Two women talking over a table.

Communicating Boundaries

Often, communicating boundaries is easier said than done. Implementing your boundaries can be draining. Also, you can run into situations where you get rejected, have a conflict with someone, disappoint them, or come across as selfish.

If you have one or more people in your life that is continually crossing your lines then communicating your boundaries can suck your energy. If you have many people crossing your lines, it is time to reevaluate your choices as to who you associate with.

But first, try these communication techniques for conveying your expectations of others.

Have the Right Mindset 

When you are about to walk into the conversation about your boundaries, you must prepare your mind.

First, remember that your boundaries are a reflection of your pure love for yourself. They are not selfish or mean. Setting them tells the other person that you have faith in their ability to handle the particular situation that is coming up.

Furthermore, this conversation is a mutual expression of love for them, and love for yourself.

Start the Conversation

One way to set a boundary is to acknowledge how the other person is feeling while still communicating your decision to set the boundary.

Dr.s Henry Cloud & John Townsend state that, “Deciding to set boundaries is difficult because it requires decision making and confrontation, which, in turn, may cause pain to someone you love.” p. 96

But it is your faith in the other person and the trust in their own journey that will allow you to say no.

You first start by just saying no to the request. Click here to see many different ways to say no.

Some of my favorites are, “It’s not a good idea for me,” “Not at this time,” “I’m not comfortable with that,” “I’m here for you, but I really can’t do what you are asking for.”

Or be straight up with them and say something like, “This decision doesn’t align with my values, so I have to say no. I hope you can understand.”

Then acknowledge their feelings if they push.

  • Say something like, “I understand that you are frustrated that I can’t do _____?”
  • “I get you want me to _____, and you’re upset, but I can be here for you in other ways.”


Your boundaries are about you, but you are also empowering the other person to respect you.

Using an I-Statement when you set the boundary can help you be clear with your expectation.

For this you would say something like,

  • “I don’t feel comfortable with the way this is playing out. I need you to stop _______.”
  • “I feel frustrated when you are late to our dates, I need you to change the time we meet, or make more effort to be on time.”
  • I ___(feeling word)__when ____(behavior of other person)___. I need ___(your need)___.

There are a ton of resources online for you to find I-statements, but I like this one in particular.

Be Patient

Overall, these are just suggestions that you can use to communicate boundaries.

Communicating your boundaries is part of an overall communication difficulty. Here are some ways to ensure that you communicate lovingly.

Just be patient with yourself and others because they are not used to this part of you. At the same time, you are not used to this part of you either. It’s all about growth and love.

Dr. Autumn Thomas

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