Try to think of a time in the last few days when you said “yes,” or agreed to something that you just didn’t want to do — or maybe that you just didn’t have time to do. But you did it anyway. Why? Did you do it because it “needed” to get done? Did you do it because you wanted to be a “team player,” or maybe because you felt bad about letting someone down? No matter your situation, do you wish you’d been able to push back, to advocate for yourself more, or just say NO?
We all have our boundaries tested from time to time — and they’ve been tested often over the last couple of years. In many cases, the companies we’ve worked for have asked us to perform jobs that should really be done by at least three people, and with so many of us working remotely, it’s been oh-so-easy to start work early in the morning, and then still find ourselves working late into the night. I’m sure you’ve noticed that extra work just tends to get piled onto the “best,” employees more readily, because your bosses know you’ll get it done, and make it work however you have to… But This. Is. Toxic.
And this would be bad enough, but at the same time, many of us are having our boundaries tested in our personal lives. We may have a roommate or spouse who hasn’t quite held up their end of the chores or childcare like we wish they would. Or maybe we have a friend who always seems to ask for a favor, like walking their dog, or a $200 loan to help them out of a bind.
In all of these situations, our boundaries are being pushed, or even completely broken down. The truth is that some people in our lives have zero boundaries, and they are going to try to burst right through every single one of ours… But we cannot let them.
We have to stay strong, guard our free time, protect our sanity, and become the ultimate boundary boss. And the good news is, it can be done! On this week’s podcast, we’re joined by Terri Cole, a licensed psychotherapist and the author of Boundary Boss — The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen, and (Finally) Live Free. She is also the founder of the Boundary Bootcamp and the Crushing Codependency empowerment courses, and she’s going to help us all learn how to say “no” when we’re used to saying “yes,” and put up guardrails when we need them.
Listen in as Terri describes what good boundaries really look like, and why they matter. She also breaks down her “3 Steps to Say No with Ease,” and articulates the problem with saying no… Why are so many of us hesitant to say no? And how can we get suuuuuper comfortable with using that word?
We also discuss how most of us were never taught how to effectively express our preferences, desires or deal-breakers, and how “women are raised and praised to be self-abandoning codependents.” We dive into the biggest + most common obstacles that prevent people from setting healthy limits and speaking truthfully, and look at scripts for people who are looking to communicate more authentically.
We also talk about those tricky (and sometimes terrible) workplace situations we sometimes find ourselves in, with a boss who simply has no boundaries, and treats us as if we’re devoid of them as well. How do you respond to that in a healthy way? We also talk about boundaries in our personal lives. What do you say when it’s a friend — perhaps an old friend who you love dearly — who is asking for something big, like money, or an introduction to your company’s CEO? How can we push back in a way that doesn’t leave them feeling sad or rejected?
Terri and Jean also look at how we can lose the guilt that comes when we say no + the fear that we will “burn a bridge.”
In Mailbag, we tackle a question from a listener who has plans to move to Europe in a few years and is wondering if she should buy a home. And in Thrive, a breakdown on tailoring your clothing — is it really worth it, and where do you go?
This podcast is proudly supported by Edelman Financial Engines. Let our modern wealth management advice raise your financial potential. Get the full story at EdelmanFinancialEngines.com. Sponsored by Edelman Financial Engines – Modern wealth planning. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416
Terri Cole: (00:02)
Over-giving, over-functioning, doing it all. That comes at a cost. And that is a disordered internal boundary. We don’t allow ourselves to rest. We don’t say no to others, even though we want to, even though we’re exhausted or we worked all week. When they want us to help them move or whatever it is, them having a problem creates internal chaos for us. And we just want the problem solved so we can have some peace. That is high functioning codependency.
Jean Chatzky: (00:39)
HerMoney is supported by Fidelity Investments. You work too hard for your money just to let it sit on the sidelines. Fidelity can show you how to demand more from your money every day. Visit Fidelity.com/HerMoney to learn more. Hey everyone, I’m Jean Chatzky. Thank you so much for joining us today on HerMoney. I thought we would start with a little exercise this week really quickly. I want you all to try to think of a time in the last few days, when you said yes or agreed to something that you just didn’t want to do, or maybe that you didn’t have time to do, but you did it anyway. Now I want you to think about why did you do it because it needed to get done? Did you do it because you wanted to be a team player? Or maybe you felt bad about letting someone down? No matter what situation you’re thinking about. Do you wish that you’d been able to push back to advocate for yourself a little bit more or just say, no.
Jean Chatzky: (01:32)
We all have our boundaries tested from time to time. And I don’t think there has ever been a time in history when women’s boundaries were tested more than they have been in the last couple of years. In many cases, the companies that we work for have asked us to perform jobs that really should be done by at least three people. And with so many of us working remotely, it’s been so easy to start work early in the morning and then still find ourselves working late into the night and to all of the most efficient workers out there. I see you. I see you. In fact, I am talking directly to you. I am sure that you have noticed that extra work just gets tiled on to the best employees more readily because your bosses know you’ll get it done and make it work.
