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What to say to someone who doesn’t respect boundaries

What to say when someone won't respect boundaries

It can be really hard to find the words to say to someone who continually doesn’t respect your personal boundaries whether it’s a good friend or a family member.

Chloe had always had a difficult relationship with her mother who had raised her as a single parent. Her mom, Genevieve, was divorced, didn’t have any intimate relationships, and interfered in Chloe’s life.

Chloe decided to take her older son, Felix, out of after-school care because he didn’t want to go anymore. Chloe and her husband were paying a lot of money monthly for the care, so it made sense to take their son out. The next day, Chloe mentioned to her mother that they were removing Felix from the program. Genevieve said it was a bad idea, went behind Chloe’s back, called Chloe’s husband, and said, “We need to have a meeting about this. I don’t want my grandson leaving the after-school care. Felix is too young at 11 years of age to go home on the bus alone.” Chloe’s husband told Genevieve that the decision had already been made and an email had been sent to remove him from the program.

What was shocking about the situation is that Genevieve thought that it was her decision to make even though she was not her grandson’s primary caregiver or paying the monthly fee. She was now interfering in Chloe’s parenting decisions and her marriage. Genevieve could not respect Chloe’s basic boundaries as a person or as an adult.

Have one of the comebacks below ready for the next time they cross the line. Remember, what you will allow is what will continue.

Comebacks for someone who won’t respect boundaries

  1. I need you to respect my boundaries if you have anything to say to me you can say it in private.
  2. No means no, now let it go.
  3. Your comments about X are not acceptable.
  4. Please don’t ask me again. I told you last time that I don’t feel comfortable with X.
  5. I will not tolerate any disrespect from you or anyone else.
  6. I’m sorry you got offended that one time you were treated the way you treat everyone all the time.
  7. I know, I know, I stood up for myself, I’m so mean.
  8. WHAT part of NO don’t you understand?
  9. You have a right to your opinion and I have a right to ignore it.
  10. Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to people that stress you out.


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More top ten comeback lists you might like

Be prepared next time someone won’t respect your boundaries

If you have to deal with someone who won’t respect boundaries and who gives you a hard time, our bundle Snappy Comebacks any Situation can help you out. Be prepared for difficult people with clever responses on your phone or device at any time or anywhere.

Why do some people have trouble respecting boundaries?

There are many reasons why some people may have trouble respecting boundaries. Here are a few possible reasons:

  1. Lack of awareness: Some folks may not be aware of what healthy boundaries look like or may not understand the importance of respecting other people’s boundaries because of the way they grew up.
  2. Personal history: Individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse in the past may struggle with boundaries, as they may not have had their own boundaries respected. They may have never been taught what a personal boundary is.
  3. Cultural or societal norms: Some cultures or societies may place less emphasis on personal boundaries, which can make it more difficult for individuals to understand or respect them. What is considered appropriate is one culture is frowned in another culture.
  4. Personality traits: Certain personality traits, such as impulsivity or a lack of empathy, may make it more difficult for individuals to recognize or respect boundaries.
  5. Power dynamics: In some situations where there is a power imbalance, for example at workplace or in a relationship, individuals with more power may be more likely to violate others boundaries.

Whatever the reason, it’s never okay to violate someone’s personal boundaries. It’s important to always seek consent and respect other people’s boundaries, whether in personal or professional relationships.

The role of counselling and self-care

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When you are dealing with someone who doesn’t respect boundaries and you find it stressful, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counselor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home.

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

When someone just won't respect your boundaries

Do you have any tips or suggestions for someone who won’t respect boundaries, leave them in the comments below.


Ever feel like you don’t know what to say to challenging people? Grab our FREE starter guide, so you know not only what to say- but how to say it.

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4 Responses

  1. heres one i use to when someone asks for nudes…..

    guy: nudes?

    girl: let me ask my mum

    guy: wait what!?

    girl: she said no, sorry

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