The Ultimate Guide To Strong Relationship Boundaries
This week I have been working with my clients to help set healthy personal and relationship boundaries.
This means elevating the way that we view ourselves in advance of setting new standards on how we are treated by friends, family and colleagues.
This is a huge topic and one that guarantees to change your life.
I have included the following:
- Why setting strong boundaries is imperative for your mental wellbeing
- The pitfalls that can befall you when you do not set boundaries in your life
- How to overcome any existing fears over setting new personal boundaries
I have also shared some personal stories of times in my life when I have plucked up the courage to set new boundaries and included the full ramifications of my actions.
This will help you comprehend how to secure similar results by following my lead in your own life.
“No is a complete sentence.” Annie Lamott
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say No to almost everything.” Warren Buffett
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown
“Being a nice person is about courtesy: you’re friendly, polite, agreeable, and accommodating. When people believe they have to be nice in order to give, they fail to set boundaries, rarely say no, and become pushovers, letting others walk all over them.” Adam Grant
What are personal boundaries?
Personal boundaries are internal rules we have that informs the external world on how to engage with us as a person.
All personal boundaries should have a limit.
Therefore if someone crosses over the threshold, there needs to be some kind of consequence.
Family personal boundaries
For example, I recall a telephone conversation with a particular family member where I mentioned that I was going to work with another coach.
A person I respected, yet who also happened to be someone my family member did not respect or even like.
This incited an instant reaction from them that I needed to be careful about who I invite into my life.
At this stage of my career development, I had just hosted a course on the differences between being opinionated, judgemental and objective.
So I knew that I was on the receiving end of an ill-informed and unwanted opinion.
I am sure they had my best interest at heart. Yet their previous life experience was attempting to ruin the excitement and enjoyment that I was feeling.
So taking a deep breath, I explained that they were being opinionated in a manner that I had not invited and, besides, their judgment was ill-informed.
The line went quiet and I got that usual response you tend to get when you set new boundaries whilst also educating someone; “No I am not, I am speaking from life experience.”
For me, I would happily take advice from someone who is living the life I desire and whose opinion I have asked for on a topic – as opposed to during a normal catch up conversation.
Therefore I chose to instil this new boundary and ended the call. It took three months for this particular family member to call me again.
Setting boundaries with silence
Of course, I did not answer and waited for them to call once more.
The power of silence has the effect of both strengthening and supporting the power of a new boundary.
When we spoke from that point on there was a renewed level of respect for my opinion and my personal boundary.
I have included the infographic below which will help you to take ownership of your life.
I recommend you also read my personal responsibility article to learn more about how to strengthen your own mindset.
Why are boundaries good for you?
Boundaries are good for us because they enable us to take control of our mental well-being.
In essence, they permit us to stay within our comfort zone, remain calm and not be influenced by other people’s actions.
- Eject ourselves from stressful situations
- Prevent us from feeling overwhelmed
- Avoid becoming embroiled in other people’s problems
When I first set up my company, Social Attraction, I attempted to host many different dating confidence courses for men.
Yet I did not know how to market my business and often what I tried failed miserably.
Boundaries with friends
What I did not know at the time was that a Whatsapp group existed of my friends and also one of my family members.
During a catch up with one friend, he showed me the messages from this family member ridiculing and mocking me to my friends.
At the time, I was young and naive enough to think that this person was supporting me in life. Yet my eyes were subsequently opened with immediate effect.
I decided to call the family member in question while remaining aware that I could not mention any names as it would not be fair to drop my friend in the firing line.
So I called, let loose, and pointed out that his actions were not acceptable. I got the response I was expecting – absolute denial;
“Where is your evidence? I have never done that!” to which I replied; “Great. If that is the case then I will not need to call you again to have this conversation.”
Again, I ended the call. This time it took three years for the other person to call me again.
Boundaries with negative people
Perfect, as this gave me the time to recognise the negative effect this individual was having in my life.
Additionally, it gave me the opportunity to install a new boundary where they were not able to get close to me again.
Setting new boundaries may bring up emotional trauma from your past; if you feel that this is likely then take a look at my infographic below for guidance on how to help manage this.
You can also read my full meditation guide.
