Whenever I meet someone new, male or female, I remember my “ideal relationship” list — my list for a partner also represents most of the things I would like in my friendships. When I’m deciding whether I want someone to be my friend, I think of the things on my list that are most important to me, and where I’m willing to compromise.

“Respects my boundaries” should be at the top of my list for any relationship, and when I meet someone new, I pay attention to the signals that show me if they have this quality. I may set boundaries as simple as, “Please don’t call after eight o’clock” or, “I can’t see you tomorrow because I have other plans” or, “I don’t feel comfortable inviting you over yet.”

If these simple boundaries are ignored, I will let the relationship go, knowing that once someone ignores simple boundaries, they will most likely ignore the more important ones. Better to get out now than to repeat past mistakes.

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