How to maintain boundaries when friends become family

As we get older, and our circle of friends shrinks, the ones we do keep into adulthood often become like family to us. New research conducted by the journal Personal Relationships, found that having friends in old age was a better indicator of happiness and health than having strong family connections.

MaintainingBoundariesWhenFriendsBecomeFamily

It’s very easy for friends to become close to your family over time because it turns out that relationships with friends have the same effects as those with family, and sometimes even surpass them.

Not only does have a number of friends matter, but quality matter as well. When you have friends that you can treat like family, there’s no question that’s a quality friendships. But sometimes you want to keep your friends to yourself, even they may be close with your family members.

Here’s how to maintain boundaries when your friends become family:

 

Only bring your friend around family for major events. There's no reason why your friend has to be around your family for every little thing. When you have friends that are like family you'll want them around for major events in a relative's life. But when trying to create boundaries, you may want to only bring them around for the most important events. 

 

RELATED: Three ways to make your sister your best friend

 

Be clear about how you feel. Be clear about how you're feeling and express those feelings to your family. If you don't let them know they are crouching in on your space, they'll never know. In most cases, they are just trying to make your friends feel as welcome as possible but it can be hard to realize that if you are feeling like your friends are being taken away from you. Have a talk with you family and let them know that although they are cool with your friends, they are still YOUR friends. 

Plan things for the two of you. If you want to take back your friendship and get some alone time with your friends, plan something that doesn't include your family. This could also mean just meeting up with them for dinner instead of chilling at your house or bringing anyone else along. 

Lead by example. Your family may not be entirely to blame for the way you feel. Maybe your friends make too much of an effort to include your family on plans that weren't meant for them. And while have friends that are like family is a BLESSING, it's not crazy at all to want them to remain your friends. Lead by example and interact with their families the way you want them to with yours. They'll take the hint and follow suit. 

 

How would you handle your family not respecting your friendships?