Setting Boundaries


Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed because it feels like everyone is telling you what to do or pushing you to engage in activities or communication that you’re not comfortable with. Boundaries may help give you the space, time and energy you need to address your feelings. But what are boundaries, how do you implement them and how do you work through pushback or internal guilt for them?

Boundaries are what we put in place to honor our needs. Some examples may be:
  1. “Please do not hug me, I’m not comfortable with that.”
  2. “I need some time to process and will not be answering calls or text for the next week.”
  3. “I hear you and support you and right now I am not in a place to hear about that topic. I encourage you to reach out to a professional and I will let you know if I am ever in a place to talk about that.”
  4. “I will not take that task on.” or “I will not attend that event, thank you for inviting me.” (saying “I can’t” implies that there is something to be fixed. For example, if you say “I can’t take that task on” the person asking may follow up with, “okay can you do it at a later time or is there something we can do so that you “can” do the task. But if it’s something you are uncomfortable with or you do not want to change/rearrange your schedule, you may be put in an even more uncomfortable situation.

Setting boundaries can be made easier by identifying your needs. Do you need alone time? Time to process after a disagreement? Time away from media? Does touching make you feel uncomfortable? Is there certain language that activates you? Do you need physical space from people? Do you need time off of work? Do you want to be contacted by work after hours?

Implementing boundaries can often make us feel guilty for limiting someone’s access to us. But not only do we deserve boundaries, they are essential to taking care of ourselves. If I say no to helping someone because it would negatively impact me, that “no” is allowing me to show up fully and safely for someone else, which may be myself. Every time we ignore our boundaries, we break trust with ourself.

Used with permission from: UNLV Care Center
Title: Student’s Guide to Radical Healing zine
First edition: April 2020
Second edition: May 2021 

What To Do If Your Boundaries Have Been Violated

If you feel like your boundaries have been violated physically, emotionally, or verbally:
  • Get to a safe space.
  • Seek medical attention if needed.
  • Find supportive people and resources.
  • Consider your reporting options.

You have the right to feel safe in your interactions with other people. There are resources that can assist you on and off campus to feel safe and to begin to heal from the violation you have experienced.  

Confidential Resources:
Reporting Options:
  • CSB Title IX Coordinator: Tamara Hennes-Vix, 320-363-5943
  • SJU Interim Title IX Coordinator: Patricia Weishaar, 320-363-2113
  • CSB Campus Security, 320-363-5000
  • SJU Life Safety, 320-363-2144
  • St. Joseph Police Department, 320-363-8250
  • Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, 320-251-4240