Tag Archives: communication

Setting Boundaries

Setting Boundaries with Frenemies

In every social circle, there are friends, acquaintances, and then, occasionally, frenemies. Frenemies, or those who present themselves as friends but act in ways that undermine you, can be challenging to navigate. Establishing boundaries with frenemies is crucial for maintaining mental and emotional well-being.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you set those boundaries effectively and protect your well-being.
First – Understand the Frenemy Dynamic

Frenemies can often be subtle in their undermining actions, making it tricky to identify and address their behavior. Common traits of frenemies include:

  • Gossiping: They may spread rumors or talk negatively about you behind your back.
  • Backhanded Compliments: Their compliments often come with an undercurrent of negativity
  • Inconsistency in Behavior: They may be supportive one moment and critical the next.
  • Competition: They seem to view your achievements as a threat rather than a cause for celebration.

Recognizing these patterns is the first step toward setting necessary boundaries.

Why Boundaries Are Important.

Boundaries are essential in any relationship to ensure mutual respect and understanding. With frenemies, boundaries help protect your self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being. They prevent the frenemy from having undue influence over your emotions and actions.

6 Steps to Establish Boundaries

  1. Identify the Behaviors That Need Addressing: Be clear about what actions or behaviors from the frenemy are unacceptable to you. This clarity will help you communicate your boundaries effectively.
  2. Communicate Clearly and Assertively: When setting boundaries, use “I” statements to express your feelings without sounding accusatory. For example, “I feel uncomfortable when you make jokes at my expense,” instead of “You always insult me.”
  3. Limit Personal Information Sharing: Keep your conversations with frenemies surface-level. Avoid sharing sensitive or personal information that they could use against you.
  4. Set Limits on Interaction: Decide how much time and energy you want to invest in the relationship. It’s okay to decline invitations or distance yourself if interactions with the frenemy leave you feeling drained or upset.
  5. Be Consistent: Consistency is key to maintaining boundaries. If a frenemy crosses a line, address it every time it happens. This reinforces your boundaries and shows that you are serious about them.
  6. Seek Support from True Friends: Surround yourself with friends who genuinely support and uplift you. Their positive influence can help counterbalance any negativity from frenemies.

Strategies for Maintaining Boundaries

  • Practice Self-Care: Prioritize activities that boost your mental and emotional health. Exercise, hobbies, and relaxation can help you stay resilient against any negativity from frenemies.
  • Reevaluate the Relationship: Over time, assess whether maintaining a relationship with a frenemy is worth the effort. Sometimes, it’s healthier to let go of toxic relationships altogether.
  • Use Social Media Wisely: Be mindful of your interactions on social media. You can unfollow or mute a frenemy without fully severing ties, reducing their presence in your digital life.

Dealing with Reactions

Frenemies might resist or react negatively to your boundaries. They might try to guilt-trip you, manipulate situations, or increase their negative behavior. Stand firm and remember why you set those boundaries in the first place. If necessary, limit your contact further or seek advice from a trusted friend or counsellor. Better still, work on strengthening your own Emotional Intelligence so that you can construct effective boundaries.

Establishing and maintaining boundaries with frenemies is a proactive step toward safeguarding your emotional and mental well-being. By identifying problematic behaviors, communicating assertively, and being consistent, you can manage these challenging relationships more effectively. Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your happiness and peace of mind over maintaining a relationship that brings negativity into your life.

5 ways to act in an emotionally intelligent way when confronted with mean behaviour

Dealing with mean behaviour can be challenging, but responding with emotional intelligence can help diffuse conflicts and maintain your composure. Here are five ways to act in an emotionally intelligent way when confronted with such behaviour:

  1. Stay Calm and Composed: Maintain your emotional balance by staying calm and composed in the face of mean behaviour. Take deep breaths and avoid reacting impulsively. This helps you think clearly and respond effectively without escalating the situation.
  2. Practice Empathy: Try to understand the underlying reasons behind the person’s behaviour. Often, people who act mean may be dealing with their own insecurities or personal issues. By empathizing with their situation, you can respond in a more compassionate and understanding manner.
  3. Set Boundaries: Firmly and respectfully establish your boundaries. Let the person know that their behaviour is not acceptable to you, and you expect to be treated with respect. Use “I” statements to express your feelings, such as “I feel hurt when you say/do this.”
  4. Use Active Listening: Listen actively to what the person is saying without interrupting. Show that you are genuinely interested in their perspective, even if you disagree. This can help de-escalate the situation and create an environment where they may be more open to constructive communication.
  5. Choose Your Battles Wisely: Not every mean comment or action requires a response. Sometimes, it’s best to ignore minor incidents and not give them the attention they seek. Focus your energy on addressing the more significant issues or conflicts that truly matter to you.