What healthy boundaries look like
A healthy boundary is a standard that helps everyone involved to know where they stand in any given situation.
It lets us signify how we would like to be treated, which has the effect of making us feel calm about entering into new or existing situations.
As a coach, I have huge respect for my clients: Individuals who put their money where their mouth is and invest in improving the quality of their life.
I have huge empathy and I want to help where I can.
The issue for me over the years is that I tend to get too close to my clients and lose the professional boundary.
To counter this and retain my emotional well-being I have introduced some boundaries into my coaching sessions.
One prominent boundary is that I now have 45-minute coaching sessions instead of 60-minutes.
I find that, in this smaller window, we stay more focused and cover more ground.
Also, I used to have a group WhatsApp chat for client support, however, the issue was that I was too available.
Additionally, my clients struggled to stand on their own feet as they had too much support.
In point of fact, these are both examples of where having a boundary is healthy for everyone involved.
It can be helpful to remember that the action of setting boundaries does not always just benefit you; it should also benefit the people around you.
Incidentally, if you want to know more about my dating confidence courses then take a look at the infographic below which details a few of the conversational principles we teach at Social Attraction.
You can also read my how to talk to women guide to learn more about how to apply these points into your own dating interactions with women.
How to set healthy boundaries
The best way to set healthy boundaries is to know your worth in any given situation in advance.
Then to assess how you can communicate your boundary when someone steps over the line.
When you demonstrate your strong boundary with authority you generate instant high esteem.
I have two related stories here outlining how to best communicate your set boundaries and gain respect.
Boundaries for self-respect
A few years ago, I was hired by PepsiCo to teach their international sales team how to sell a new drink that they had acquired – a version of Kombucha tea.
Initially, they had to pay me by a certain date to book me for the event. Yet, the payment date was missed so I went ahead and booked my holiday to the South of Spain.
The organiser then came back to me, but it was too late for me to automatically agree to the event.
However, I found myself in a strong position to negotiate a better rate as well as request that they put me up in a hotel the night before the event so I could fly straight there.
This is a great example that highlights the power of negotiation skills.
When the other person comes back to the table it is always in your favour; still, you want to make sure that any new terms that are agreed upon benefit you more in some way.
Boundaries for professionals
The second aspect of this story relates to when I speak in public – I always state that “Questions should be asked at the end of each segment.”
The reason for this boundary is so that interruptions from the audience do not ruin my flow.
So the head honcho for PepsiCo’s European team (the main man) proceeds to shout out a question while I am mid-conversation in front of 40 of his staff.
I am in no doubt that everyone else in the room would have consented to answer, yet not me.
I am a professional speaker and, while I am speaking, you are in my world where I am top of the hierarchy.
Consequently, I responded by raising my hand, very matter of fact, and affirmed; “Questions at the end.“
Boom. I had the room in the palm of my hand and it felt great.
Boundaries and self-worth
Knowing your worth and having the ability to present yourself confidently are qualities that will prove useful to you in all areas of life.
To illustrate this, take a look at my infographic below to see five different ways where you can implement this outlook to improve your dating world.
You should also read my how to stop being the nice guy article.
Setting boundaries in our life is not always a clear-cut action. And, furthermore, the requirement for it is not always easily visible to us.
An experience one of my clients had recently shone the spotlight on this ambiguity.
He is an online English tutor and we are working on launching a spirituality website and podcast to allow him to become a full-time life coach.
A man claiming to be ‘an entrepreneur’ got in touch with him. This man asserted to my client that a one hour English lesson gives him one hour’s less sleep.
He also requested a proposal of what each lesson would look like for the year for himself and his staff.
Now STOP for a moment because this is crucial.
This entrepreneur may well have been at the top of his hierarchy in his business but, importantly, he was not at that same summit with my client.
What was happening here was that, because the entrepreneur has money, he thinks that he can say and do what he wants and that people will jump because of his wealth.
This may be true for the weak-willed individuals in the world, but it is not true for my clients.
This was a perfect opportunity to set a personal and professional boundary and to feel good doing it.
I will stress here that setting a new boundary can be liberating, especially when dealing with an overbearing self-proclaimed God…
I told my client that his qualifications and his 1000+ 5 star reviews were his CV and also pointed out that he was not getting paid to write this proposal.