Jean Chatzky: (02:33)
However, you have to do that, but I want to be really clear. This is toxic and it would be bad enough, but at the same time, many of us are having our boundaries tested in our personal lives. We may have roommates or spouses who haven’t quite held up their end of the chores or the childcare, or maybe we have friends who always seem to be asking for favors in all of these situations. Our boundaries are being pushed or even completely broken down. And the truth is that some people in our lives have zero boundaries and they are going to try to burst right through every single one of ours, but we can’t let them, we have to stay strong. We have to guard our free time. We have to protect our sanity and become the ultimate boundary boss. We have to learn how to say no. When we are used to saying yes and put up guard rails when we need them. And the good news is today. You’re going to learn all about how Terri Cole is with us. She is a licensed psychotherapist. She’s the author of boundary boss, the essential guide to talk true, be seen and finally live free. She’s also the founder of the boundary bootcamp and crushing codependency empowerment courses. Terri, where have you been? All my life Hi Jean. I’m right here. Thank you so much for being here today.
Terri Cole: (04:05)
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited.
Jean Chatzky: (04:08)
Tell me a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and also what exactly are boundaries and why do they matter?
Terri Cole: (04:18)
Well, what inspired me to write the book was my own state of being a boundary disaster and the pain and the complication in my life that came from my young life in my twenties. I didn’t know that that’s what my problem was, but it was. And then I became a psychotherapist after a career in entertainment, I got into becoming a psychotherapist and I just saw this as an epidemic amongst my clients where no one knew what healthy boundaries were, that they had a right to them, how to express them, how to talk about them, how to set a limit. So for clarity and for ease, the way that I describe having healthy boundaries means that you Jean, you yourself know what your preferences, your desires, your limits, and your deal breakers are. And you have the ability to communicate them when you so choose.
Jean Chatzky: (05:16)
So I have trouble with this. I have talked often on the show about the fact that I have trouble with this. And I have tried many different strategies to embrace my own boundaries, to figure out what they are and to respect them myself. Because I actually think that’s the first step. If I don’t respect my own boundaries, nobody else is going to respect them for me in your book, you have three steps to say no with ease. I want to get to that. But I also want to talk about what the problem is with saying no. Why do we have such a tough time with that?
Terri Cole: (05:56)
Well, when you, about the way that we were raised, many of us were really raised to be good girls, to be nice, to be helpful, to be kind. And I like to say, not that I like it, but it’s true that we were raised in praised for being self abandoning co-dependence because we were so why is it so difficult to say no? Well, many of us were taught that saying, no, makes you selfish, makes you a problem, makes you a drama. Queen makes you a troublemaker, makes you full of yourself. I could keep going. I won’t. But I mean all of these negative myths and assumptions around having good boundaries. So I think that the whole, if you say yes all the time, you’re nice. Of course, when we look at it, logically, we go, well, that isn’t true, but it is like, we’ve been indoctrinated to have the disease to please others.
Terri Cole: (06:52)
And then of course you grow up and you start developing as a human being and pleasing others. When it doesn’t please, you becomes a problem because now we’re angry. We’re bitter. I mean, think about, you know, the stereotypical idea of like a martyred kind of a mother. I was guilting her grown children. You don’t think that that person set out to become that DIA of course not. But you become it when you are so self abandoning, then you have an expectation that others should be filling your bucket up because of the sacrifices, quote, unquote, you’ve made, I’ve done all of this for you. So clearly all super unhealthy, but it would speak to why it’s difficult to say no. And why we, a lot of times we’ll say yes, when we really want to say no.
Jean Chatzky: (07:40)
So is the first step in getting to know, figuring out what your boundaries actually are and how do you go through that exercise?
Terri Cole: (07:54)
Well, in the book, you know, walk the readers through the process of, you know, we all have what I refer to as a downloaded boundary blueprint in your unconscious mind. And this is basically what we learned from our family of origin culture country, uh, what, where you were in the lineup of your siblings. Like there are all of these things and then you have your nature. You might be an introvert, you might be an extrovert. So, you know, there are all of these things that come together that create your boundary blueprint. So the process to make it easier to say no is you have to understand why is it so frigging hard to say, no, maybe you had a maternal impactor as I call them who was a people pleaser. So then of course you internalized that this is the way to be a good mother lover, sister, friend, like this is the way to be a good woman, so to speak.
Terri Cole: (08:48)
And so we have to get all of that information about why, why is this so difficult for me? And I’m walk you through just really listeners can right now just visualize what you learned in your family of origin about saying no, you know exactly what you learned and who you learned it from. So we take those things into consideration. So before you want to say, no, you have to get clear about what you actually want. And a lot of my clients would be like, I just don’t want conflict. I just don’t want to be rejected. I just don’t want problems. I’m like, Hey, that can’t be a goal. Like I understand that. But if that is your driving force, your actual wants preferences. Desires will like never be a factor in your life because it ends up being an empty life is a short term strategy that doesn’t work over decades.
Terri Cole: (09:43)
It really doesn’t. You do end up becoming that bitter martyred after everything I’ve done for you type of a person, because there’s nowhere to go with that behavior. When we are overly, self-sacrificing being driven by fear. That’s not being driven by love that train has one stop and it’s bitter land. And that’s it because there’s nowhere else to go. People don’t really know you is another part of the problem, right? People don’t really know you when we say yes, when we want to say no, we think we’re being nice. But when you really put it in the context of, if you’re doing that with the closest people in your life, they don’t know you. And how can anyone authentically love you if you’re giving them corrupted info or data about you? That makes sense. Yeah.
Jean Chatzky: (10:35)
Yeah. It makes, it makes complete sense. It reminds me an awful lot of how we often talk about people, figuring out why they are the way they are with money. That when you think about it, when you think about your money story or your boundary blueprint, right? I mean, it really does come back to that childhood of origin, that home that you grew up in, and it maybe wasn’t even things that you were taught, but things that you experienced, it was in the ether. And it’s so unbelievably powerful that even in your forties and your fifties and your sixties, it has a hold on you until you deal with it.
