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How to Set Better Boundaries – Virtuous Circle Counselling

St. Teresa of Calcutta once said that peace begins with a smile. Some even go to the extent of saying that you can turn someone’s day around by smiling at them. This assertion is usually valid because kindness, even a simple smile, can lift someone’s spirits.

However, there are times when people take advantage of a kind heart. These people may tend to take you for a ride or use you to achieve their own selfish goals. Seasoned therapists will tell you that you must protect yourself from these types of people.

Therapists advise people to strike a healthy balance between being kind and setting boundaries. It is when you set appropriate boundaries that you can protect yourself from individuals who are not genuine. After all, if you keep being kind to everyone, you may find yourself in situations and relationships that you do not want to be in.

Most people would argue that this is a difficult thing to do. If you agree, reading some tips below may help.

Be Clear with Your Priorities

Remembering that it is okay to say no to people. You are not being rude or unkind if you turn down a request. You can say no to people without hurting them.

You need to be clear with your priorities. If you have something to do, you cannot say yes to everyone. It does not mean that you are unreasonable or selfish and you can always promise to help in the future. 

Communicate What You Will or Will Not Tolerate

If someone is rude, then let them know it. If a friend constantly asks you for little favours, you can tell them that you are uncomfortable doing so. If someone manages to monopolize your time, it’s ok to tell that person you need space.

This is your life, and you can decide how to live it. Do not let anyone tell you what to do. You must communicate to others what your needs are.

Remember people will take you for granted if you are too kind. This is why it is important to set boundaries. The best way to do this is to communicate what you will or will not tolerate. 

Listen to Your Gut

Listen to your gut if you have a bad feeling about someone. If a new colleague is too friendly and keeps asking you to lunch, you can tell them you will take a rain check. If a friend keeps asking you to lend them money, tell them you are not comfortable lending them money. Be firm and set boundaries.

People have an uncanny ability to sense when someone does not have good intentions toward them. Before you help someone, you must listen to your gut. 


Kindly remember that it is okay to say no. You are not being rude or unkind if you turn down a request. You can say no to people without hurting them. 

Please note that you need to take care of yourself before others. It will be easier for you to be kind to others if you feel good about yourself.

If you feel that people are taking advantage of you, you should talk to Virtuous Circle Counselling. As Calgary therapists, we can support you in finding your voice, setting boundaries and establishing a self care plan.  Book a session today!

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.