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Thread: How to set boundaries

  1. #1
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    How to set boundaries

    Hi everyone I would just like some advice.

    I am learning how to set boundaries with people I am meeting. I am also learning about how to avoid attracting attention and being 'pressured' into friendships or commitments. avoiding conflict best as possible.

    I am currently working with a life coach but would love your input.

    Please could you give me responses to these questions I face and I don't want to seem rude but I need nice 'comebacks'


    1, A girl I just met for 5 minutes wants to go hang out with me. I have made continuous excuses about the pandemic but she still asks. I do not want to pursue a friendship or hangout with her. But she is a work colleague of my family so I will always bump into her in a work environment as sometimes she'll come over for training and stay for drinks. but I don't want to hang out socially. She has also started making excuses to come over more often 5 out of 7days. But I stay in my bedroom to do my work so avoid her like that. I have mentioned how she's overwhelming but because she uses work as an excuse my family members can't say no and I don't have any control over it.

    2, When people ask for favours that I don't want to do/have time for - will you do my hair or makeup? As in go out of my way to style someones hair and use my products on them they aren't even people I would consider a friend. However, they somehow think we are. I have responded that I'm not a hairdresser and they should go to a salon. they respond ' haha its fine your great at doing your hair and makeup please' I then say 'I'm only really good on myself' but they still ask and pursue me.

    3, People who try to add you on social media and then ask why you haven't accepted them. I have said I don't use it or active but they still insist I accept them.

    4, When people who you don't know ask personal questions and try to give you advice. For example a girl I met asked if I was single and I said yes then went on to give me a 1 hour lecture on how I need to get out there and meet people. When I said I am happy and want it to happen organically she still wouldn't drop it. Making me feel like she was attacking me infront of other people.

    5, Someone I don't know that well keeps wanting to offload their life, heartbreak, dilemmas on me. I really need to focus on myself and don't have the mental capacity or energy to listen to it when I am going through a hard time myself and need to keep my mind positive and happy. one example yesterday the work colleague I mentioned came over for drinks, she has repeated the same story of her fiancÚ cheating on her and cries (I've seen her 3 times now and every time she does this - remember she is in my home 'seeing my family members') she has other friends so she isn't completely alone but changes the whole mood and it really bums me out. Because its at home I can't watch TV I can't relax and I feel we all have to sit there and have a pity party and exchange heartbreak stories which I don't want to do. I listen to it for like 40 minutes but she wants to go on for hours and hours and doesn't go home until 5am. So one the last occasion I just made an excuse and went to bed which she then said I was very insensitive to my family member. I did not make scene it was 1am, and hugged her bye. The next day my family member said how the colleague thought I was rude and it upset her more. When I said Ive heard the story, its 1 am, I don't have positive input for her situation, I don't know her very well they understood. But I felt as if the colleague was trying to start something.

    I am learning how to shift my body language as I can come across very confident (even though I'm not inside) but when I feel uncomfortable my energy changes and I become quiet (which can cause tension in a social setting) which I really don't mean to do - I am just learning how to handle situations which annoy me in a better way. But I am being tested recently with new people and its really triggering my anxiety to see these people which I have no control over. So I want to come up with some nice comebacks which aren't rude but make me feel confident to build boundaries with new people.
    Last edited by ironi; 11-11-2020 at 09:34 AM.

  2. #2
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    I don't think you need a life coach at all. So simple if you're willing to step up to the plate. Practice in front of a mirror if you have to. Say "no" or 'no thank you" in a firm and polite and confident way -not strident -quiet confidence. Fake it till you make it.

    No back story, no apology. And if the person asks again say "no and I appreciate that you would like this help and I cannot give that help. Oh! I have to go now - have a great day!" Or "no I do not have time to [hang out/have a phone call, whatever]. Take care!"
    If a person starts to unload on you set a timer if needed -like for 3 minutes. Timer goes off - if you have to interrupt you do - "oh! I have to go now, sorry! hope things work out ok!"

    I think if you're paying a life coach for how to say No there are many cheaper options -my input or Martha Beck has written some good books on the subject as has Dr. Phil I believe. No need to be rude, strident or "confront." "No."

    You can control your reaction even though you cannot control others' behavior. Big deal if someone insists - haven't you ever had to deal with a high pressure salesperson?

  3. #3
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    Ironi.

    There is a great short word in the English language: NO. It works wonders.

    You can learn any amount of comebacks, nice or otherwise, but there is something in you which these other clingers and freeloaders are perceiving and latching on to. What has your counsellor to say on the matter?