Terri Cole: (11:23)
That is a fact the same way we talk about boundary blueprints. You have a financial blueprint, you learn making money, a super hard or making money as easy, or you make money and then you lose it all. But then you make it again. Like there are so many patterns and they do get repeated. And this is really the same thing with boundaries. So for those people who are like, well, how do I say no more easily? Like, how can I do it? I always say the first one is, get clear about what you want. But then the second step is to buy time. So I invite listeners right now. You’re going to do for 48 hours. You are going to buy time. Meaning, you know, auto yes, for the next 48 hours, no matter who asks you to do, what, if it’s something that might be questionable for you, right?
Terri Cole: (12:11)
If you think you’re going to be compelled by the people pleasing Jean or whatever, we buy time, there’s a bunch of things you can say, like, let me get back to you on that. I need to check with my partner or my roommate or my sister, whoever you could also just say, maybe we think we can’t, but maybe it’s just a fine answer for someone. And we can do this in a nice way. We can say, thank you so much for thinking of me. I need to check my calendar. Right? You can say, I appreciate you thinking of me. We can do this the same way. We do everything else. Setting boundaries and setting limits and prioritizing our own preferences does not have to be done with any caustic aggression. It’s completely unnecessary. So once you buy time, you buy 24 hours. I used to have my clients tell someone, oh, I’ve, I’ve instituted a 24 hour decision-making policy.
Terri Cole: (13:05)
So I’ll let you know tomorrow. And then you’ll have people who say, well, I need to know right now. And I always say, well, if you need to know right now, then it will be a no, because I don’t make any instantaneous decisions because I find they’re not usually the best ones that I make. So, but if you can wait until tomorrow, I can let you know them. So the ability to push back a little bit, to know that you have a right to think, to take a moment to pause, right? You don’t not, everyone should have that access to you. And the pressure we put on ourselves too, like, I need to give them an answer and then you can go back. And if it’s a no, and in the book I gave you an, 1,000,000,005 scripts for every scenario known in history. But one of them is, you can just say, thank you for thinking of me, but we’re unavailable on that Sunday. And I want you to be mindful. If when you are going to say, no, you feel like you need to write a dissertation of your reasons and you need to make sure that the person is onboard with your no, because they don’t need to be. And we feel like we need a good enough reason to say no sometimes. And I just want to say my I’ve been a therapist for 25 years. I think sometimes just not wanting to do something is a good reason to not do it.
Jean Chatzky: (14:27)
I think it’s no coincidence. My therapist gave me some words for this at one point. And she said, I’m sorry, but it’s just not workable. She said, there’s so much mystery in that phrase that you’re not going to get pushed back. I don’t try it out often enough. Why do we feel compelled to give reasons when we say no, why do we feel? I mean, what we’re really talking about here is our time. Look, money is a limited resource, but if you want to earn more of it, you can certainly put your efforts into earning more of it. And you can do that. You can’t do that with time. You only get 24 hours in a day. Why are we so willing to just give it away?
Terri Cole: (15:10)
It’s external validation. So when we’re raised to seek external validation, when we’re raised to really want to be liked, to want to be popular, to want people, to think of us in a particular way, saying no and prioritizing our own sanity, time, bandwidth, physical wellbeing, all of those things, when you’ve been raised to really want to avoid social rejection, like we can do a lot of things that are against our better judgment. Think about it from a primal point of view, like nobody wants to get ex-communicated from the pack because you know, in olden times we would die. So there’s a lot in there. There’s a lot that is baked into the reaction. But what I’m finding in the feedback I’m getting from the book and the testimonials is that there is so much liberation. When you learn this, when you learn this skill, when you realize you can be the same, you, whether you’re an introvert, whether you’re an empath, a highly sensitive person, incredibly kind, very dialed into the feelings of others, you can still be you and really have that be your super power instead of it being your Achilles.
Terri Cole: (16:26)
Because I feel like that’s what happens if we don’t get ahold of that as a superpower, it ends up weakening us because we’re exhausted and just energy going everywhere to every other person that you can do it and still be you. But there’s no one way to be a boundary bus in the book I share literally step by step in every single chapter. It’s now back to you. As soon as I talk and teach you something, now it’s back to you. So it’s a section where you are immediately answering questions, right? They’re not writing it just in your mind because it doesn’t help you to theoretically understand how it will be really great to have good boundaries. It really only helps you, if you can imagine yourself doing it. And I want anyone listening to think of it as if you were right, you say yes.
Terri Cole: (17:14)
When you want to say no, if your yes cannot be trusted because all of us know our friends who say yes. And then I say to my husband, after my friend said, yes, I’m like, ah, you know, she said, yes, but that means about 50% chance. She’s going to show, we know you, we see you or you come and you’re bitter about it. There’s like you doing it with big grudging energy. Like do me a favor. Don’t mind if I don’t, please don’t take care of yourself. Don’t blame me. And don’t come. If you don’t want to come, it’s really important. If you’re yes, can’t be trusted. Really? Neither can your no. And ultimately from an emotional standpoint, honestly, you can’t be Justin.
