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How Do I Communicate My Boundaries Effectively?

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Communicating your boundaries can be difficult. Here are 3 different skills to help you communicate your boundaries.

1. Placing boundaries on yourself not others

When we talk about our boundaries being crossed, typically it's because someone else has crossed them. If you feel out of control and don't know how to get people to respect your boundaries, try placing boundaries on yourself rather than on others, If you are in control of the boundary, that means you do not have to rely on people respecting your boundaries in order for you to still feel safe and respected. YOU ARE IN CONTROL!


Boundary on others:

I don't like when you call me that name, can you please stop?

Boundary on yourself:

If you continue to call me that name, I'm going to leave this lunch.

In the first example, you are trying to tell someone what you would like them to do differently. In the second example, you are telling them what you will do differently if they don't change their behavior. You have control of the outcome of the situation regardless of their behavior.


DEAR MAN is an acronym that you can use to be more effective in saying no to something or asking for something. If you really do not have control over the boundary, saying no or asking effectively is the next best option.

D- Describe the situation

E- Express how you feel about the situation

A - Ask assertively / say no assertively

R- Reinforce

M - Stay mindful

A - Appear confident

N- Negotiate

3. Be clear about your boundaries up front.

Setting up boundaries in new relationships is always easier than changing your boundaries in established relationships. Because of this, it is helpful to new people in your life know about your boundaries before they have a chance to cross them.

When you set boundaries in older relationships this is helpful, too. Let the person know the new boundary before it has been crossed. That will make it easier to follow through with the boundary.


The phone rings, you only have 10 minutes before you have to be at work.

Setting boundaries upfront:

Hey, I only have 10 minutes, what's up?

Setting up boundaries after:

(It's been 10 minutes) Hey, I have to go now. (The person gets mad, you are late to work...)

Communicating boundaries is difficult and easier said than done. Use these three skills to help build the skill of communicating healthy boundaries. You will not be a professional overnight, so give yourself grace and keep practicing!


Hi, I’m Kristina Anzell, I am a Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing compassionate and tailored mental health support for moms at all stages of motherhood. My mission is to empower you to thrive in your role as a mother while nurturing your own well-being. If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my blog here! If you want more information or are seeking treatment, feel free to reach out!

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