    For example, number 4. Why would you give this person an hour of your time! You don't have to explain yourself to anyone.
    Again, I am in a quandary as to what to say to you, as I have never really had those kinds of bombardments.

    As for number 5 in your post, and I ask again what draws these people to you, you simply reply: "I am not qualified to help you, but I can give you a link to find a therapist who will greatly help you." See what I mean. And you do NOT smile ruefully while giving this sort of reply.

    Perhaps an entirely different social environment and set of people, Ironi. Not one peppered with the clingy and those looking for services on the cheap.

    You can do it.

  4. #4
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    Yes I have and this is why I am feeling a little more 'stressed' because most of the situations take place at work or home only place I can go to is bedroom or toilet. But the person is still there. So when I go to my bedroom I can still hear the colleague and she'll purposely mention where am I why aren't I sitting downstairs. So I look rude. Whereas with a salesperson they go away, you can hang up the phone lol.

    I have no control if people come over to the house because they arent my guests. I will start practicing in the mirror I need to build my confidence up.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Lambert's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironi
    Hi everyone I would just like some advice.

    I am learning how to set boundaries with people I am meeting. I am also learning about how to avoid attracting attention and being 'pressured' into friendships or commitments. avoiding conflict best as possible.

    I am currently working with a life coach but would love your input.

    Please could you give me responses to these questions I face and I don't want to seem rude but I need nice 'comebacks'


    1, A girl I just met for 5 minutes wants to go hang out with me. I have made continuous excuses about the pandemic but she still asks. I do not want to pursue a friendship or hangout with her. But she is a work colleague of my family so I will always bump into her in a work environment as sometimes she'll come over for training and stay for drinks. but I don't want to hang out socially. She has also started making excuses to come over more often 5 out of 7days. But I stay in my bedroom to do my work so avoid her like that. I have mentioned how she's overwhelming but because she uses work as an excuse my family members can't say no and I don't have any control over it.

    2, When people ask for favours that I don't want to do/have time for - will you do my hair or makeup? As in go out of my way to style someones hair and use my products on them they aren't even people I would consider a friend. However, they somehow think we are. I have responded that I'm not a hairdresser and they should go to a salon. they respond ' haha its fine your great at doing your hair and makeup please' I then say 'I'm only really good on myself' but they still ask and pursue me.

    3, People who try to add you on social media and then ask why you haven't accepted them. I have said I don't use it or active but they still insist I accept them.

    4, When people who you don't know ask personal questions and try to give you advice. For example a girl I met asked if I was single and I said yes then went on to give me a 1 hour lecture on how I need to get out there and meet people. When I said I am happy and want it to happen organically she still wouldn't drop it. Making me feel like she was attacking me infront of other people.

    5, Someone I don't know that well keeps wanting to offload their life, heartbreak, dilemmas on me. I really need to focus on myself and don't have the mental capacity or energy to listen to it when I am going through a hard time myself and need to keep my mind positive and happy. one example yesterday the work colleague I mentioned came over for drinks, she has repeated the same story of her fiancÚ cheating on her and cries (I've seen her 3 times now and every time she does this - remember she is in my home 'seeing my family members') she has other friends so she isn't completely alone but changes the whole mood and it really bums me out. Because its at home I can't watch TV I can't relax and I feel we all have to sit there and have a pity party and exchange heartbreak stories which I don't want to do. I listen to it for like 40 minutes but she wants to go on for hours and hours and doesn't go home until 5am. So one the last occasion I just made an excuse and went to bed which she then said I was very insensitive to my family member. I did not make scene it was 1am, and hugged her bye. The next day my family member said how the colleague thought I was rude and it upset her more. When I said Ive heard the story, its 1 am, I don't have positive input for her situation, I don't know her very well they understood. But I felt as if the colleague was trying to start something.

    I am learning how to shift my body language as I can come across very confident (even though I'm not inside) but when I feel uncomfortable my energy changes and I become quiet (which can cause tension in a social setting) which I really don't mean to do - I am just learning how to handle situations which annoy me in a better way. But I am being tested recently with new people and its really triggering my anxiety to see these people which I have no control over. So I want to come up with some nice comebacks which aren't rude but make me feel confident to build boundaries with new people.
    Wow. Why are you around so many people that you don't care to be friends with etc? Are you in a job where you meet a lot of people? like how do you get yourself into these interactions?