Jean Chatzky: (17:55)
That’s a lot to think about right there. I think it rings incredibly true. It also rings sometimes true of me, which gives me something to think about, right? I mean, I do say yes to things that I just, I really want to go sometimes, but I know I’m not going to be able to go. Clearly I have to work on that. You have something in the book called the boundary boss, bill of rights, which is designed to help out the people, pleasers of the worlds. Can you walk us through that a little bit?
Terri Cole: (18:26)
Sure. I created the boundary boss bill of rights and I put it right in the front because there’s so much confusion because I’ve been teaching this for many years. There’s so much confusion about what rights do I actually have when it comes to boundaries and really our own, sovereignties what we’re talking about. So the first one is you have the right to say no, or yes to others without feeling guilty. The second one is you have the right to make mistakes, to course correct, or to change your mind. And I find that one is a really hard one. It was for me when I was younger, still is hard for me. I do it. But it’s hard where I’m very much, like I said, I was going to do it. I’m going to do it no matter
Jean Chatzky: (19:08)
What, if you do course correct. And you do want to change your mind. What are the words?
Terri Cole: (19:15)
You can be sorry about it. You can say, Hey Bob, when we first talked about this, I underestimated how much time it was going to take. And I’m really sorry, but I realized I actually don’t have the bandwidth to do this right now. So I will have to step out of this project. And I really am sorry. I really thought it was going to be less. Bob might be mad. Bob’s probably going to be mad. And he may say, well, this is very disappointing. I trusted you. I’m sorry about, I know you did. I know you’re disappointed. And yet this is still a decision I need to make. So thank you for understanding to the best of your ability, right?
Jean Chatzky: (19:57)
We have to get over the fact that people are going to be mad at us or annoyed at us or disappointed in us. Right? That was the word growing up that you just didn’t want to hear from your parents. If you were a girl like me, disappointed was the worst. Disappointed was why my parents never gave me a curfew because they knew that all they had to say, if I came in too late, was that they were disappointed and it was never going to happen again. So I get it before you move on to three, can I come back to two for a second and talk or two, one for a second and talk about guilt. Sure. How, if you were raised with guilt and, and I know there is a cultural element to this I’m Jewish. I was raised with guilt. How do we get rid of the guilt?
Terri Cole: (20:46)
Well, part of it is you need to understand it. You need to reframe it. You need to question it like, hold it close. When you’re feeling guilty, instead of running away and trying to take an action that will eradicate it or get rid of it. As you said, realize this is an ingrained response that was taught to you. So the same way you learned it, you can unlearn it, but not by running away from it by questioning it. When I feel guilty, I go, okay, so why am I feeling this way? Do I believe I did something wrong? Or am I being codependently dialed into the disappointment of the other person, which is actually on their side of the street. It’s not my side of the street. There are separate human being. They’re allowed to be disappointed. And that doesn’t mean that I did anything wrong.
Terri Cole: (21:41)
And those two truths can exist simultaneously. So the real answer to your question, Jean is to not go into action. Like when we have uncomfortable feelings, we just want to do, do do, especially if you’re kind of type a getting things done, we just want, what is the action I could take to never feel this again? And the thing is, we’re changing your relationship to guilt. We are bringing it close and we’re looking at it. So we don’t just take it at face value. Like I feel guilty. This means, no, I feel guilty. This means this is what I learned in childhood. If I disappointed my parents, but here’s the thing now is not then. And my boss is not my dad and I’m not 10. So I have compassion for young, little me. I do talk some in the book about the child within stuff, which really has worked that before I became a psychotherapist, that that was like fake.
Terri Cole: (22:47)
I was like, is that who would talk about that? That’s so weird. That’s so dumb that I became a psychotherapist. And I was like, wow, this is so important. And all of us have a child within, at certain ages of development. We had certain injuries that continue to plague us in adulthood. That’s a fact. So that, that was an interesting switch for me. When I became a therapist a long time ago to really value the child’s experience. So that’s my 2 cents on the guilt, but we can’t run away where we have to just the thing we’ve been running from, we just must turn around and look at right in the face and become radically curious about our responses instead of reacting in this condition, habituated way. Let’s question, let’s take a minute. Let’s allow ourselves to be, we can not love it, but it ain’t going to kill you.
Terri Cole: (23:49)
And it’s valuable looking at why we’re feeling the way we are. It’s valuable to understand the guilt because here’s the thing with guilt and the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt says, I think I did something wrong. Shame is like, I am something wrong, right? Shame is this like a whole character, whole life, whole broken in some way that cannot be repaired. So they’re not the same thing. But if you think that guilt says, I think I did something wrong, then you must look and say, did I do something wrong? My mother wanted me to go on the family vacation for two weeks. I am only going on the family vacation for five days. And even that is probably too long, but I’ll do it. So my mother is disappointed, but it is my job to protect myself and my relationships because two weeks on a family vacation is protecting no one because we will all be in abroad by the end or whatever.
