Boundaries with Acquaintances

Remember that boundaries are personal rules. They help you to feel safe and comfortable in a relationship. It is healthy to have boundaries with acquaintances.

You will usually have more boundaries with acquaintances than you do with people who are friends or family.

Here are some common boundaries

Hugging and other touching

Acquaintances usually don’t hug very often or have other affectionate touch, especially not sexual touch. Acquaintances will shake hands, and maybe give a pat on the back, a high five, or a fist bump. But other touch isn’t usually done with acquaintances.


Borrowing or lending money

Your money is your money and you get to decide how to use it. You should not be giving or taking money from acquaintances, coworkers, strangers, or staff. If someone like this asks you for money, talk to someone you trust about this first.


Borrowing or lending things

Just like with money, your things belong to you. Other people’s things belong to them. You should be careful when lending or borrowing things from acquaintances, strangers, or staff. Lending a book or a DVD can be a way to share something in common and get to know someone better. But if something is very important to you and you would be sad if it got lost, damaged, or stolen, then it might be risky to let someone borrow it.



Secrets are conversations that are supposed to be kept private and not told to others. Sometimes people talk to someone they trust and don’t want everyone else to know about it. Sometimes secrets are happy things, like planning a surprise party, or getting a new job that you aren’t ready to tell everyone about. Sometimes secrets are sad or upsetting things. You should not share secrets with acquaintances or strangers.


Reading other people’s mail or e-mail

The things people get in the mail, like letters, bills, and documents, are their private property. You should not open or read someone’s mail unless they ask for help or assistance. If you get mail addressed to you, it is your property. If you need help reading your mail or deciding what to do with it, you can ask someone you trust to help you. E-mail is also private that someone gets that is just for them. You should not share mail or email with acquaintances or strangers.


Personal space

Personal Space is the amount of space you like to have between yourself and another person. Different people have different needs for personal space. People usually like to have more space between co-workers, acquaintances, or staff. They don’t stand or sit very close or hug. You can tell someone that you want more personal space. Or you can move or back away from them politely. If someone wants more personal space from you, do not be upset about this. It is just their preference. You can move back a step or two.


Talking about Personal Problems

Everyone has personal things that are going on in their life. It can be helpful to talk about your personal life with someone you trust. It can also be exciting to share your personal life with other people when something good is happening. Acquaintances and coworkers don’t usually share details about their personal lives with each other. You might mention just basic information with these people, but you don’t go into detail about private information. For example, you don’t usually talk about problems with your digestive system or sex life with acquaintances or coworkers.


Social Media

You should also have boundaries with people on social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.