Emerging Confidence Blog

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Why setting boundaries is good for you!

November 01, 20224 min read

Why setting boundaries is good for you...

...and the people you love.

You were really looking forward to a quiet Sunday afternoon catching up on your favorite show, reading a book, or just chilling.  Your phone buzzes, and it’s a group text saying, “Meet at the winery for drinks.”You love spending time with your friends, but you planned today just for you!  How can you say no to them?

One word--boundaries!

What are boundaries?

There are different types of boundaries, but I like to simplify them into physical and emotional boundaries. 

Physical boundaries are about your personal space and your things. Not a hugger?  Let people know.  Don’t like people taking things off your desk?  Tell them.  Is someone sitting a little too close to you?  Ask them to move over.

Emotional boundaries are about your feelings and your time.  For example, your daughter’s soccer game is tonight, and as you’re walking out the door, a coworker asks you to stay to help with a presentation you're making together next week. 

 When you know your boundaries, it's easier to tell them to others. You might say to a coworker that their jokes are offensive or a friend that you don't appreciate their unsolicited advice on raising your child. 

 Why don’t we set them?

So often, we say yes to things we don’t want to do because we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. We know rejection hurts, and we worry that saying no makes them think we don’t like hanging out with them or worse, that we’re rejecting them.  

 How do they help us?

Setting boundaries is healthier for you and the relationships you have.  When you have boundaries, it helps you:

  • Build your confidence.  It’s easier to have confidence when you’re willing and able to stand up for yourself. Think about how great it felt when you’ve done it in the past.

  • Build healthier relationships.  By letting those you care about know what you’re willing or not willing to accept, you build a more open and honest relationship.   

  • Reduce stress.  You know how you feel when you’ve said yes to something you wish you’d said no to?  You say yes and then start thinking, “I shouldn't have said yes. I really don’t have the time but I can’t back out now.”  

  • Avoid burnout.  At work, we say yes to SO many things that we burn out faster.  Learning to prioritize and set boundaries gives us more control over our day!

How do you set boundaries?

First of all, know what they are.  Knowing what’s important in your life and what takes priority is important. This way, when someone crosses a boundary, you’ll know. As I’m writing this, the holidays are right around the corner.  Now’s a great time to think about what’s important during your celebrations and what’s okay to let slide.

Secondly, plan ahead. You know those people who always want just “one little thing” from you. And then an hour later, you’re still helping them when what YOU wanted to do sit idly by?  If you can anticipate what someone might ask of you, it’s easier to say no and set that boundary. Look at your calendar for the week and think about where you might need to stand firm for yourself.

Start small – If you’re not accustomed to setting boundaries, starting small might be the boost you need. It may be as simple as protecting your lunch hour. How? Block time on your calendar, and when someone tries to schedule over it, politely but firmly tell them, “I’d love to [fill in the blank] when I’m open. I’m currently booked at that time.”. If they say it’s just lunch, remind them that to be the best you, you have to take breaks for your mental health (and I would add for the safety of others, but that’s just me).

 Be consistent – If you’re setting boundaries only sometimes, people will know that if they push you enough, you’ll cave and give them what they need. This is why starting small is best. It’s easier to stand your ground over lunchtime than to say no to volunteering.

 Use confident body and voice language – If the conversation is face-to-face, make eye contact and face the other person. If you give the illusion of a lack of confidence through body language, the other person may sense it and push harder. Same for your language. Avoid non-confident words like might, should, may, etc.


Is setting boundaries easy?  Nope, not going to lie to you.  They can be challenging to set and enforce at first.  But the more you do it; the more people begin to understand and respect you.

 We have a finite number of hours in our days, and every time we say yes to one thing, we say no to something else.  Make sure you’re saying yes to the right things.

Have feedback or comments? Are there boundaries you need help with? Send me an email at sandy@emergingconfidence.com and let's chat!


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Sandy Stricker

Sandy Stricker is the CEO of Emerging Confidence, empowering women to listen to their inner voice and live in confidence while achieving their personal and professional goals. She helps women learn to lose the doubt so they can build a career they love and get the salary they deserve. She has more than 30 years of experience coaching high-performing women.

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