Terri Cole: (24:52)
Like you just it’s too long to be with family. That’s it? And so we start getting very logical, like look at it from this objective point of view, you know, Deepak Chopra said to me many years ago, you know, it’s like the highest evolution you can come to is becoming the observer of yourself with out judgment. So I always teach us like, this is where our answers are of self stop being so mean, stop having this inner critic, like judge Judy, living inside your skull, making you wrong about all the things that you’re doing. You only have one mother, you should do what she wants or whatever, because that also, isn’t good for your relationship with your mother because we end up resentful. And I think any of us who have done any of this self-help work we’ve had to renegotiate. I certainly have in my life renegotiate my relationship with lots of people, including my mother. Yeah,
Jean Chatzky: (25:47)
Absolutely. This is an amazing conversation. It’s fascinating. I want to get to the rest of the items on the bill of rights. But before I do that, let me just remind everyone that HerMoney is proudly sponsored by Fidelity Investments. It is no secret that women are on a different financial journey than men. So it’s important to plan for those differences when thinking about retirement and social security and investing and more and Fidelity can help. They’re taking steps to help women demand more from their money because you have worked way too hard to get where you are to keep your money on the sidelines, get the skills, get the investment advice that you need to put your money to work for you. Visit Fidelity.com/HerMoney to learn more. I am talking with Terri Cole, psychotherapist, author of boundary boss. The essential guide to talk true. Be seen, finally live free. Okay. Number three, on the bill of rights,
Terri Cole: (26:48)
Indeed. Number three, you have the right to negotiate for your preferences, desires, and needs. And many of us were taught that negotiating is that gauche. It’s not ladylike. It’s like rude to negotiate for what you want, but it’s not. You have that, right? You have the right to express and honor all of your feelings. If you so choose, which means you are not required to confess all of your feelings to anyone. For any reason, it is your choice. You have the right to voice your opinion, even if others disagree and you can choose not to. If you don’t want to get into it with like uncle Bob who’s, whatever view you don’t have to, you know, you have the right to be treated with respect, consideration, and care. And that really, really starts with treating yourself with respect, consideration, and care, because we need to think about it.
Terri Cole: (27:37)
You literally are setting the bar, your relationship to yourself, to every other relationship in your life. People look to you. And if you treat yourself like crap, talk about yourself badly. Don’t sleep. When you’re tired, overwork over-give, they’re like, great. Keep doing all those things for me, you know, all right, you have the right to determine who has the privilege of being in your life. And I think a lot of us just feel like, oh, my third cousin wants to come to my bachelorette. I kind of just got a letter. No, you actually don’t tell Betty. She’s not invited. Uh, you have a right to communicate your boundaries, limits and deal breakers. You have the right to prioritize your self-care without feeling selfish and you have a right to talk true. Be seen and live free.
Jean Chatzky: (28:23)
I love it. I love it. I hope that you’ll put it on a wall and sign it. Let’s take this into the office for a minute. What if your boss is the kind of person who just has no boundaries who treats their employees? Like they have no boundaries. How do you respond to that in a healthy way? Or is there no healthy way?
Terri Cole: (28:46)
Well, when you’re talking about a power differential, the way that we approach it, the proactive boundary success plan that I would have you use would be different than the way you would approach it. If it was a coworker or a subordinate, right? Because the power dynamic actually dictates what is acceptable and allowable. And then you have to decide from there, because if you’re talking about someone being abusive, then you have to decide, perhaps you need to look for a new job, but there are ways to be proactive. So if you have a boss who loves to call you at all hours on the weekend or whatever, you can suddenly really take up camping, quote, unquote, and be in somewhere that’s out of range. Oh yeah. I’m off the grid this weekend. Like knowing it’s almost like you can anticipate the inappropriate intrusion that this boss may have.
Terri Cole: (29:35)
You can make a simple request to them. Right? I teach you how to make a simple request in book of whatever. It is. Like a simple request that on Fridays I leave on time because I’ve taken my kid to baseball, whatever. But with someone who, what you’re describing is someone who potentially is a boundary bully. And we don’t know that because a lot of times you have people trampling your boundaries and you haven’t said anything and you haven’t alerted them to the fact that there’s a problem. And probably half the time, 40% of the time when you do that, the person will be like, oh, okay. So Fridays Jean’s out at five. So cool. Like they don’t know. And so we make these assumptions and do a lot of projecting like, oh, Bob knows he’s trembling over my boundaries. Now maybe Bob has no life and is a total workaholic.
Terri Cole: (30:30)
And kind of just wants you to be in the workaholic boat with him. But it, Bob’s not paying you to be a workaholic. My feeling is you need to set the boundary and set a limit as to how you will do it. If you’re in a company with an HR department, really know the office rules, even if nobody is like, not everyone is abiding by them. It’s important to know if it’s a big enough company that has office rules, knowing what they are knowing when you’re supposed to be working. And what is your boss asking you to do that is sort of out of those bounds. That makes it easier to
Jean Chatzky: (31:04)
The emails that come early in the morning, late at night from a supervisor, from somebody who has the power. Do you shut it off? Do you put up your out of office? Do you say I’m going to put up my out of office. Do you say I will start checking email at eight 30 in the morning? I hope that’s okay. Or do you not say, I hope that’s okay. Cause what if they said that’s not? Okay.
Terri Cole: (31:30)
Well, here’s the thing. That’s such a good question. I teach people to do a whole proactive boundary success plan, basically in the office where we’re letting people know how we work best what our plan is. Let’s say you come into your office. If people are going back to their office and you have a, a chatty suite-mate who like loves to be like, oh my God, let’s talk about what I did last night. Then you have to say, you can use body language to sort of go into office, turn your body, like don’t lean in and ask questions. Sometimes people will understand. Cause we don’t always have to say it, but then sometimes you need to say, oh, Hey Betty. You know, my, my most productive time is right now till 10:00 PM. So can we pick this up after lunch? That would be great. I want to hear me.
