Boundaries are important for keeping relationships healthy and happy. If you don't feel protected, respected, or listened to, it might be time to examine yours. Here are four boundaries you need if you want to improve your relationships.

1. Protect your time

Time is precious and once it's gone, you can't get it back. It's important that you value your time so that others will as well. If you stop what you're doing every time they text, call, or want to hang out, you're not respecting your own time. When people learn you'll cater to them and their needs, they may take advantage. They will begin to expect you there when it suits them. By not enforcing this boundary, you may find certain people becoming upset when you're not at their beck and call. By not setting this boundary you may find that you have no time for your personal projects, self-care, and even your job. Do you have a needy friend who texts non-stop or calls while you're at work? It's time to put your foot down and tell your friend you can't talk on the phone while at work and that if her texts go unanswered for a while it's because you're working. If other people lack boundaries, it's up to you to enforce them if you want healthy relationships.

2. Make sure you're getting and not just giving

In any healthy relationship, there should be a balance between giving and taking. If you do most of the giving, while the other person does most of the taking, this is an unhealthy relationship. There are going to be times when one person gives or takes more because things aren't always 50/50. You should never keep score, but you will notice when you're the one giving and never being thought of in return. If you're naturally a giving person, it might be difficult for you to start setting boundaries with those close to you. Sometimes we get used to relationships being a certain way that we don't consider that it could be better. Your friend or partner may not realize they're neglecting you, so you want to have a discussion with them before assuming they are being selfish on purpose.

3. Don't tolerate manipulation

Manipulation is a tactic employed by people to get what they want. It's important to remember you're allowed to say "no" to anyone at any time. People don't like to hear it, but some will accept it while others refuse to accept it as a final answer. The ones who refuse to hear "no" are the ones who may resort to manipulation. They will try to guilt you by saying you don't care about them or love them. You will naturally feel bad and want to prove yourself, but giving in is a bad idea. If people learn that manipulation works on you, they'll continue to use it. Remind yourself and others that caring about someone and loving someone doesn't mean you give them what they want constantly.

4. Name-calling and abuse is never okay

If you grew up being called names or being abused, it's something you might be used to. You might not flinch anymore when these things happen, but that doesn't mean they are okay. If you're called names by a friend, family member, or spouse, you must stand up for yourself and make it known it's not acceptable. This is a boundary that no one in your life should ever cross. Someone who loves you will not abuse you in any way.

Boundaries are required in all relationships. Without them, you may find yourself unhappy, disrespected, and not feeling loved.