Practicing Boundaries: A New Workshop

Boundaries are a way we set parameters for how we interact with others, with our partners, family, friends, and coworkers. Boundaries let us articulate how we do and don’t want our bodies touched. They help us make space in both our emotions and our calendars for things that we need to do and the things that can bring us joy or nourishment. But while we celebrate boundaries as a tool for self and community care, we must also remember that we can’t make someone respect our boundaries no matter how clearly we articulate them or how good we get at setting them. Many resources on boundaries can leave us feeling like we’re failing at boundaries when really it’s the world around us that doesn’t value boundaries.

Boundaries are not just an individual responsibility but a collective one. We can’t “set boundaries for better work/life balance” if our very survival depends on a boss that demands we reply to emails at all hours of the day or we have to work multiple minimum wage jobs just to get by. But we can introduce boundaries into our relationship with a friend who always assumes we’re available. This is where power comes into play, because we can’t set boundaries when we don’t have the space or option to say “no.”

Talking about “boundaries” is really just another access point for talking about consent. When we practice consent we seek out boundaries, we ask questions like “can I hug you?,” “Is it okay if I add you on Facebook?,” “Do you want to make out?”, etc. And most importantly we learn to listen to the responses we get – the hesitation, the excitement and those scary “no’s” that sometimes leave us feeling scattered or insecure.

With all this in mind, we wanted to create a workshop that embraced this messiness and that tried to build our collective skills for setting and respecting boundaries, practicing consent and working through rejection without ignoring the context in which we do these things. 


We recommend that folks interested in this workshop first attend our Understanding Consent Culture workshop, as many of the ideas in this workshop build on ideas we explored in the consent workshop.

Boundaries workshop dates

  • Wednesday, January 25th – 5-7 pm (Zoom)

Accessibility notes

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, AVP workshops will be held online using Zoom, a video conferencing platform and in person, at the UVic Student Union Building. For in person events, we encourage the use of masks to protect our community. Online workshops will have automatic live captioning. If you have other accessibility questions or needs, please email or call us. With appropriate time we can arrange interpreters or make funds available for other accessibility needs including childcare. If you are a University of Victoria student, you can borrow a laptop for free from the library, more info here.