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10 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Set Boundaries

a piece of paper written, 'it's ok to say no'

Many people struggle with setting boundaries, often feeling overwhelmed, taken advantage of, or constantly stressed. This lack of boundaries can lead to strained relationships, burnout, and a compromised sense of well-being.

Emotionally intelligent people, however, handle these situations differently. They know how to communicate their needs assertively and respectfully, which helps them manage external pressures and maintain personal integrity.

Here are ten common situations and examples of how to use assertive statements to set boundaries effectively:

Friends Expecting Last-Minute Plans

Situation: Friends expect you to drop everything for last-minute plans.

What to Say: “I value our friendship, but I need advance notice for plans to accommodate my schedule.”

Why it Works: You’re showing that you care about your friends while also making it clear that you need to manage your own time. It’s about respecting your schedule.

Family Asking for Money

Situation: Family constantly asking for money without considering your financial situation.

What to Say: “I love helping out, but I have to prioritize my financial responsibilities right now. I can’t lend money at the moment.”

Why it Works: This lets your family know that you have your financial commitments. It’s a loving but firm way to say you can’t help financially right now.

Co-Workers Interrupting Work

Situation: Co-workers frequently interrupting you during work.

What to Say: “I understand your need to discuss this, but I’m currently focusing on a deadline. Can we talk about it later?”

Why it Works: You’re acknowledging their needs while also protecting your own productivity. It’s a polite way to keep interruptions at bay.

Roommates Borrowing Without Asking

Situation: Roommates borrowing your belongings without asking.

What to Say: “I don’t mind sharing, but I’d appreciate it if you asked me first before borrowing my things.”

Why it Works: You are setting a respectful tone in your shared space. This makes it clear that you expect to be asked first.

Being Asked to Work Late Frequently

Situation: Being asked to work late frequently.

What to Say: “I understand the need for extra hours occasionally, but I also need to maintain a work-life balance. Let’s find a solution that works for both of us.”

Why it Works: You’re showing willingness to help but also emphasizing the importance of your personal time. It’s about finding a fair balance.

Pressure to Join Unwanted Social Activities

Situation: Being pressured to join social activities you’re not interested in.

What to Say: “I appreciate the invitation, but I prefer to spend my free time differently. I hope you understand.”

Why it Works: You’re being honest about your preferences while still being polite and valuing your interests.

Personal or Intrusive Questions

Situation: Being asked personal or intrusive questions.

What to Say: “I prefer not to discuss my personal life at work. Let’s focus on the task at hand.”

Why it Works: You’re keeping the conversation professional without being rude. It’s a clear way to set personal boundaries at work.

Negative Comments About Your Choices

Situation: Friends or family members making negative comments about your choices.

What to Say: “I value your opinion, but I’ve made my decision and would appreciate your support.”

Why it Works: You’re acknowledging their opinion while standing firm in your decision. It’s a respectful way to seek support rather than criticism.

Being Assigned Extra Tasks Unfairly

Situation: Being assigned extra tasks without consideration for your workload.

What to Say: “I’m currently at full capacity with my current tasks. Can we discuss priorities and possibly delegate some of these tasks?”

Why it Works: You’re being honest about your workload. This helps prevent burnout and promotes fair task management.

Pressure to Conform to Expectations

Situation: Feeling pressured to conform to certain expectations or standards.

What to Say: “I understand where you’re coming from, but I need to stay true to myself and my values.”

Why it Works: You’re respecting your values while acknowledging the other person’s perspective, and staying true to yourself.

Emotionally intelligent people know how to set boundaries because they communicate their needs assertively and respectfully.

These ten examples show practical ways to handle various situations where boundaries are necessary. These examples are derived from the “Managing Pressure and Expectations” section of this Personal Career and Financial Roadmap Workbook. This specific section helps you set clear boundaries, manage stress, and build resilience to maintain your well-being amidst external demands in your career. The workbook itself helps you find your ideal career path, turn your skills into income, handle stress with healthy boundaries, and embrace setbacks as growth opportunities, guiding you toward financial stability and independence. Get it here.


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