Terri Cole: (32:13)
Cause maybe you like, or maybe you do want to hear her story, but you just don’t want to hear it. Now. There are ways to do it that are nice. And always letting people know, if you can, again, with a bus, you can say, Jeanrally I batch my work because it makes me most efficient. My email time started eight 30 go to this time. Then I come back at whatever. Absolutely. I don’t care unless like a heart surgeon or something like you, nobody needs 24 hours access to you. 24 7. They don’t. And knowing that you have a right to have a life and expecting your boss to give you work-life balance is incorrect because they’re not going to, if they’re a workaholic. So just stating it and it gets easier and easier. I definitely wouldn’t add the, if it’s okay, you can say, so, you know, this is, I have my away message on until eight 30, because I’m doing other things I’m brainstorming and whatever, whatever.
Terri Cole: (33:11)
How about none of your business, maybe I’m sleeping until 8 29 and I’m like, hello, but I’d say more. The more neutral you can be the energy with which we make an energy request. Or we give information to people, the energy with which we bring that is the energy with which they receive. So when you’re cool and you’ve done all of the brief steps that I give you, visualizing it going well. And what I mean when I say that is that you do the thing you want to do. It doesn’t mean your boss is cool with it. It doesn’t mean Bob is like, oh, excellent. I love your boundaries. It means you stood up for yourself and you were talking true and you were negotiating for your needs. And listen, people are not always going to back away as to what we want and that’s life and that’s okay.
Terri Cole: (34:00)
But you saying it is important to you, your self esteem, your self worth, you know why, because how you feel matters, what you want matters, not being on-call 24 hours a day. If you’re not being paid for that matters. So this is where boundaries can come in, but there’s a subtle way to do it. And being proactive is really important. You know who you’re dealing with. You know, if your boss is a boundary bully, you know it right now. So think about those things. Think about the way they respond. And then we approach, and I give you in the book a million, you know, there there’s lots and lots of scripts to deal with. Very difficult people in possible people called boundary destroyers. First-timers mothers in law, mother, all the people.
Jean Chatzky: (34:43)
How about the friends or relatives who are asking for something big, like money or like an introduction to your company, CEO or a valuable contact? How do we push back? How do we say no? In a way that protects a relationship that’s important to us, but doesn’t leave them feeling rejected.
Terri Cole: (35:12)
Well, here’s the thing, how they feel is their side of the street. So I can’t speak to that, right? Because you may do it perfectly. And if you don’t do what they want, they may still feel rejected. So we’re not going to worry about that. How can you do it in a way that honors the way you feel because you love them, but you also are not introducing them to your CEO or whatever with money, you can just say, Hey, I have a no lending policy. It’s not personal to you, but this is way I protect my relationships because I’ve had bad experiences in the past. I appreciate you understanding everyone should have a no lending policy. Literally stopped lending money to anybody, especially someone in your family. Just stop it. It’s going to go bad. Right? Always it is. And if you really want to boundaries are to protect your relationships.
Terri Cole: (35:55)
People are afraid. They’re like blocks it’s mean and rejecting no boundaries are the thing that if you have the courage to do it, they actually protect. They are the bridges to deeper intimacy, not the blocks to deeper intimacy in your relationships. Lending money is such a setup for a complete disaster, just don’t you don’t need to. And people feel very guilty. And obviously, you know, this is, your show is about this, but people feel very guilty. A friend of mine who is an energy expert, when we’re talking about, you know, creating abundance, she always has people say this it’s okay for me to have more money than my friends, my family, and the poor. And then she has them like muscle test to see how that is. And everyone’s like, oh my God, that’s terrible. That’s just the worst thing. Am I greedy in my terrible?
Terri Cole: (36:45)
No, but this is definitely getting that thought is definitely getting in the way of your abundance because it is okay for you to have more money than your family, your friends, and the poor. And you can feel free to give all your money away if that’s what you want to do, but you don’t have anything to feel guilty for. If you’ve done well and worked hard and have more money than other people. And it also doesn’t mean that you should lend them money if you really love them. Because if you were abducted by aliens, you know what, Jean they’d find another way to get the money. Yes. I’m sure that you disappeared off of planet earth, right? You were just gone. They wouldn’t starve.
Jean Chatzky: (37:23)
There’s been a, uh, a phrase lingering in my head as we’ve been having this conversation, I actually hate it and I may get it wrong. But it’s when people say, if you want something done, you ask a busy person. And Kathryn, our producer was nibbling around these, these lines. She found this meme and wrote it down because it struck her as so profound in light of this conversation. And it said just because someone is resilient, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. And I think those both mean the same thing. What do they mean to you in light of this discussion and in light of boundaries?
Terri Cole: (37:59)
Well, what I’ve seen in my practice and it’s been predominantly women who are like, you know, masters of the universe, masters of their universe, making lots of money, they’re resilient, they’re smart. They’re incredibly capable. They’re doing it all, but they’re doing it all at the expense of themselves. And I created this new terminology called high-functioning codependency because my clients didn’t identify with being codependent. And neither did I, it seem, you know, the kind of melody, Beatty, codependent, no more. You have to be involved with an addict. You’re an enabler type of thing. But what I was in my clients was codependent behavior. So what is that that’s being overly invested in the feeling states, the decision, the outcomes, the circumstances of the people in your life, to the detriment of your internal peace or your physical or financial wellbeing. That’s my definition of it. So with the people that going back to Kathryn’s quote about you’re getting it done, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not suffering.
