How do I establish boundaries with a match before the first date?

Sakshi Tickoo

Sakshi Tickoo (she/her)

Occupational Therapist Instagram

Boundaries in the Indian context are seldom taught or spoken about. So, it’s a good thing that you are already thinking about it even before your first date. For starters, you can gather a lot about your match based on how the conversation goes and whether you feel safe meeting them in person.

Speaking of, a good practice while setting up/editing your dating profile would be to honestly spell out what you’re looking for, your preferences, and your dislikes to some extent. This is a small first step you can take to set the premise for your future matches. 

The next space where you can assert boundaries is when you match with someone. Let’s say you do not want the person to continuously talk about your physical appearance or comment on it, or comment about your profession, or just make some stereotypical assumptions about where you’re from, and so on – do let them know. You could say something like, “Hey, this wasn’t cool and I’m not okay with this.” Even a simple statement like that can be really powerful to assert your boundary.

When it comes to planning your meet IRL, you could also set boundaries around where you want to meet, how long you want to meet, how physical you want to get or not get, and what your triggers are. You could also hold space for them to share what their boundaries are so that the communication is mutual.

Please remember that boundaries aren’t just physical – people may cross boundaries even while sitting miles apart. Hence, establishing boundaries is central to healthy dating and relationships.