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Everyone is talking about boundaries these days. It seems like you need them everywhere - with your family, friends, work, and even strangers you meet on the street. Having them is, indeed, smart and reasonable, but how do you even set them?

That’s where professionals come in. In this case, a professional on TikTok. Kami Orange, a boundary coach and influencer, is sharing her favorite phrases that help you set limits and ensure no one is overstepping the line. She’s even made her top 40 list! Scroll down to see some of our favorite examples.

#1

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I already said no, and I'm not going to change my mind. Please stop asking me." I've used this phrase with salespeople, people who are hitting on me, children, and anyone who's not receiving my NO. Your NO is important and deserves to be listened to. 

kami_orange , SHVETS production Report

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barbieonbass avatar
bbfa
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have to do this when I'm forced to make a phone call to cancel a service and argue with a "customer retention" rep. If you order service online it should be a law that you can turn it off online, as well.

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There are a few different types of boundaries out there. The ones that usually come to mind when boundaries are brought up, though, are emotional boundaries. They relate to sharing how you feel about certain things. This can be related to various aspects in your life such as your body, your familial status, or your work. Sometimes these topics include sensitive information, so knowing how to put up a boundary there is important.

The sharing also goes both ways. Knowing what you’re comfortable saying is one thing, but knowing what you’re comfortable hearing is also important. Sometimes you do not want to be involved in someone else’s family or relationship drama. So, that’s why one needs boundaries to stop this type of oversharing.

#2

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "Oh! That's not going to work for me. What other options are there?" To me, this is a really kind phrase. When I'm in a customer service situation, people are giving me options, and honestly, neither of those options are going to work for me. I'm not upset. I'm not mad. I just say, "Oh! What other options are there?" and it has been really effective. 

kami_orange , Karolina Grabowska Report

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#3

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I've asked you to stop multiple times, and you still keep doing that. What is going on?" This phrase works if you are genuinely confused or really curious, like, "I've asked you to stop, and you haven't stopped? Tell me what's going  on?" It doesn't work very well if you are being snarky and sarcastic. But if you are sincerely confused, like, "Hey, tell me more about what's happening? Somewhere there's a communication gap?" Like, "I asked you to stop? You still keep doing the thing? Talk me through your thought  process." This is a good phrase.

kami_orange , Liza Summer Report

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Em
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is a phrase that will instantly put anyone on the defensive. It sounds like something a parent would say to a child, and adults do not like being spoken to that way. It ONLY works in a snarky way, and that's the only way it will be taken.

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Intellectual boundaries are quite similar to emotional ones, but it is about your beliefs, not personal experiences. They are usually related to more polarizing topics such as religion or politics. Being able to disengage and walk away from such conversations can spare you a lot of energy that is usually involved in such discussions.  

Then, there are physical boundaries that are related to touch. This has to do with your personal space as well as friendly touching such as handshakes and hugs. Sometimes, some people can simply stand too close to us and knowing how to voice that feeling politely can save us a lot of discomfort. 

#4

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I hope you're not saying that to me because you think that I agree with you!" You can say this one in that sassy way. Or you can just say it in a sincere, worried way.

kami_orange , Edmond Dantès Report

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Michael Largey
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment" - Francis Urquhart. "House of Cards"

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#5

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation Here are five boundary phrases for when people ask overly personal questions.

1. Oh! Why do you ask?
2. Oh! People sure keep asking that, don't they?
3. I'm not sure what answer you're looking for with that question.
4. Oh wow! That's a really personal question to ask someone!
5. That's a sensitive topic for me. Let's talk about something else!

kami_orange , Edmond Dantès Report

#6

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I want to listen to you share this, but unfortunately, I'm not in a good headspace for this topic right now." People in my life who I love really, really matter to me. I do my best to really show up for them. Sometimes I don't have the bandwidth, I don't have the energy, and I have my own stuff going on, so it's not a good time for that. A phrase like "Hey, I want to listen to you share this, but I'm not in a good headspace for this topic right now." can be really helpful. If possible, I will tell them when I will be available to talk about that.

kami_orange , Liza Summer Report

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Matthews
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Just covering a nasty comment. BTW, this strategy is both empathetic and self respecting. I want to start using it from now on!

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If the touching is more intimate, then you’re talking about sexual boundaries. This often has to do with kissing and sexual intimacy. Often, consent plays a big part in knowing and setting your boundaries. However, it’s not only physical. When you set your sexual boundaries, you can tell your partners how much you wish to undress or not, how you wish to be spoken to, and other details.

