Setting Boundaries

Boundaries are the limits and rules that people set for themselves in relationships. Someone with healthy boundaries can say “no” when they want to, but they are also comfortable opening themselves up to intimacy and close relationships.

The Setting Boundaries worksheet will help teach you to set healthy boundaries by covering language for speaking assertively, boundary-setting tips, examples, and practice exercises.

Boundaries should be based on your values, or the things that are important to you. For example, if you value spending time with family, set firm boundaries about working late. 

Your boundaries are yours, and your alone. Many of your boundaries might align with those who are close to you, but others will be unique.

Know you boundaries before entering a situation. This will make it less likely you'll do something you're not comfortable with.

Use Confident Body Language

Face the other person, make eye contact, and use a steady tone of voice at an appropriate volume (not to quiet, and not to loud)

Be Respectful

Avoid yelling, using put-downs, or giving the silent treatment. It's okay to be firm, but your message will be better received if you are respectful.

Plan Ahead

Think about what you want to say, and how you will say it, before entering a difficult discussion. This can help you feel more confident about your position.


When appropriate, listen and consider the needs of the other person. You never have to compromise, but give-and-take is part of any healthy relationship.

Instructions: Respond to the following questions as if you were really in each situation. Think about the language you would use to firmly state your boundary.

1. You missed several days of work due to a medical condition. When you get back, a coworker asks what happened. You feel this information is personal, and don't want to share.

2. Your brother/sister asks if you can watch his/her two young children on Saturday morning. You already have plans.

3. A salesperson comes to your door during dinner. you try to politely show disinterest, but they keep giving their sales pitch. you want to get back to dinner.

4. Your coworker is upset about their recent performance review. They start yelling and slamming their fist on their desk. This is making you very uncomfortable.

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©2019 by Christopher Thompson.