn anything. Anyway, the situation and context would dictate what’s best.

I’ve had to implement rules, disclaimers and such on the blog. This is because some people just don’t get that they are doing anything wrong, in stepping over what most would consider ordinary boundaries. Some of those probably have personality disorders, but in other cases it seems people will just take and take, if they’re not told.

Boundaries – what do you feel about them ? What do you feel about other’s boundaries or lack thereof ?


Don Charisma

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Notes for commenters:

Don Charisma Warning Improvised Writing

Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button. 

Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.

I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.

Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.


The Don Charisma Team

77 thoughts on “Healthy Boundaries Online – Don Charisma’s Opinion

  1. Blog life is like another personality and you have to disconnect yourself from it. But, on a very rare occasion you can find a friend from around the world. But, it’s all about using your head and being safe. Love this post!

  2. We are treated and given information as we allow it.. I think this is a great read about how to be firm in implementing our own boundaries.
    I tend to operate on the treat how I’d like to be treated premise.. Although I’m a very open and forward person, I do recognize this, so try to keep this in mind and take cues from my audience as to what’s appropriate.
    Thank you for the informative (and reminding) article 🙂

    1. You’re welcome and yes totally on the “treat how I’d like to be treated premise” … however ! … other’s can see this as a weakness or an opportunity … which is why we need to be firm in a lot of cases too 😀

      1. I didn’t say not to still be aware while practicing this premise 🙂
        I think that this “vulnerability” is a strength, not a weakness.. It takes strength and self awareness to be direct and put yourself out there and “treat how we’d like to be treated”; but certainly be cognitive of the possible outcomes and effects…
        But yes, by certainly being firm with our own comfort levels and boundaries; we need to be…
        My two cents…

      2. I didn’t say you did … did I ?

        Thinking “vulnerability” is a strength, doesn’t make others think it is … whilst I agree that it is a strength, my point is to balance wisdom with kindness, closeness with openness and vulnerability with invulnerability. Polarisation in one extreme or the other is rarely applicable to every situation. AND no I didn’t say that you said it was the opposite.

        Just my two cents

      3. Forgive me, I wasn’t being combative, just expressing a viewpoint.
        Perception is key, it is absolutely a delicate balance, I wholeheartedly agree.
        I love how you make people think with your topics..
        Keep on, keeping on 🙂

      4. It’s ok for me, don’t worry … I’m generally pretty relaxed in what I write, sometimes I need to be firm when I think someone’s taken it the wrong way … boundaries LOL Doh !

        Thanks hun, do my best to write about what interests me, and hope that others will connect too 😀

  3. I read that most healthy human interaction involves a 1:1 exchange ratio of personal information. I’ve at times had to remind myself this in-conversation. I think a great many people would do well with regular psychiatric visits. If only many of them wouldn’t feel stigmatized for that, and if only it were more affordable…

  4. Boundaries are important no doubt. It’s important to understand different people’s comfort levels, like, some people can be very candid and outspoken (I am), but at the same time if that’s NOT someone else’s style, they should be respected, not grilled or pressured to cross their own bounds.

    And putting phone numbers or home addresses out publicly is just a bad idea all round.

    1. So boundaries by negotiation … very much … and I figured the guy was either just “new” or other issues, was trying to help by laying boundaries for him, although he never replied …

  5. BOUDARIES are established years ago by our mentors and family,,,I would also call them rules laws. .A person who goes a hundred 20 miles ph down the freeway will find out limits and boundaries of men. A person who is any kind of an addict, will show the tendencies not to follow most boundaries.

  6. I think that those who cross over boundaries may have been spoiled as children. I see examples of this all the time where parents give in to tantrums and misbehavior simply for them to have peace. This is a short-term benefit and reinforces behavior that has life-long implications.

    1. Well that’s children who had a “good ride”, being spoiled probably feels good … lest we not forget those who were abused as children and not allowed to have boundaries, this for me is much more saddening 😀

      Could be argued that spoiling is a king of abuse though I guess !

  7. Strong personalities attract weak personalities; and while there’s something noble about protecting a weaker member of the species, when the needier individual starts believing they can’t function without you, you’ve got the makings of a horror movie. I am currently distancing myself from someone who insisted I call once a day. It then became morning and evening, then multiple times a day. She is always in crisis. When I had my own personal crisis (death of my husband) ,she wailed that she hadn’t had a bubble bath in months. I own the responsibility of allowing it to get so out of hand. I did call for the first time in a week, and stayed on the phone for less than five minutes. She was irate at my lack of attention. From now on, she just gets short notes in the mail. If only she weren’t family…

    I enjoy your blog. Have a blessed year!

