On Creating Boundaries

Question: How do I create and maintain boundaries for myself:

The hard part is a) figuring out where the boundary should be. b) figuring out how to enforce that boundary. c) doing so compassionately.

This is a lot like parenting actually. And it depends entirely on how exactly the behavior manifests.

Here is an example: I had a friend who would complain about everything. I got her to stop complaining to me by not rewarding her complaining. I would redirect the conversation every time she started complaining. This can work well to enforce a boundary when unwanted behavior occurs. Hanging up “accidentally” can work if it's a phone conversation. You choose a behavior you want to work on and you work on getting it to stop - around you. Then move to the next behavior.

In order to make this work – you have to understand how to get unwanted behaviors to stop using behavioral science.

Consistency is key in everything. But in order to really help someone, you have to identify exactly what the behavior is, when it manifests and where the boundary should be. It's easy to say - set up boundaries. The the hard part is understanding how exactly this is done compassionately and effectively.

I should create a course on this at some point. In the meantime – here are a couple of courses that can teach you how to get unwanted behavior to stop:

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