Susan McGrath, therapistMost people are aware of physical boundaries like not invading someone’s space, but we also have internal boundaries that protect our thinking, values and beliefs. We set them to protect ourselves and to allow us to treat others respectfully.

We learn our boundaries from our childhood environment. If we’re not allowed to set them healthily from an early age, we’ll struggle to assert and maintain boundaries as adults. We’ll either be too distant and rigid, or others will be able to manipulate us without us feeling that we can do anything about it.

Various areas of our lives have different demands too; for example we may find it easier to hold healthy boundaries in a work role than in a romantic relationship.

Boundaries are directly linked to our ability to respect ourselves, to see our reality clearly and communicate it appropriately. As our boundaries become healthier, our self-esteem rises and vice versa.

Take our quiz from counsellor and Hoffman graduate Susan McGrath and see if you can identify any areas where you could strengthen your boundaries.

There are five scenarios in total – as you answer each one, click the ‘Show Answers’ button beneath it to view feedback on your response and be taken to the next question.

Scenario 1: Assertiveness

A good friend asks to borrow £500 and says they will pay it back in six months’ time. You aren’t comfortable lending them the money.

Do you:


Scenario 2: Physical Boundaries

You’re introduced to someone for the first time in a business meeting. They tell you how much they’ve been longing to meet you. They stand close and touch you on the arm as they speak. You back away, but they come closer again.

Do you:


Scenario 3: Sexual Boundaries

You’re just getting to know someone new at a party. They tell you how attractive they find you, put their arm around your waist and try to kiss you.

Do you:


Scenario 4: Internal Boundaries

You confide in a close friend that you’re struggling with depression and self-harm and that you’re thinking of taking medication. They respond by saying you’re imagining your symptoms, that drugs are addictive and won’t help you, and that you should snap out of it.

Do you:


Scenario 5: Other People’s Boundaries

You’re having a family dinner and you draw attention to the fact that one of your relatives has put on some weight.

Do you:


This quiz is featured in the 2018 issue of Hoffman magazine, which also features articles, top tips and Hoffman Process stories.
To order a FREE copy for yourself, friends or family, click here.