You can do all the right things: Limit the influences in your life to those who matter most, discover who you are and what you think on matters of importance, and empower others to have a mind of their own, but some people still push the boundaries. Some people – well intentioned and otherwise – impose their thoughts on others, making it hard to avoid their opinions and their criticisms.
It’s important to have clear boundaries with opinionated people or you will be accommodating and vacillating on every decision you make. You can’t please others and please yourself every. single. time.
How to Set Boundaries with People
If you’re new to the boundaries game, it can feel intimidating. It can feel mean and adversarial to say no to someone who is forcing their opinions and influence on you… and it can also feel satisfying and healthy… so don’t worry. Setting boundaries with opinionated people doesn’t have to feel like you’re asking for trouble.
When someone injects their opinion about what you “should do”:
- Smile and say, “Thank you, I’ll consider that with my options”
- Gently say, “Thank you for your opinion, but I am confident in what I am going to do”
- Look them in the eye and say, “Thanks, I’m good with my plan
When someone makes an inappropriate comment that puts you on the spot:
- Ask them, “I’m sure you didn’t intend for that comment to be harsh. Could you clarify what you just said?”
- Ignore them
- Walk away
When someone is downright in your space and needs to be redirected:
- Look them in the eye and say, “This topic isn’t up for discussion”
- End the conversation politely but firmly
- Call them out on their behavior and let them know they are overstepping their boundary
Avoiding situations where people have an exaggerated influence is also a key to setting boundaries.
Consider these tactics when you want to avoid what other people think:
- Don’t ask for multiple opinions- You can make decisions without the influence of others. Don’t feel pressure to bring everyone into the loop Setting boundaries with people can feel hard, but it needn’t be. Setting boundaries defines relationships and reminds people where the line is between what they think and what you think. You do not have to subject yourself to the opinions of others. Choose what you love in this world and own your decisions before making a decision.
- Be confident- Take whatever action you want and walk in confidence. From what you wear to what college you decide to attend, your confidence about your choices will send the message that you are not looking for an opinion.
Setting boundaries with people can feel hard, but it needn’t be. Setting boundaries defines relationships and reminds people where the line is between what they think and what you think. You do not have to subject yourself to the opinions of others. Choose what you love in this world and own your decisions.
Do Your Thing and Forget What People Think About it!
“You can’t please everyone.” No truer words have ever been spoken. You can; however, spend time pleasing yourself and really, isn’t that the person who matters most? In the end, living life based on the influences and expectations of others is not living your life.
If you live with the habit of worrying about what others think, you’re never going to know what you think… or worse… you’re going to squelch who you are and what you want for someone else.
Countless people hide their identities and their preferences in fear of what others think. They modify their behavior, live lifestyles, change their look, their minds, and their habits to please someone of influence. To their own detriment.
Living to please others is not going to make your time easier or happier. It is going to make it artificial and stale. Liberate yourself, do your thing, and forget what other people think about it.
Some will love everything about you. Some won’t. So what. Someone is waiting to share the things you have in common. Part of the fun in life is diversity. Finding new circles of people who embrace different aspects of your life expands your friendship base and widens your influence. Boldly go after the things that make you unique and forget what someone else might think about it. If what you desire is ethical, legal, and in alignment with your morals and values, there should be nothing about what someone else thinks to influence you. Be who you are unashamed, unapologetic, and enthusiastically.
If boundaries are something that is a challenge, or new for you setting up (totally my struggle – I’m a recovering “people-pleaser”), check out this post too. It gives you some tips on where and what boundaries to set so you can have a happier, simpler life!