Terri Cole: (39:05)
This means boundaries are not in place because over-giving, over-functioning doing it all that comes at a cost. And that is a disordered internal boundary. We don’t allow ourselves to rest. We don’t say no to others, even though we want to, even though we’re exhausted or we worked all week when they want us to help them move or whatever it is, because we think we must be a good friend or we must do the thing, them having a problem, create internal chaos for us. And we just want the problem solved. So we can have some peace that is high functioning codependency. So I think that there are a lot of women where nobody would look at us and say, cause this was definitely me, certainly in my twenties and into my early thirties, people will be like, she’s got it all together. My go to her.
Terri Cole: (39:54)
She’s the one, you know, that thing go to a busy person, I guess she’ll get it done for you. But I didn’t realize that I was really driven by fear and that other people’s messy lives were messing with my internal peace. And I just wanted them. I wanted to fix it. So if they could just get it together, I could rest or I could feel okay. But that’s codependency where I was unclear about what is my side of the street, my responsibilities, things that are appropriate for me to be responsible for and someone else’s side of the street, even if I love them, but I am not, not even my husband, not even my children. I am not responsible for them. I will be there with them. But instead of making suggestions that they’re not going to take, which is what all high functioning codependents do, I will ask them how I can best support them. I will tell them I trust their gut. I will tell them, I’m sorry that they’re suffering. And that I love them and have faith in their ability to figure it out.
Jean Chatzky: (40:50)
The bottom line you’ve said is that communicating these clear, healthy boundaries is hands down the biggest game changer when it comes to building a happy, healthy self-determined life. So basically we do this, we follow this prescription and this conversation has been a prescription and there is a much more detailed one in the book we’re going to get happier. Yeah.
Terri Cole: (41:15)
And maybe we’re going to get uncomfortable before we get happier, but you will feel more satisfied, right? Not being known is really unsatisfying. Being misunderstood is really unsatisfying feeling used, even though you’re the one volunteering is really unsatisfying. So as you start to make these changes one step at a time next, right action at a time and you realize, oh my gosh, the world did not stop spinning on its axis. Amazing. Nobody burst into flames spontaneously because we have all of these childhood fears of advice. They know what’s going to happen. We start to go, wow, this is fun. I can’t tell you how many women in particular have gotten in touch and said, this is like super fun. Like I want to draw boundaries everywhere with everyone. I’m like, please do. They will know who you are. So yes, it is a prescription for being more. Self-determined taking responsibility for who you are and what you want in life. And this gives you the tools to be able to do that.
Jean Chatzky: (42:18)
Terri Cole, thank you so much. Where can we find more about you about your work? We will put it all in the show notes, but just tell everybody while we’re still on the air. Sure.
Terri Cole: (42:30)
You can find me. I hang out on Instagram at Terri Cole, which is T E R R I C O L E probably the most. But my website is terricole.com. I have a podcast I’ve had for six years, which is called The Terri Cole show. And I actually created something for your audience, boundaryboss.me/HerMoney.
Jean Chatzky: (42:48)
Thank you so much, we will all be doing that. I am sure. I so appreciate you and this conversation and we will be right back with Kathryn and your Mailbag. And HerMoney’s Katherine Tuggle joins me now for your Mailbag. So that was excellent.
Kathryn Tuggle: (43:15)
That was so enlightening. I was hoping that the sound of my head exploding did not distract you during the interview because I feel like everything she said was just resonating with me so much. You know what she said about wanting to avoid conflict cannot be the thing that you want. That can’t be your driving force or your main desire. There have been so many times when I’ve wanted to avoid drama and I’ve put my actual wants on the sidelines in order to find peace and ease. But when you do that, you’re not letting people know the real, you. You’re doing such a disservice to all parties involved and we all need that wake up call. I mean, not maybe not all of us, but I definitely did.
Jean Chatzky: (44:01)
Yeah, no. I felt like I did too. I saw so much of myself. I heard so much of myself in what she was saying. And I was really struck by the way that she said it. I mean, I was just thinking, well, if this woman lived in my town, I would go to her for therapy. You know? I mean, she’s just so zen and calm and that voice, I mean, I could have listened to her for hours.
Kathryn Tuggle: (44:33)
She knows who she is so well, and I started thinking about how boundaries help shape your own sense of self identity. You know, when you have walls around the things that you are protecting and the things that you value and the things that you won’t compromise on, it’s so much easier to be fully, wholly, uniquely you.
Jean Chatzky: (45:01)
Yeah. Yeah, it is. And it’s also so much easier if you can set up boundaries so that you are not saying yes to the things that you don’t want to be doing or don’t have time for, or that aren’t on the list of your priorities. It enables you to really say yes, fully say yes to the things that are meaningful and the people that are meaningful.
Kathryn Tuggle: (45:32)
Yeah. That’s so important. The things that you are saying yes to are your most valued things, your top priority things. And I think that’s a place that I would love to be able to get to. Yep. We can work her steps together. I love it.
Jean Chatzky: (45:46)
All right. Let’s take some questions.