Accordingly, we decided that the best course of action was to simply give a polite “no”.
Then to specify that “everything you need is online and you need to do your own research.“
This is where the magic happens.
When you do this, the feeling of adulation is so great that you will not care whether you get the work or not.
In fact, if you do not get the work, the new level of self-worth will redirect your life in a new direction.
Keeping behind the boundary
If it was me in this situation, then I would turn down his work as I can perceive that this man’s mentality does not make for a harmonious working environment.
Unquestionably, this is always something to consider when inviting any person into your life, including a life partner.
In my infographic below you will find five principles that are worth reflecting on if you want to change your dating life for the better.
You can also read my how to attract women full article for more information.
Setting boundaries in relationships
On my dating confidence courses, the importance of setting boundaries and respecting someone else’s boundaries is a key underlying principle that I teach.
I always advocate doing this right from the start of any incipient relationship. It frames it the right way and, moreover, helps promote the longevity of the relationship.
Another of my clients is having serious relationship issues. Issues that directly relate to his insufficiency to maintain his own personal boundary with his girlfriend.
During one session, we decided that he needed to instil a new boundary to save his relationship.
He had become lazy in the relationship and his partner always came over to his house.
The issue was that she was untidy, negative and sapping my client’s energy.
We are currently working on his new YouTube channel and he wanted more mental clarity and focus.
He explained that often he wanted to walk away yet was not able to because she was at his house.
Besides, telling her to leave when she was being negative was also too difficult as she would often become emotional and cry.
The issue here was his environment. Essentially, he needed a safe space that he could go to when he felt pressured or did not like his situation.
We came to the conclusion that the easiest and most effective way to attain this goal was to set a new boundary.
One where he stops letting his girlfriend go over to his house.
Instead, he will go to hers from now on.
This new boundary has worked with immediate effect.
Because my client has the ability to walk away at any time he has been able to set new self-limits of what is acceptable to him in a healthy relationship.
Emotional wellbeing boundaries
Additionally, his girlfriend has gained a new awareness of her mood and emotional wellbeing.
She has changed her energy to become more positive and upbeat, which again illuminates how boundary-setting can be healthy and beneficial for both parties.
When you set boundaries with women, often it can lead to sexual tension.
I have created the following infographic to offer you more guidance. You can also read my article on how to create sexual tension with women to learn more.
Boundaries in relationships
Setting your own self-affirmed boundaries and, furthermore, having the reliance to stick to them is a powerful notion that will be favourable in any personal relationship you have.
To confirm this standard, I will tell you about one of my clients who sold his business a few years ago for a substantial amount of money.
He now lives in a sensational penthouse overlooking all of London.
Healthy relationship boundary
His girlfriend is keen to move in as they have been dating for around three years.
He knows, however, that his power in the relationship stems from not allowing her to move in because he feels that it is not the right time for his emotional wellbeing.
He has been married before and knows what can happen when you allow someone to cross prematurely over your personal boundary into your life.
Boundaries that work
The outcome of continuing this self-imposed rule is that he has found himself in a thriving relationship because he is sticking to his healthy boundaries until he is comfortable.
The day that he allows her to cross that threshold means that he will have to continue to set boundaries that are conducive to retaining a healthy long-term relationship.
Below you will see an infographic I have created to help you affirm healthy boundaries in your own dating interactions.
To learn more about this, you can read my healthy boundaries with women featured article.
Do you have boundary issues?
We all have boundary issues – and that is ok. It only becomes an issue when it starts to affect our mental wellbeing and quality of life.
This is where I can help you to take control of difficult situations; by helping you set new boundaries in the areas where you require more freedom.
With boundaries comes emotional freedom and more control over your inner feelings.
Learning conflict management with boundaries
Your ability to set boundaries is intrinsically linked to your ability to manage conflict.
This is the primary reason why I teach conflict management to all of my clients.
If you want to become a client of mine then visit my live training page and schedule a consultation call.
- Boundaries are internal rules that allow us to articulate how we would like to be treated by others.
- Stong relationship boundaries ensure we have control over our mental wellbeing by not moving from our comfort zone.
- Without personal boundaries, we are likely to be mistreated, taken advantage of and receive a lack of respect in life.
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