Best Practices for Creating Healthy Boundaries in Relationships: 7 Effective Strategies

Navigating the delicate balance between personal well-being and relationship dynamics can be challenging, so we’ve gathered seven strategies from founders, coaches, and CEOs. From using “I and We” statements to maintaining consistency with boundaries, discover a spectrum of advice to create and uphold healthy boundaries in your relationships.

  • Use “I and We” Statements
  • Learn to Say No
  • Employ Positive Distancing
  • Define and Communicate Limits
  • Practice Assertive Communication
  • Combine Active Listening with Clear Communication
  • Maintain Consistency with Boundaries

Use “I and We” Statements

Kurt Roswell, Creator, DateLoveWed.com

Kurt Roswell Featured

A key strategy is learning to communicate your needs assertively, without apology. A client, Amy, tended to sacrifice her own needs to avoid conflict with her partner. I encouraged her to voice her boundaries using ‘I’ statements—for example, ‘I need some quiet time alone tonight to recharge.’

The goal is stating your needs clearly, without blaming or demanding. It takes practice, but assertively honoring your own well-being in the moment, rather than chronically putting a partner’s desires first, is crucial for healthy self-care. For Amy, getting comfortable saying ‘no’ when she needed space made a big difference in her ability to preserve her own equilibrium within the relationship.

Learn to Say No

Jesse McCraw, Director of Business Development, Driftwood Recovery

Jesse McCraw Featured - relationships

As a clinical outreach specialist at Driftwood Recovery, I often see individuals struggling with their relationships and putting others’ needs before their own. Creating healthy boundaries is essential for maintaining one’s well-being, both mentally and physically. One tip that I highly recommend is learning to say “no.” 

Many people, especially those in recovery, have a hard time setting boundaries and saying no because they don’t want to disappoint or upset others. However, saying no is not selfish or rude. It is a necessary step in valuing and prioritizing your own needs and boundaries. By learning to say no, you are establishing clear limits on what you can and cannot do, which allows for better communication and understanding in your relationships.

Employ Positive Distancing

Jacob Coyne, Founder, Stay Here

Jacob Coyne Featured

As the founder of Stay Here, an organization dedicated to mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and with my extensive experience in talking with individuals from various walks of life about their struggles, I’ve learned the utmost importance of setting healthy boundaries for personal well-being.

One critical strategy I advocate for is using ‘positive distancing’ as a tool to establish such boundaries. Positive distancing involves creating physical or emotional space between yourself and individuals or situations that may be detrimental to your mental health, while still maintaining a compassionate and respectful stance towards those individuals or situations.

For instance, in our Stay Here community, we encourage members to identify triggers that may exacerbate mental health conditions and to articulate clear, specific boundaries to loved ones about what they can and cannot engage with.

This could mean asking friends to avoid certain topics of conversation, or limiting time spent in environments that induce stress or anxiety. The key is to communicate these boundaries clearly and assertively, while also allowing space for understanding and adjustment from both sides. 

This method not only helps in preserving one’s mental health but also in strengthening relationships by fostering a mutual respect for personal limits. Through workshops and personal coaching sessions, we’ve seen how effective communication of boundaries can lead to healthier, more fulfilling interactions and personal growth.

Define and Communicate Limits

Ella Scaduto, Matchmaker and Dating Coach, Smoky Matchmaker

Ella Scaduto Featured

Understanding your own values, needs, and limits would be a good start. Then, clearly define what your personal limits are, what you are comfortable with, and what you are not, to your partner. This includes emotional, physical, or time-related boundaries. Communicate your limits and expectations assertively, and respect your partner’s boundaries.

Practice Assertive Communication

Paul Manley, Founder, Halo Health Clinic

Paul Manley Featured

As the founder of a mental health clinic, one of the most common issues I see in clients is a lack of boundaries. Many people struggle with setting limits in their relationships, often leading to burnout and resentment.

One strategy that I recommend is practicing assertive communication. This involves clearly and respectfully stating your needs, wants, and boundaries to others. It’s important to remember that setting boundaries is not selfish—it’s necessary for maintaining mental and emotional well-being. By communicating assertively, you can establish healthy boundaries while also fostering open and honest communication in your relationships.

Combine Active Listening with Clear Communication

Justie Nicol, CEO, Colorado Lawyer Team

Justie Nicol Featured

From my extensive background as a former prosecutor and my work with the ACLU, I’ve dealt with a wide array of challenging situations that taught me the importance of creating healthy boundaries and prioritizing well-being. 

One key strategy I recommend, drawing on these experiences, is the practice of active listening and clear communication, especially in high-tension environments such as courtrooms or negotiations. This involves not just hearing but understanding the other party’s perspective, which can help in establishing mutual respect and setting boundaries that protect everyone’s interests and emotional well-being.

For instance, while negotiating settlements or working on cases, I’ve found that being clear about what I can and cannot accept, and why, has been crucial in maintaining professional and personal boundaries. This has not only aided me in handling cases more effectively but also in avoiding burnout and maintaining my well-being. It’s about finding that balance between empathy and assertiveness. By applying these principles, individuals can foster healthier, more respectful relationships, whether in a legal environment, the workplace, or personal life.

Maintain Consistency with Boundaries

Michael Banis, Chief Development Officer, Virtue Recovery Centers

Michael Banis Featured

Being consistent with your boundaries is a key element to making them stick and becoming more comfortable with being assertive. Be consistent in communicating, enforcing consequences, and prioritizing your well-being. This consistency reinforces the importance of respecting your boundaries to yourself and others.

Being consistent also means there might be times when you need to be more open to adjusting boundaries as needed. Because as circumstances, relationships, and personal needs evolve, so may your boundaries. Be open to reassessing and adjusting them as needed to suit your individual needs!

Last Updated on by kalidaspandian

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Mehar Jolly

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