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Can You Have Boundaries Without Negotiation?

I loved learning about boundaries. For many years, I had very few, and it meant the things I cared about got run over a lot. I can’t really blame anyone else; how could they know I had a boundary if I never asked for it to be respected?

Posted: 19/03/2024

Read Time/Watch Time

5 minutes

Who should read this?

Veterinarians, vet nurses, vet techs, employers.

Author(s)

Melanie Barham

Region

Global content

Can you have boundaries without negotiation?

I loved learning about boundaries. For many years, I had very few, and it meant the things I cared about got run over a lot. I can’t really blame anyone else; how could they know I had a boundary if I never asked for it to be respected?

It wasn’t until I started to develop negotiation skills that I started to understand and be able to exercise boundaries with my work, home, family, and friends. Without the ability to ask for what you want and convince someone to respect it or give you what you want, boundaries are hope and a little more.

Why we need to incorporate negotiation into boundaries

This is one of the reasons I think we all need to get better at negotiation; to have better resilience, we need better skills to ask for the things we need. I also believe negotiation is a foundational skill for good communication. Many of us are better at advocating for animals than for ourselves and it shows! But I’m not here to pick on you; let’s use those amazing skills you’ve developed while advocating for animals to start advocating for yourself.

Boundaries stop being a fantasy when we can ask for, and receive the leeway to put them into action. Negotiation supports effective boundaries by creating a space for two people to work out how the boundaries will look, be put into place, measured, and what success looks like. Skillful negotiation is doing this with empathy, a calm demeanour, and clarity.

Furthermore, articulating clearly what you want and need will help keep you in a job longer, or give you a clear sign that it’s time to go. What’s worse than staying in a place that can’t meet your needs for way too long? I’d say not much in career satisfaction land. Even if you don’t get what you want the first time around, you’ll get some great information you can work with to make more informed decisions in the future.

If you’re thinking “Well, that will never happen, I’m a terrible negotiator.” My friend, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. I know because I taught myself, and I have taught others. 

Negotiation is a learned skill

It’s true, negotiation is a learned skill. Very few people were born great at negotiation. And if you can learn about 8 million bacteria names while running on no sleep in veterinary or vet tech school, you can 100% learn how to negotiate more effectively.

If you’re looking to improve your skills in negotiating, check out our new course, The Successful Negotiator.

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