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#7

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "You interrupted me. I wasn't done speaking." "Oh! Hold up! You interrupted me. I wasn't done speaking." "Mmm-hmm. Yes. So what I was saying was that in the past..." Any script I offer about "interrupting" is super sensitive. Are there people who interrupt because of how their brains work? Yes. Are there people who interrupt because there's a power dynamic and they don't feel like they need to listen to the person who is speaking? Yes. Are there people who interrupt because their culture has cooperative overlap? Yes. There are many reasons that someone might interrupt, and there are times we need to say, "Oh! Hold on! I wasn't done speaking."

kami_orange , SHVETS production Report

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Dirk Daring
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2 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When interrupted, I don't stop talking. I just continue speaking as if this train has no brakes. The interrupter always gets a very awkward, uncomfortable look on their face. Interrupters hate being no-sold.

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#8

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation If someone was trying to hug you and you didn't want to hug them, would you directly say, "Oh, I don't want a hug. Please don't touch me." or would you indirectly say, "Oh! I just prefer a high-five!"

kami_orange , Monstera Production Report

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phoenix_rising
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Honestly, I would prefer and use the first option. I want to be direct and straightforward and if I don't want a hug from someone, I probably don't want them touching me in any way (so a high five wouldn't work).

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#9

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation Not all phrases are for all situations or for all people. In my experience working with a majority of white clients in the Midwest to Rocky Mountain area of the United States, about 70% of people, when they're confronted with someone saying something racist, fatphobic, homophobic, or just problematic in general, just don't say anything because they don't know what to say. Having a phrase like "Hmm. What an odd thing to say out loud?" is better than saying nothing! If you're someone who's already comfortable asserting your boundaries, your reaction to this is, "Oh, that's really passive! Just tell them to f- off!" or whatever, this is not the phrase for you! Like I said, not all phrases are for all people or all situations.

kami_orange , Anna Shvets Report

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Lisa B
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"What an odd thing to say out loud". I love this, buried in the paragraph of explanation.

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Material boundaries are also a big deal. This is all about your finances and possessions. Here, you might consider whether lending money is an option for you and, if it is, how much and to whom you are comfortable giving. But that’s not all. Deciding whether you want to lend someone your books or your car is also a part of it, so is putting a cap on how much you are willing to spend on a trip or an outing.

#10

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation Sometimes people ask questions because they're curious, and they're not questions that I'm going to answer. So, I just say, "Oh, I'm not going to answer questions about that."

kami_orange , Tirachard Kumtanom Report

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Mark (it/urgh)
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Whenever someone says to me, "Can I ask you a question," I always reply, "Of course you can, I'm not guaranteeing I'll answer it, but you can certainly ask."

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#11

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation If someone is being inappropriate, you could directly say, "Hey! This is not a safe space for your bigotry. Knock it off!" Or, you could indirectly say, "Oh. We are not on the same side with this." Don't stay silent. SAY THE THING!

kami_orange , Andrea Piacquadio Report

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Shelli Aderman
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That is far too polite for someone being inappropriate. Just say, “Please stop.”

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#12

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I'm not going to make a decision about that right now. Let me think about it, and I'll get back to you!" or "I'm not going to make a decision about that right now. I need to think about it. Will you please check back with me?" Sometimes people ask questions that I'm not ready to make a decision about, and I'll think about it and get back to them.

kami_orange , Alex Green Report

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witchling
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When I'm angry about something and likely to say something I'll regret later or I know I'm going to be volatile I say 'I need up to 72 hours to think about this before I can respond appropriately.' I find taking that kind of time helps me to look at things from multiple perspectives and gives me a chance to form an intelligent and well received response. If I'm still pissed off 72 hours later I figure that person deserves what ever type of explosion I produce!!

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Then, there are time boundaries as well. Setting them should prevent you from overcommitting and feeling drained. To do so, you have to identify your priorities (career, family time, relationship) and let them guide you when making decisions. If your priority is spending time with family, you might want to say no to taking on extra hours at work. It is also important to prioritize yourself once in a while, and say “no” to things simply because you need some me-time.

#13

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I don't need help with this. I've got it!" One of my friends uses crutches as a mobility aid, and all the time people will come up and try to take stuff out of their hands to be helpful. They have good intentions, but if you grab something from someone on crutches, it often unbalances them and increases the risk of falling! which is very dangerous. A phrase like, "Oh, I don't need help with this. I've got it!" is good for those types of situations. Or any other time people intend to be helpful, but their help is not helping. And you can say, "Oh, I don't need help with this. I've got it!"

kami_orange , Towfiqu barbhuiya Report

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Ael
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who just grabs stuff? You approach the person and ask politely "Can I help you?" and then act according to their reply. That's....basic stuff, isn't it?

