Figuring out where to set boundaries and knowing how to set them can be challenging. I recently interviewed
(By the way, the photo to the left is of me and my dear friend and colleague, Joe Sanok. He actually has very good boundaries but I think it’s such a great picture.)
Restate Your Boundary
Another option is to confront the person. Maybe they misunderstood you initially. Maybe your boundary was vague or indirect. That’s why Hanks suggested restating your boundary.
She shared these examples of clear-cut boundaries:
“Maybe I wasn’t clear. I am not interested in hearing you complain about our mutual friend John. I want to feel free to be friends with both of you.”
“I hear that you really need help; however, I’m not available to meet your request.”
“I’ve asked you the last few nights but maybe I wasn’t clear. If you have friends over past 10:30 p.m., you’ll need to take the party downstairs so I can go to bed. I have to get up early in the morning for work.”
State your boundary in a positive way.
That is, state what you want, instead of what you don’t want, said Hanks, author of The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women. “Instead of ‘don’t talk to me like that!’ say, “I want you to speak to me in a respectful and calm way.” Another example is: “If you have a problem with the quality of my work, please come directly to me to address the problem.”
In the above example with the overreacting boss, according to Morrison, you might say: “I hear what you are saying, but I would appreciate it if you would talk to me in a respectful tone.”
When your mom asks you about your relationship, she said, you might reply: “I know you are worried about my relationship and my future, but I want you to trust that I can make healthy decisions on my own.”