How To Set Boundaries With People You Love: Offer an Alternative

When setting boundaries with people, it's important to not only tell them what you DON'T want, but also to tell them what they CAN do to be within the boundary you are setting.  Offer alternatives! Sometimes setting boundaries can be an issues of how to talk to people.  The people close to us in our lives don't know what we need or what works for us, unless we directly tell them so.

For example, if you don't like getting calls after 10:00 p.m., ask people to send you a text or email instead, or ask them to wait until the morning to contact you.  If you prefer to speak in person instead of through written text, ask others to call you and set up a time to talk, instead of texting.

When we help negotiate alternatives in our relationships, we are showing that we care about others, while at the same time taking care of ourselves.  Anyone who is truly close to you and respects you should respect that.

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFTA, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counselingrelationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.