    I think you have to just respond to each situation honestly but kindly. that's what I do.

    1. if someone asked me out and I didn't want to pursue anything with them. Then I say thank you and no. Be polite when you see her but limit the time. Hello but don't stop to talk.

    2. I would just laugh these people off. Why would I want to do someone's hair and makeup? And that might be a good response, why do you want me to do your hair? and then laugh you flatter me.

    3. who are these people? Just tell then you only keep your close family/ friends on your social media.

    4. An hour long lecture from a stranger? How did you not just excuse yourself saying to have to go? I mean an hour is a long time!

    A lot of these things might be happening because you let them. the trick bto boundaries is limiting your exposure to these people. if you feel these people don't know you, are not who you would like to be around, why are you talking to them at length?

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Are all these complaints about the same person?

    1. Is this a friend of the family? Why is she in your family home?
    2. If you are doing "free samples" of your products/practice, to promote your products/practice as free advertising, you can't have it both ways.
    3. Go through ALL your social media and restrict your content to only those you know. Reset ALL your privacy settings and if possible, do not accept invitations/PMs.
    4 Don't discuss your personal life/dating life with strangers in this much detail. Simply say "I'm talking to people", and change the subject.
    5. Why socialize/have people over for drinks whose lives bore you and you dislike?

  8. #7
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    OP. This is honestly quite beyond my comprehension:

    "where am I why aren't I sitting downstairs. So I look rude"

    I assume you are sharing a house with some people. It is none of their business whether you are in the bathroom, bedroom or hanging out the upstairs windows! Why would it be rude.

    I am finding difficulty in understanding all this. In my student days I shared a property with four others. Never ever did any of us ever remark on what part of the house any of the others were in, or not in. It would have been unconceivable.
    If people come to the house who says you have to talk to them, and less so listen to their dreary ramblings about their star-crossed love lives.

    I also ask what Wiseman just asked:

    "Are all these complaints about the same person?

    1. Is this a friend of the family? Why is she in your family home?
    2. If you are doing "free samples" of your products/practice, to promote your products/practice as free advertising, you can't have it both ways.
    3. Go through ALL your social media and restrict your content to only those you know. Reset ALL your privacy settings and if possible, do not accept invitations/PMs.
    4 Don't discuss your personal life/dating life with strangers in this much detail. Simply say "I'm talking to people", and change the subject.
    5. Why socialize/have people over for drinks whose lives bore you and you dislike?

  9. #8
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    I am still working on why I am coming across these people. So far my coach has said its not anything particular and everyone meets these people they just deal with it differently and that I tend to not deal with something that causes me distress straight away I am afraid I will seem impolite. my coach has said when I am uncomfortable I tend to laugh which causes confusion when I am trying to be serious and that I need to keep a straight face and firm tone. So that's what I'm working on.

    Thanks for your response

  10. #9
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    And there you have it Ironi. I thought as much.

    "I tend to laugh which causes confusion "

    Think about it. There is nothing humourous or jolly about these boundary tramplers and potential free-loaders.

    It is no harm to cultivate a certain iciness of tone and glaciality of look (not impolite) in a range of situations such as you describe. It will serve you well.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Are all these complaints about the same person?

    1. Is this a friend of the family? Why is she in your family home?
    2. If you are doing "free samples" of your products/practice, to promote your products/practice as free advertising, you can't have it both ways.
    3. Go through ALL your social media and restrict your content to only those you know. Reset ALL your privacy settings and if possible, do not accept invitations/PMs.
    4 Don't discuss your personal life/dating life with strangers in this much detail. Simply say "I'm talking to people", and change the subject.
    5. Why socialize/have people over for drinks whose lives bore you and you dislike?
    No these aren't complaints about the same person

    1 - She is a work colleague who works with my family (I live with my family) - due to the office being closed she comes over to our house as its bigger to 'work' and ask for help as she's new to the company. I do not work with her I have no relation to her. However, because she doesn't leave she'll hang out and get invited to dinner by my family as they are all work colleagues and also have after work drinks.
    2 - I do not have makeup or hairdressing experience or business. Purely complimenting me and asking for me to do their makeup and hair.
    3 - I have privacy on all my social media
    4 - Yes your right and I will actively make sure I don't discuss anything personal
    5- They aren't my guests but try to socialise with me but I don't want to. I eat dinner at the dining table as its my routine and she'll be over for dinner invited by someone else. I am moving out in March so with the family till then. I think your all right I need to be more firm and confident in myself and not care what it may seem like

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