• Fern Lee

Setting Boundaries

Rule 2 on my list of rules to live by is setting boundaries.

If we set our boundaries, others who interact with us will know what we will and won't accept. This helps minimize any conflict or ambiguity in our everyday interactions. It establishes your social contract with family, friends and colleagues as to what it is you can accept.

Not knowing where our own boundaries are results in unhappiness within ourselves. Our boundaries are breached and we get upset. But we weren't aware of them before we had set them.

When you do get upset or angry with a colleague or family member, ask yourself why? Is it because your boundaries were breached? What could you have done differently to prevent the conflict?

I realized before I was aware of boundary-setting that I was always having my space (mental and physical) invaded. People would demand things of me and I would be surprised that they would have the 'audacity' to ask such things of me.

I became aware of the fact that I could perhaps prevent such situations by setting the boundaries around things like interactions and energy levels. For example, I am an introvert and by letting people around me know that I don't like going out that much and I like to keep interactions to a minimum, then they might be more cautious about asking things of me.

It is up to us to set the narrative of this social dialogue. People will set certain expectations of us, based on their interactions with us and what they have gleaned of our personalities. If we don't clarify what we want from them, they will impose their expectations on us.

Colleagues will become aware of them and know what is expected of themselves when interacting with you.

By speaking up about what we want, it helps manage other people's expectations of us. Sometimes that is hard for us to do. But being outside our comfort zone could save us a whole host of problems in the future!

What are your boundaries? Write them in free flow to discover them. Set time aside each day or each week, whatever makes you comfortable.

How will you present them to your colleagues and in your social circle and family life? Your approach could be firm but also gentle. Use stock phrases like "This isn't for me", "I don't know how I feel about this" and "I'll think about it".

Make sure you are clear when you can be about your boundaries. Tell people what personality you are. Since I have mentioned my introverted nature, family and colleagues have been most understanding. The awareness has made them more sensitive to what they ask of me.

With gratitude,






©2019 by Fern Lee Career Coaching