  8. Boundaries are something which needs to be kept in mind especially when you are online. As some of the others have said, you never really know what kind of people are interacting with you online so lack of proximity initially is natural and it is beneficial for everyone. Obviously, it takes time to build trust.

  9. I think this is a great post and agree i think that because people cant see you or because your online then there seem to be no boundaries or rules but there does need to be and this is very well put across!

  10. I’ve known boundaries, lots of them. When I was a child my parents would walk me to the gate in our front yard, open it and push me out. “Go play in traffic or something . . . But get the hell out”
    When I was older, I met this pretty girl and went to house to visit her. Her father walked me to the gate in his front yard . . . “Keep your raggedy ass on the other side of this fence son . . .”
    Oh, you didn’t mean these kind of boundaries? “Sorry, I will close the gate behind me . . .

  11. Those who comment on my blog are a very civilised bunch…varied interests, varied backgrounds, but all with manners. Most of the blogs I follow give some glimpses into the blogger’s life – as does mine – but there is no sense of intrusion or being intruded upon.

    However, having stalkers makes you very aware of what you put on the blog….I have three from my husband’s family who like to devour his life by stealth rather than doing the normal thing and contacting him directly as would any normal family member. So I am aware of their eye through the keyhole and blog accordingly.

    1. Mirrors my experience in the main Helen, generally good hearted bunch of commenters !

      And yes I hadn’t really thought about the stalkerish who’re operating “under the radar” …

  12. Excellent post. I’m pretty new to blogging and so don’t get a lot of comments, but before I even started I made a comment policy. People will trample all over your boundaries face to face if you allow it and it is so much more prevalent online. Kind firmness is always the preference in enforcing boundaries, unless of course their behavior becomes bullying or stalkerish. Thanks for so thoughtfully bringing attention to a sometime problem.

  13. I always learn new words by your posts so thank you! Um… boundaries, uh? I have many problems with that all my life. In general, my experience is that people don’t respect your boundaries (in a bad way, I mean, not because they are gentile or innocent), but I think this is because they have other problems and they try to hurt you when only they are reflecting their problems… When people don’t respect boundaries in a good way, I only can appreciate a detail and try to become them less vulnerable over time.

  14. Excellent post, Don. Unfortunately we are raising a generation of kids who seem to know no boundaries – between facebook, selfies, texting, tweeting, and sexting there seem to be none. Of course this comes back to haunt them at some point in time. I’m glad you brought up this topic. It can’t be emphasized enough. Sigh.

  15. Great post! We all open to one another at different speeds so setting boundaries gives each person the feeling of safety in a relationship, and the need for safety in online interactions is so important. As someone above says, you don’t know who’s really behind the screen, so exercising smart caution is necessary. Also, I think boundaries create truthful interactions and so allow the space for deeper interactions…Thanks for posting!!

  16. Mr. Charisma your opinion is valid and appreciated. Boundaries upon any of our creations are valid. Setting boundaries teaches people how to treat us. I have a few myself. Good post, thks!

  17. This is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of Facebook and do not have a personal account. People share way too much information on that site. The first word that comes to mind is BOUNDARIES people!

  18. I think it is important to not only establish personal boundaries but also standards of behavior. If you would not say it to someone’s face in the line at Dunkin Donuts DO NOT say it online. It will come back to bite you on your rumpus.

    1. Agreed, in principle very much, and how I generally try to be … however you know how people are when they don’t have to take responsibility hiding behind a fake account … the inner demon comes out !

  19. Well said Don – without boundaries we invite complication. It’s not fair on us or the engaging party. Part of being authentic is setting those boundaries. 😉

  20. Good one Don. We all have varying degrees of authenticity. I think we all have varying degrees of boundaries too and are at different levels of what we do or do not know or understand about human interaction – both online and off. I do SUPPOSE one of the things that matters is the persons willingness to learn and adapt to the lessons as relationships progress. They do say though – forewarned is forearmed… you have done a good job of laying down the foundations here. 😀

  21. We all need boundaies, it’s so important… None of us really know who we are talking to so it takes time to establish trust, whether this person you are sharing an exchange with, is genuine enough…

  22. Hey there! I think they are enormously important, especially online. I mean everyone is different and thus will be comfortable with varying levels of boundaries. In any case, whether you agree with how they conduct themselves or not, respecting their boundaries is important. Just keep in mind your own, and don’t be afraid to say no. Great post! Re-blogging if that’s ok! 😉

  23. You are so right in this. The fact of the matter is, that we simply don’t know who is behind the screen and to give away our most personal information can be misused, especially if it is a minor. Thank you so much for posting this. Not everyone is internet savvy.

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