I was in London today, having some training in professional boundaries. Boundaries are those rules and conventions which professionals like myself maintain. Things like not accepting phone calls from clients outside work hours, not mixing up work and politics, not lending money to clients are all boundaries.
Beginning the training, the facilitator asked us to offer examples of boundaries that we encounter in everyday life. I offered up the example of requiring shoes-off in homes.
Having a shoes-off rule is an important boundary; it marks out the fact that the home is the owner's private space and that it must be respected. One cannot expect to enter another person's home without taking into account the wishes and preferences of the person living there, however welcoming they may be.