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#14

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation If someone tries to push your wheelchair without asking first you can say, "Hey! Please don't touch my wheelchair" or "How would you like if I moved your legs around without asking you huh? I could move you around like a little action figure but that wouldn't be very cool, would it?"

kami_orange , Marcus Aurelius Report

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TwirlyGirly
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Better yet: "Take your hands off of me or I'm calling the police!" If you start pushing someone who uses a manual wheelchair without asking or being asked, it's ASSAULT. Mobility aids are a part of the person who uses them, and there is no difference between coming up behind a stranger who's walking, grabbing them by the shoulders, and pushing them forward and coming up behind a stranger using a manual wheelchair, grabbing the wheelchair's push handles, and pushing them. Both are assault.

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#15

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation THEM: "Have you recently gained weight?"
ME: "I only discussed that with my doctor. Let's talk about something else!"
I only discuss my weigth with my doctor. I only discuss my health with my doctor. I only discuss my body with my doctor or with my partners or my very best friends. This is not a topic I'm going to get into with nosy people! If people are being nosy about your weight, your health, your body, whatever, you can say, "Oh! I only discuss that with my doctor. Let's talk about something else!" and change the subject.

kami_orange , Alex Green Report

Note that not all boundaries are always set in stone. Sometimes we push our own boundaries and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For example, you might not feel like sharing your relationship woes with a person you just recently met. But, once you have established trust, you might feel like opening up. To know whether it’s the right move, try to listen to your gut. If sharing feels comfortable—go for it.

#16

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "Oh! That is a really inappropriate thing to say!" Notice how it changes when I change the disruptor. "Yikes! That's an inappropriate thing to say!" A disruptor is an exclamation, statement, or noise that stops what's happening. They're useful when you're setting boundaries, typically with strangers or people you're not very emotionally close with, and you need them to pause and stop whatever is going on.

kami_orange , Anna Shvets Report

#17

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation I could directly say, "Hey! That's not okay! Please don't do that here." Or I could indirectly say, "I would appreciate it if you didn't do that again." Some people are more comfortable with direct, and some people are more comfortable with indirect.

kami_orange , Daniele La Rosa Messina Report

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Tabitha
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

“Do you REALLY have no idea just how stupid you look doing that?” Do you REALLY have no idea just how much of an a*****e you sound like saying things like that?” “You know, that’s NOT the flex you seem to think it is”. Those have worked for me. People who say or do the inappropriate are generally too stupid to come up with any kind of smart—-or smart a*s—-comeback when you call them out like that.

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#18

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation So, I'm existing as a fat person trying to sit down in my assigned and paid-for seat at this event, and it's right next to this masculine presenting person who's like limbs akimbo, right? Arms spread out, legs spread out; they were taking up all the space. In that moment, I had a couple of options. I could directly say, "Oh! I need more space than that. Will you please scoot over?" Or I could indirectly say, "Oh! I don't know if we're both gonna fit!" Because I have just as much right to put my beautiful fat body in that space that I paid for and was assigned as they do! 

kami_orange , Product School Report

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babyhedgehog6 avatar
Isa's left eye
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's not just a fat thing, manspreaders's legs typically take up enough space for 2-4 thin people!

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All in all, there are a lot of situations where drawing a line is very important. Being able to do so with one quick phrase can really help you feel more confident in your decision. So, memorize the phrases in this list that suit you and your life. Maybe next time you are stumped by a nosy question, you won’t be lost for words. 

#19

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation "I see your message, and I'll respond more later when I have time to give you my full attention." I actually have this one programmed into my phone. I can just type a couple letters, and it auto fills this. Because sometimes people message me things that I'm like, "Oh! I see this. I am acknowledging that I saw this." Especially if they're sharing something personal, vulnerable, or whatever, but I'm not in the right headspace to respond fully at that time. Then I get back to them later. One of the things I do to make sure I get back to them later is go back in and mark that message as "unread" so it shows up in my notifications so I don't forget!

kami_orange , Tofros.com Report

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June
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is more about respect and empathy (not leaving the other one on read) than boundaries imo

#20

"What An Odd Thing To Say": This Boundary Coach Is Teaching People Phrases To Use In Any Situation If someone wants to shake your hand, especially at work, but you don't want to, you can directly say, "Oh, I don't shake hands. I'm excited to be here! Let's get this meeting started, shall we?" Or you can indirectly say, "I prefer just a friendly wave. It's a germ thing! Should we get started?"

kami_orange , Pixabay Report

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INGI
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

These days, you can offer an elbow or fist to bump and people won't think it's all that strange.

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