A question I’m asked a lot is, “Why aren’t my boundaries sticking?”

There are three key reasons boundaries don’t stick:

First, It wasn’t a boundary in the first place.

A request or wish is not a boundary. A boundary is not a boundary unless you have a measure of control regarding the consequences of the boundary being crossed.

Second, you care more about their agreement than you care about keeping a boundary, so you keep allowing the unwanted behavior hoping they will understand.

Third, there’s no consequence for crossing the boundary. Don’t set a boundary unless you can follow through, otherwise you lose credibility and decrease cooperation.

Remember, even during the holidays, good boundaries make for good relationships.