All About Setting Boundaries With Others

All About Setting Boundaries With Others

How do you go about setting boundaries with others? 

The first way to do this is to listen to what our physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts tell us. 

Then, one can use "I feel" statements. 

Also, be sure to acknowledge others' needs. 

Keep reading to see these tips, learn more about types of boundaries, and more!

Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

(719) 345-2424
Donna Janiec, LPC, NCC

Donna Janiec, LPC, NCC

(719) 345-2424
Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Rodney Collins, LMFT

Rodney Collins, LMFT

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Seth Boughton, SWC

Seth Boughton, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424

Deciding to Set Boundaries

First, what are boundaries? 

They are limits we set around our time and energy. 

We want others to behave toward us in a certain way, and we also want physical and emotional safety. As people, we need to be respected and valued through boundaries. 

They enhance our relationships not only with ourselves but with others, too. 

Maybe someone in your life said something that sat unwell. Did you notice that your hands were sweaty after talking to that person, or that your heart rate went up? 

Also, evaluate your thought content. Are those thoughts positive or negative? 

If you don't like the thoughts, then setting boundaries with others is in order. You need to take care of yourself, and this is one way to do it! 

Don't forget it's normal to feel anxious when completing this task; you are not alone! 

Boundary setting can really make for difficult conversations, particularly with an employer, friends, and family. 

However, it will cause both parties to take responsibility for their actions.

Types of Boundaries

There are five different types of boundaries: emotional, financial, intellectual, physical and sexual. 

Emotional refers to someone's feelings. 

People may prefer to gradually share their feelings overtime with partners or friends, as opposed to sharing everything at once. 

Then there's setting boundaries with others in the financial sense. 

That means you may decide against loaning money to a friend who wants it, especially if you're concerned about them paying you back quickly. 

Intellectual boundaries have to do with beliefs and thoughts. 

If one's opinions and/or ideas are dismissed, then their intellectual boundaries have been violated. 

Physical boundaries refer to one's body, privacy and personal space. 

One person may not want to be touched, while another is okay with hand-holding, hugs and even kisses in public.

Misunderstandings & Boundary Enforcement

It happens: you spoke to someone about your boundaries, and you feel a line has been crossed yet again. 

You determine it's a mistake. 

What it is best to do is to be more specific, clear and direct. 

Break it down if you need to, as you sometimes need to do this with setting boundaries with others. 

One example is with a friend who texts you to say they're coming over, then shows up. 

They haven't received an "okay" response from you, but still assume their arrival is appropriate. 

Make it clear that they need a response from you first before they hop in their car and zoom over. 

In some cases, though, people will disregard what you ask them because they only care about their own agenda. 

They do not care about you setting boundaries with others. 

When this happens, tell the person you were clear with them and that you are disappointed. 

An example is when someone has told someone something when you asked them not to repeat it. 

You have already reminded them, yet they've crossed the boundary again. 

Simply tell the person that, in the future, you won't share certain information with them because of what happened. 

Whether the person purposefully violated boundaries or not, it's important to stay calm during the conversation for an effective outcome.

Now, let's get one super relevant boundary issue out of the way: social media. 

Many of us are concerned that friends and family will post pictures or information that we want kept private. 

Communication With Others

This includes social media, text, or otherwise.

Making it clear to the other person that one has seen their messages and will get back to them with a more thorough response is a great idea to practice setting boundaries with others.

If it comes down to it, put as much distance as you can between you and the person crossing your boundaries.

During this article, have you noticed that other people have said things to you relating to this topic?

It's okay to ask someone about their boundaries, as it shows you care about them and overall setting boundaries with others.

This can have to do with movie choices, when it's a convenient time to contact them, or like mentioned before, social media posts that may involve their pictures.

If boundary violation occurs, then people may withdraw.

"I feel" Statements

Ultimately, using these types of statements shows that one takes responsibility for their feelings and setting boundaries with others. 

Using "I feel" also is respectful towards the other person. 

Be sure to acknowledge the other party's needs, too, to create mutual understanding between you both. 

If you are worried about boundaries being crossed any further, then make it clear what will occur if that happens. 

By doing this, you will communicate that your limits are extremely important.

One example of when you can use "I feel" is with family. 

Setting boundaries with others, particularly family, can be tough. 

Many of us live with them, making frequent communication inevitable. 

A common situation is when a parent, sibling, etc tell another family member about a past event or incident that affected you. 

You may find it triggering, and want them to stop discussing it. 

You may say "I feel embarrassed when you discuss [insert event/incident here] with other family." 


The bottom line is to pay attention to what you, as a person, need. 

You need to come first in your life, and avoid unfavorable feelings by setting boundaries with others

It's important for one to listen to themselves, as well as others to learn about their own and others' boundaries. 

One does not want to be left feeling bullied, unappreciated, or devalued through lack of boundary enforcement.


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April 17th, 2024

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