Remember that dealing with mean behaviour may require ongoing efforts, and it’s essential to prioritize your well-being and mental health. If the situation continues or escalates, consider seeking support from friends, family, or a professional counsellor who can provide guidance on how to handle it effectively.

Person Centred Workshops

At Balance4Life Programs I take a person-centred approach to workshops. This is an approach that prioritizes the needs, perspectives and lived experience of the participants in designing and delivering the workshop. This means that each workshop series is different to previously delivered workshops.

By recognizing that every participant is unique, with their own experiences, values, and preferences, I seek to create a supportive and non-judgmental environment where each participant can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Workshops at Balance4Life programs include:
Tailoring content

Rather than presenting a generic workshop, a person-centred approach involves designing the content of the workshop based on the specific needs and goals of the participants.

This may involve conducting a Social + Emotional Intelligence assessment or learning style assessment prior to the workshop to identify the areas of focus that would be most relevant and meaningful to the participants. Content is regularly reviewed to enable all participants to have a positive learning experience.

Encouraging participation

A person-centred approach encourages active participation and engagement from the participants, rather than a passive learning experience. This can involve incorporating activities, discussions, and exercises that allow participants to share their own experiences and perspectives, and to learn from each other.

Creating a safe space

To facilitate open and honest communication, it’s important to create a safe and supportive environment in the workshop. This can involve establishing ground rules for respectful communication, providing opportunities for confidentiality, and acknowledging and validating participants’ feelings and experiences.

Being flexible

A person-centred approach recognizes that participants may have different learning styles, preferences, and needs, and seeks to be flexible in accommodating these differences. This can involve providing multiple options for activities or exercises, or adapting the pace or structure of the workshop based on feedback from participants.

Overall, a person-centred approach to workshops is beneficial in creating an inclusive, supportive, and empowering learning experience for participants. By prioritizing the needs and perspectives of the participants, each workshop can be tailored to meet their unique needs and goals, and facilitate their personal and professional growth.


Inspirational Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Inspirational leadership and Emotional Intelligence are two important concepts that are closely intertwined. Leaders who motivate and guide others towards a shared vision or goal are inspirational, while emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as those of others.

Leaders who possess high emotional intelligence are better equipped to connect with their team members and inspire them to work towards a common purpose. In a recent series of sessions with a national company, I was privileged to work with a leadership group. We looked at how to communicate effectively, build trust and empathy, and create a positive work environment where people feel valued and supported.

Inspirational leaders with high emotional intelligence are also skilled at managing conflict and addressing issues that arise within their team. Learning Emotional Intelligence skills helps leaders at all levels to remain calm and level-headed in difficult situations. Ultimately this will help to de-escalate tensions by modelling emotionally intelligent responses within teams and find solutions that benefit everyone.

Being a Better Listener

Being a better listener can enhance your emotional intelligence in several ways. Emotional intelligence involves the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions in the moment, as well as the emotions of others.

Here are a few ways that being a better listener can boost your emotional intelligence:

  • Increased empathy: When you listen attentively to others, you become more attuned to their feelings, needs, and perspectives. This can help you develop greater empathy for others, which is a key component of emotional intelligence.
  • Improved communication: Good listening skills can help you communicate more effectively with others, which can reduce misunderstandings and conflict. This can enhance your emotional intelligence by allowing you to express your own emotions more clearly and understand others’ emotions more accurately.
  • Enhanced self-awareness: Being a good listener can help you become more aware of your own emotional responses and triggers. By observing how others react to different situations, you can gain insight into your own emotional patterns and learn to manage them more effectively.
  • Deeper relationships: Active listening involves paying attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues, which can help you build deeper connections with others. This can lead to more fulfilling and supportive relationships, which are essential for emotional well-being.

Overall, being a better listener can improve your emotional intelligence by helping you understand and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

By practicing active listening, you can develop greater empathy, improve communication, enhance self-awareness, and build deeper relationships. If this sounds like something that you need to improve upon, let’s chat.


“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”  John C Maxwell

Communication is about quite often about what you are not saying, and this was very apparent during the visit of the German Chancellor to the USA to meet the current president.. to use a well worn metaphor… you could have cut the air with a knife with the attitude in that meeting. It was suggested to me that he IS an elderly chap…. Gentleman is not a word that fits this man….. who possibly has a hearing problem and that this was the problem, but it appears not.

Richard Branson has said “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess” and went on to say that he relied on it in his business to make his company successful.

Another quote from Mother Theresa is “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” 

I’ve certainly had the experience of words delivered with a smile on the face to me, but with the deadly intent to strike at the core of my heart….  a mismatch between the energy of the words and the attitude.