We often speak about boundaries and how important they are in establishing. Sometimes we need to set expectations in our relationships, or at work. Sometimes we need to set boundaries when it comes to saying no, or when we realize that we are not being treated in a way that is respectful.
Clients will often talk about knowing that they need to set boundaries, but struggle with how to say it. This post is all about the how; following are examples of what boundaries can sound like:
“I am not sure that I can commit to that right now. Let me look at my schedule and I will follow up.”
“Let me think about it and get back to you.” – Do you have the time, support and energy to help out? If you do, great. If you don’t follow up with a decline.
“I’m afraid I can’t say yes this time. Keep me in mind for the next time around.”
“I won’t be able to make it this time.” – We don’t always need an explanation as to why, however including one is fine too.
“If you can’t speak to me without (yelling, calling me names), then I am going to end this conversation.” – Then end it.
“I can understand that you’re angry, but I won’t be yelled at.” – Then walk away, or end the phone conversation.
“If you text me, I will text back at a time that works best for me.” – If someone in your life continues to incessantly text, or get angry with you if you don’t answer their text immediately, your boundary may have to be more direct:
“If you continue to disrespect what I have asked, I will block your number.” – Then follow through.
“I would appreciate you not bringing this up anymore.”
“I am going to take some space from this issue. There is no more to discuss.” – If the person continues to try and argue the point, no need to respond.
These are just some examples of what boundaries sound like. A key point to remember is that we need to “reward the effort, not the outcome” as we can set the boundary but not be met with compliance. That is why follow through is so important. Setting boundaries is a wonderful way that we can work from the position of “I am important and so are you,” as we are recognizing our own needs while delivering our expectation in a calm way. Practice, practice, practice. You will be happy you did 🙂
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