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  • Writer's pictureBethany Nicole

Home For The Holidays: 50 Family Friendly Boundary Scripts

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

Family Friendly Boundary Scripts and Phrases For The Holidays.

Woman holding open arms in snow
🎅Hello Holidays!

While the spirit of the season is warm and fuzzy, family functions aren't always so cozy. *Le Sigh *


But that's ok because, with these boundary scripts, you have the keys to a Happy Holiday--right at your fingertips!


Let's be honest...sometimes setting boundaries is uncomfortable. It can be awkward, overwhelming and with family can feel nearly impossible. But by using these tried and true Boundary Scripts you can take the guesswork out of boundary setting and can have a happy, healthy, and for heaven's sake, emotionally safe, holiday season!


The Three-Strike Boundary Method


Why Do We Need Boundaries?

christmas plant

Because people are people.


People can overstep, trigger us, hurt our feelings, and sometimes not be very nice to us, (intentionally or otherwise.) Often we have to teach people how to treat us, simply because we are all different. In my own past, I would get very caught up in the "How could they do/say that, they are supposed to be my friend/family member, partner, etc."spiral. And while we should of course take note of that when deciding who we allow access to us and in what way, I was also taking it waaay too personally. Sometimes people are just people.


That means even with close friends, family members, or intimate partners there will be times when boundaries will have to be drawn. We are the only ones inside our minds, hearts, and bodies so we are the only ones who can communicate what is ok with us, and what just isn't. Boundaries are boundaries. They too are not necessarily personal, it is just communicating to someone "Hey you overstepped, and that hurt or caused me harm. Please don't do it again."


Boundaries are boundaries and people are people. So we learn to communicate with others when something has gone too far for our liking or crossed a line we don't care for. Then hopefully they take in that information and move forward from a different place.


The Three-Strike Boundary Method

Santa looking surprised

The most effective boundary method on the market(at least in my humble opinion) is the Three Strike Method. It's simple, effective, and oh-so life-saving. It works about like it does in baseball, three strikes and someone(or you) are out.


Strike 1. If someone crosses the line- You set a boundary.


Strike 2. Someone crosses it again. You repeat the boundary and provide an action statement (Ex: If you ask me that again I'm going to hang up the phone)


Strike 3. They cross the boundary one more time. You do the action piece. No further explanation needed.


(Although I have provided a few just in case they make you feel more comfortable)



Alright so now you've gotten the basic concept, let's see those scripts!



Boundary Scripts: Strike 1




Feel free to take a starter phrase from column A and combine it with a finisher from B.


While A can stand alone, some people feel more comfortable adding a B.


Remember, boundaries are a skill. As you go you will find your sweet spot with them. You can start off adding some B's until you feel comfortable enough to just go with the A's. Or maybe A's and B's are your sweet spot. Whatever works for you is perfect.🎁

A:

  • I'm not comfortable talking about this

  • I would rather not talk about this

  • That is not information I am comfortable sharing

  • I won't be talking about this

  • That is not a subject I am comfortable with

  • This is not a subject I will be discussing

  • This topic of conversation doesn't feel safe/healthy/comfortable to me

  • (Please) don't talk to me that way

  • (Please) do not speak to me in that tone of voice

  • (Please) do not talk about me that way

  • (Please) do not bring that up in front of me


B:

  • Let's pick a new topic

  • Let's change the subject

  • Let's talk about something else

  • How about we talk about x, y, or z, instead

  • At this time

  • With anyone/family/you

  • Please rephrase that.

  • Please lower your voice.

  • Please change your tone.

  • Please talk about something else.

  • Please use different language with me




Boundary Scripts: Strike 2


A:

  • I have already said I do not feel comfortable talking about this/being talked to this way.

  • I have already asked you to please stop asking/bringing it up

  • I have already asked you to stop speaking to/about me this way.

  • I said I do not like or feel comfortable with this

  • I already said I will not be discussing this

  • I have already expressed my discomfort around this

  • I have already been very clear about how I feel about this


If you continue I will...


B:

  • Hang Up the Phone

  • Walk Away

  • Not Speak With You Anymore

  • Leave The Room

  • Go Home

  • Leave The Party

  • Leave the House

  • Not Be Coming Back

  • Take Some Space From You



Boundary Script: Strike 3



Do It.


Whatever that Thing was you said you were going to do... Do it.


A:

  • Hang Up The Phone

  • Walk Away

  • Leave

  • Stop Speaking To Them

  • Walk Out Of the Room/House

  • Go Home


You don't have to say anything on Strike 3 if you don't care to. They have been warned twice. Yet if you feel more comfortable adding some parting words, here are some Scripts for that.


B:


  • I have asked twice to change the subject, but since that is not being respected I am going to walk away now.


  • This (conversation/room/gathering) no longer feels safe for me. I am going to leave now.


  • I can see my boundaries are not going to be respected, so I am going to excuse myself from this.


  • I will not allow myself to be talked to(about) that way. I am leaving now.


  • I am not okay with you speaking to(or about) me that way, as I've said twice. I will be leaving now and I won't be coming back.


Boom. That's it!


Boundary Sequence Complete! You are now a master of boundaries, my friend. Yep, these holiday family festivities won't know what hit 'em! You will walk in(and out) of them feeling empowered, safe, and hopefully comfortable.


But if you have some lingering questions about boundaries, here are some Frequently Asked Questions Around Them.



FAQ


Are Boundaries Mean?

Not at all. Actually boundaries keep everyone safe. Think about it, if you were hurting someone you cared about, wouldn't you want to know about it? Boundaries can feel uncomfortable because often we are taught not to have any. Especially in relationships with people who like using us as doormats. But people who have your true best interests at heart, want to be sure you are ok and want to know if you are not.


If you are struggling with the concept of boundaries being mean, there are many nice ways to phrase them, and that is why I added section B on Strike 1 and 3. You can be nice but also firm. Calm but also clear. Kind but also boundaried.


How Often Should I Repeat A Boundary?

As many times as it takes. However, after the 3rd strike, you should definitely begin thinking about limiting people's access to you. If you have expressed something clearly twice and it's still being trampled, that person is really telling you they don't care about you or your feelings very much. You have told them something is hurting you, and they are continuing to do it anyway. With friends like that...


What If The Other Person Doesn't Agree?

Tough cookies. They don't have to. It is not up to them to decide how what they are doing is affecting you. You have every right to decide how you are spoken to, who gets access to you, and what is said to or about you in your presence.


You have to watch this one because sometimes people will try to minimize, invalidate, or argue with you about your boundaries. "oh you're fine." "oh don't be so dramatic" "Oh we were only joking, don't be so sensitive." No dice. It's your decision how you are spoken to and what kind of jokes are acceptable, and ones at your expense, simply will not be tolerated. It is a boundary, not a debate. Boundary set. Discussion over.



What If The Other Person Refuses To Respect My Boundary?

I hate to say it but this does happen. Especially with emotionally immature parents, narcissists, and a variety of other personality disorders. They can end up mocking your boundaries (happened to me) only holding them grudgingly or refusing to hold them at all. Their choice. Followed by...your choice.


If someone outright refuses to respect your boundaries, that's a HUGE red flag. At that point, you might want to begin considering restricting access, as in maybe not speaking to them anymore. Yes, even if it is a family member, and yes, even if it is only temporary. That type of behavior is someone basically telling you they do not care if they cause you harm. Believe them on that one.


To Sum It Up...


Love neon sign

So there you have it folks!


You are now ready to rock and roll around the Christmas tree with no fears of the holiday festivities being laced with painful interactions or traumatic memories.


Now that is certainly something worth celebrating!


Happy Holidays!


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