Get InformedBoundaries How to set them with confidence

Boundaries: How to set them with confidence

19 December 2023

10 questions you can ask yourself in order to feel prepared and confident when setting boundaries.

Confidently setting boundaries or saying “no” can be really uncomfortable at first. It helps immensely to be prepared, confident & sure of the boundary you want to set and the reasons behind it. It’s important to consider your own current stress levels and feelings too. 

Remember, setting boundaries is a form of self care and is integral to forming and maintaining relationships.


10 questions you can ask yourself in order to feel prepared and confident in boundary setting


1. What is the specific boundary I want to set?

Get clear and be concise about the boundary you want to set. Distinguish between temporary boundaries for specific situations and enduring boundaries.

Example: I no longer want to work weekends.


2. Why do I need to set this boundary?

Understand the underlying reasons and motivations behind the boundary. Is it for your well-being, values, self-care or personal growth?

Example: Working weekends means I don’t have time to relax & recharge which affects my mental health.


3. What are the potential consequences of setting this boundary?

Consider how others might react and the impact it may have on your relationship with them.

Example: My employer may be disappointed, I might not get a promotion, or my job might be at risk. 


4. Is this boundary reasonable and fair to all parties involved?

Evaluate whether the boundary is realistic and respectful of the needs and rights of others.

Example: Yes, I am not contractually obligated to work weekends & did not agree to weekend work.


5. Can I communicate my needs and expectations clearly to those involved?

Ensure that the people affected by your boundary are aware of your needs and the reasons behind the boundary.

Example: I intend to write an honest email to management and offer to discuss this further privately, in person at a time that is convenient.


6. Am I prepared to enforce this boundary if necessary?

Consider consequences or actions to uphold the boundary if it is challenged or disregarded.

Example: Yes, my contract of employment will support me legally.


7. Is there room for negotiation or compromise on this boundary?

Consider whether there is flexibility for adjustments or compromises that can satisfy both your needs and the needs of others.

Example: I would consider working at the weekend once every 3 months as a last resort.


8. Am I being consistent in applying this boundary to similar situations?

Ensure that you are not setting arbitrary or inconsistent boundaries, as this can lead to confusion.

Example: Yes, I will not take on any other weekend work.

9. Is the time and place suitable? 

Examine whether the boundary is a response to a genuine need for your wellbeing, rather than a reaction to current mood, discomfort or fear. Consider the timing, the environment and the method you’ll use to communicate the boundary.

Example: I have taken time to consider the reasoning behind this boundary and therefore I am confident I am not being reactive to any frustration I may be feeling. 


10. How will I handle resistance, criticism, or push back from others regarding this boundary?

Explore strategies for managing potential conflict or disagreements that may arise.

Example: I will stay strong in holding my boundary and explain that looking after my mental health, finding balance and avoiding burnout is a priority that will benefit my employer in the long run.


It can be helpful to record your answers to these questions so that you can step away from them for a little while. Doing so allows you time to digest, correct or update your answers before taking steps towards communicating any boundaries. 

In summary, boundaries are really essential for protecting our mental health and overall well-being. They provide a framework for healthy relationships, personal growth, and self-care, and they help us navigate life's challenges with greater resilience and balance. 

Learning to establish and maintain appropriate boundaries is a valuable skill that can significantly enhance our quality of life.

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