Kathryn Tuggle: (45:49)
This question comes to us from a member of our private, HerMoney Facebook group. She writes, “My boyfriend and I are thinking of moving in together in the next 10 months and thinking of a house since we have a dog and need a backyard and space, as I’m remote and he’s still working from home. I’ve never owned a house, so I’ll get some of those first time buyer benefits. He purchased a house with his ex, which he sold and is done with financially. We both want to move to Europe in the next three to five years. So he thinks that buying is not worth it. And we might lose money. I’m not thinking of necessarily making money, but I doubt if we would lose it and having additional space and a nice backyard are worth it to me. To find an apartment with everything we need, we’ll be paying about $3,000 a month. In my head, I’m seeing that as money that I would just lose. $36,000 every year for a total of 180,000 lost over the course of five years. But I’m the first to admit that I’m not always the smartest with my finances, and I don’t know anything about buying a house. I don’t need or want my boyfriend in order to secure the mortgage, I’d be charging him rent. Anything you could share on what would make the most sense for me is much appreciated. Thank you!”
Jean Chatzky: (46:59)
Great. Great question. And boy, oh boy. I think it sounds like such an adventure to move off to Europe in the next three to five years. I wonder where you are thinking about going, if you are operating with a three-year time horizon, I would absolutely not buy. And it’s because there are other costs involved in buying a house that you’re not thinking about here. There are closing costs, which will eat up about 2% of the transaction. There are moving costs, which can be really expensive. Now, granted, you’re going to move anyway, but there are the costs of fixing up a home to make it the place that you want it to be. And those are things that you probably will not do with a rental apartment. And then there’s the fact that during the first few years of a mortgage, most of the money that you pay goes toward interest, not toward principle.
Jean Chatzky: (48:06)
And so, especially in those first three to five years, you are just not building a ton of equity. I hear what you’re saying about wanting to own something. And I would do some real life planning, sit down with your boyfriend and try to map it out. What are the things that are going to have to happen in your life in order to make this move to Europe possible? How likely is it that they will happen? What could stand in the way of them happening? What are you thinking in terms of, if you do buy what you would do with your house at that point, if you are thinking, well, this is just going to be temporary, in Europe, and we are likely to just rent it out for a couple of years and then we’ll have it when we come back, that’s a different story.
Jean Chatzky: (49:06)
But if this move to Europe is going to be longer or it’s going to be permanent, I don’t think I’d get involved. And the last thing on my mind is the real estate market. And I don’t know if the real estate market in your neck of the woods is as crazy as it has been in mine, but prices have been going up because supply has been really short, mortgage rates are low, now that again would be a factor in the buying column, but put it aside for a second, and people want more space because of the pandemic, because they’ve been working remotely. I think that depending on where you live, unless that is absolutely not the case, there is a very decent chance that you could be overpaying for what you’re getting. And I don’t want to see you step into that scenario, particularly with all of these other factors at play.
Kathryn Tuggle: (50:05)
Thank you so much, Jean. That’s great advice. Yeah. Three years is really not long enough. And if she thinks it’s realistic that they’re going to be moving, I would not buy a house and then try and sell it again in a matter of months.
Jean Chatzky: (50:16)
Yeah, absolutely. I’m still recovering from the move that will not end. So maybe I have a little bit of a, a chastened view on this. Right. But I do think you have to be really careful if you don’t think you’re going to be there very long.
Kathryn Tuggle: (50:31)
Absolutely. Thank you, Jean. And anyone looking to write into us can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pick it right up.
Jean Chatzky: (50:41)
Thanks, Kathryn. And in today’s Thrive: a breakdown on tailoring your clothing. Is it really worth it? And where do you go? You all had so many clothing questions after episode 273: Help! I Have Nothing to Wear with fashion expert, Jackie Stafford. At HerMoney.com, we took a deep dive into the world of good tailoring. The truth is that hemming, letting out, or taking up our clothing is just not something that we can do ourselves unless we’re accomplished seamstresses. The problem is, professional tailoring can be very expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are looking to have a favorite outfit tailored, but don’t want to spend a fortune start by talking to your dry cleaner. If you just want to hem fixed or a slight alteration, a dry cleaner can often do the trick and the cost should be no more than $20. With that said, you should seek the help of a professional tailor.
Jean Chatzky: (51:37)
If you need to have an investment garment altered such as a wedding gown or an expensive designer piece, just make sure you bring the shoes that you plan to wear with the outfit that you wish to alter. That way, there are no too short or too long surprises when it’s finally time to show off. Yes, prices for dry cleaners and professional tailors will vary according to where you live. In a larger city, you’ll pay more than in a small town or a rural area. As I mentioned earlier, a small hem, a button or zipper replacement, mending a split seam should generally cost no more than about 20 bucks. If you’re going to the dry cleaner, find out if they’ll be making the alterations on site, if not, you could be charged a higher fee to include transportation costs. If that’s the case, it might be cost effective to simply go to that professional tailor. Yelp, CitySearch and Google reviews are great tools for searching for a trustworthy professional to alter your favorite pieces.
Jean Chatzky: (52:37)
And when it comes to finding a tailor, it’s okay to be picky. They should play the same trusted role in your life as a good hairstylist, they’ll be tasked with caring for a very important aspects of your personal vision of yourself. When you’re a regular customer, the tailor will get to know your silhouette and your preferences. No two bodies are the same after all. So having someone who understands your wants your needs and your personal vision is crucial. Thank you so much for joining me today on HerMoney and to Terri Cole for teaching us all, how to be our own boundary boss and spend more time trusting our instincts. If you like what you hear, I hope you’ll subscribe to our show at Apple Podcasts. Leave us a review because we love hearing what you think. We want to thank our sponsor, Fidelity. We record this podcast out of CDMSoundStudios. Our music is provided by VideoHelper and our show comes to you through MegaPhone. Thanks so much for joining us and we’ll talk soon.