How to Deal with Boundary Pushers

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Interacting with someone who just will not listen to your “no” can be infuriating. Have you ever had this experience?

You try to say no but the person keeps insisting? You say no again and they insist some more.

How to Deal with Boundary Pushers

They might pull a guilt trip on you, or might keep insisting on ways that you can make their request work for you, even though you have already said no.

No matter how many times you say no, the person does not move on from their request to you.

Do you know anyone who fits this description?

It might be a direct superior… or a colleague… a team member… or even a friend or family member.

I call these types of people boundary pushers.

Boundary pushers simply will not take no for an answer. Their needs come above and beyond the needs of everyone else, whether or not they are consciously aware of this. They are only satisfied when they can get you to do what they want you to do.  Their needs come first.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret…

NO ONE WANTS A BOUNDARY PUSHER IN THEIR LIFE.

No one.

Trust me. Ask around on the street, do a poll…

No one wants a boundary pusher in their life.

Now, you may attract boundary pushers…

There may be a certain level of comfort or familiarity in interactions with boundary pushers…

But when it comes down to it, no one truly wants a boundary pusher in their life.

Interactions with boundary pushers can be tricky and stressful to navigate. Encountering a boundary pusher at work can be complex because you may feel an obligation towards your boss or your team. Or you may fear that you could lose your job if you don’t just do what the boundary pusher keeps insisting upon.

But here’s another little secret for you…

Boundary pushers lose their power when you push back with calm, direct communication.

In previous posts, I’ve explored Setting Boundaries and Sticking to Them and Setting Better Boundaries.

Today, we’re going to look at how to push back in a way that will bring you closer to stress-free communication at work.

How to Deal with Boundary Pushers

Pushing back does NOT mean being aggressive. 

Dealing effectively with a boundary pusher involves:

1.  Identifying how you are feeling when your needs are not being respected.

2.  Calmly verbalizing how you are feeling. For example, “I am not feeling heard right now”.

3.  Standing your ground with respect to your needs.  The broken record technique, where you repetitively keep using the same sentence, can be effective.

4.  Letting the boundary pusher deal with their own emotions and frustrations instead of feeling responsible for disappointing or upsetting them.

Boundary pushers retain their power over you:

1.  If you choose to not verbalize that your needs are not being respected.

2.  If you address the issue while your emotions are too volatile and react in an overly aggressive, or irrational manner.

The choice of how to respond is up to you.  Choose carefully.  Because whether or not a boundary pusher keeps pushing you or moves on to someone else is up to you.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Find Balance by Saying Yes to Yourself First

Setting Boundaries and Sticking to Them

The Integrated Brain State:  Balancing Thoughts and Feelings

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech-Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two neurodivergent children, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette

Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A) works with middle managers who want to communicate authentically so they can effectively lead their teams without losing themselves. As a former Speech Language Pathologist, Lindsay applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication and connection to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect in their teams, so that everyone can bring their best selves to work.

Lindsay’s approach has been profoundly influenced by her work with First Nations organizations, her experience as a parent to two children with pervasive mental health challenges, and the premature loss of both of her parents. These experiences have taught Lindsay great lessons about the power of excellent people skills that extend well beyond her professional expertise.

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Hi, I'm Lindsay

Leadership communication skills to elevate team performance.

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