How close should we allow clients to be with us? At what point to set boundaries?
A good question here is how close or intimately should we allow our clients to be to be with us? At what point should we set boundaries? You know, I have some thoughts on this. And before I even get going, I know a lot of you have watching this have thoughts, experiences, whether you as a client trying to get close to a service provider or you as a service provider getting close to your clients. What are your thoughts on it?
I'm asking not just because I want more comments on this video. No. I'm genuinely curious because I'm just 1 person. With some thoughts, so please feel free to comment below. I would be helpful to others also.
Well, when I saw this question, I'm kind of The first thing that came to me was about sort of time and energy expenditure because I care so much about joyful productivity. And so that's 1 element. The other element we'll talk about is more qualitative boundaries and sort of like intimacy. But let me first talk about the time time and money boundaries. And from me, I'll I'll talk from my own perspective because that's what I know best.
So like I said, please feel free to share your perspective below others will benefit. My perspective about it is I am very strict about I'm I'm I should say I'm relatively strict, strict. I think compared to most heart based or spiritual service providers. I'm relatively strict about my time and energy boundaries and money boundaries. So even some of my clients whom ideally love, and I mean that.
I I love them as people. You know, we would if, you know, I I tell my clients, listen, if you're ever in town, I would love to take you out for dinner, take you out for lunch, and I mean that, and it's like if they're in town for a month, I'd probably take them out to dinner or lunch 2 or 3 times. Like, I would pay for it because I wanna hang out with them and spend time with them. And and but but but when it comes to them paying for my programs or my services, they pay just like everybody else pays because I only have a limited amount of time to to work to serve clients just as you do. Now if if I, for some reason, wanna talk to that person on a personal level like we're talking about other things, that's not about the service I provide for them, then I might set up a time to talk with them about that.
If they wanna talk to me about other things, not not related to the service I provide, they can ask me. And if I feel like I wanna spend the time to do that, I will do that just like with any with any friend. Right? With any friend, if a friend wants to talk to you about something, wants to go see a movie with you, wants to talk to you about something in their their life. You decide whether you you have now.
That's that's now the question of friend boundaries, whether you want to spend your Saturday evening talking to your friend about such and such. It's up to you and you probably have some way of negotiating with friends. Oh, you know, I'm really tired. Really, really tired this week. I can't talk to you, but maybe next weekend or something like that.
Right? So so when it gets to that kind of time boundaries, it's like Well, if you like you if you like that client, if you wanna talk about non business, non service oriented things, then you negotiate as a friend would. But when it comes to service oriented things, they they they want to talk to you about the thing you provide a service for. If you're a language teacher, right, and they wanna talk to you about how do you describe your particular situation in that language. It's part of your service, you know you know, and and so you just say, oh, you know what?
I this is really something we should do a session on because this is something I, you know, really should be considered a client relationship and let's book a time for that. Right? Something like that. It that's my preference is to be really strict about that because otherwise it gets too wishy washy and it's it's like to but Again, there are always exceptions that you decide you can make if you want to. But I want you to notice whenever you feel when you when you start to feel a little bit when you when you resentment starts to crop in or the possibility resentment starts to crop in, that is your mind body system signaling to you that a boundary has been crossed or could be crossed.
Leading to a negative relationship. So when you start to notice resentment, I think you need to practice saying, force practice graciousness. And if you don't know how to say graciously these days, there are things like chat GPT that you can go to. This is I need to set a relationship with a client. This is a situation.
How might I say it gracefully and chat, GPT, and other tools like that will give you a wonderful email to send to them and you could, you know, and you could get to multiple versions. Anyway, so there are tools like that these days that that help you with with with the etiquette. But, yes, I would encourage you to to notice a resentment possibility that set boundaries. It's a good practice for your own professionalism as a service provider and your own confidence and your own sense of integrity in your business. I've been really strict about boundaries for years now and I think that's part of the reason that my business has continued to grow and thrive and I've been able to keep a lot of balance in my life to productivity, joyful productivity.
Okay. So that's that's time energy element. The other element about it is more qualitative in terms of how much should you share with your clients about your personal life? Like the fact that you have a cat who is randomly yelling at random times in a day, and that was an accountant you didn't hear. And how much did you allow your clients to share with you open up about their their private life?
If it's not related to the service you would write, obviously, if you're a therapist, right, that's different. But if you are, you know, or or or if you're if you're a, like like, I'm a business coach. Like, how much did I allow my clients to start telling me about their personal relationships and things like that? Well, it depends. It's up to you.
You know, some people are their service is like really kind of mixed like they are a business coach but also a life coach and also a spiritual counselor in there. And if they allow themselves to to hold that as part of their service, Well, then fine. But for me, I don't really wanna get into coaching people about their relationships or their spiritual growth or whatever. If I do, that would be a separate service. So I would be like, you know what?
Yeah. You know, that's that's really tough situation, but let's get back to what I can help you with. Right? And so and in terms of you sharing, like, you'll notice that I'm I'm pretty pry especially on social media, I'm very private about my life. I don't say anything about my private life.
Generally speaking. And with my clients, sometimes in small groups, sometimes on calls, I might share a few things. But just just as maybe icebreaker. But I but then I kind of am I'm pretty private after that. So it's really up to you.
I think it takes your experience of this kind of thing to start noticing, when are you feeling a little bit too attached to that person? And if you are, then it's your decision whether or not you wanna you wanna do that or not. I think it's I think it's a fine experience to have. And then just notice whether it feels healthy for you. So anyway, that's a few thoughts.
I welcome you to Chapelo and and and last thing I'll say last thing I'll say, sometimes a client might say, oh, can can we make an arrangement about payment that's different or about how often I see you? That's different than what your service usually is. And you you might say, well, I'm feeling close to this client, and so I feel like I should make this arrangement with them as an exception. I mean, I don't think it's that's I don't think that's an issue of how close you are to a client. That's just an issue of whether or not you wanna make exceptions for your service.
Because sometimes, a a client that's brand new to you might even ask you for those exceptions. So it's not about closeness. It's just about whether or not you make deals. You make exceptions and make custom deals with your clients. It's up to you.
I know a lot of service providers do make custom deals, and someone you usually see clients, you know, for this package, you do see them every single week and they paid this much. But this client says, can I see you every other week? Or you know? And can I pay this much instead of that? Well, it's up to you.
For me, I keep things simple and I basically say no. Okay? But when my business was much smaller and I just wanted to work with more people, I was willing to make a lot more exceptions and make custom deals for a lot of people, whether or not I was close to them. So it's up to you because you just have to remember these different custom deals. And then maybe right now, you have the bandwidth to do that.
But as your business grows, you'll probably have more less of a bandwidth, then you'll just get more strict about your packages and things like that. So I hope this is helpful. Again, please comment below and share what your experience is with getting too close or or intimate with your clients or as a client trying to get close. And I'll I'll tell a quick story. Right now, I'm learning Spanish.
You know, and I have a a service I use. I I actually love the service. It's called I talki. I recommend it, ITALKI. And it's just it's like fiber except to hire, you know, different language tutors.
And 1 of my language tutors I really enjoyed, and when I went to visit Mexico this time, I said, hey, can I take you out? You know, my my wife and I, can we take you out the dinner? And she said, yes. And we took her out, and we just we became like friends. Like, it felt like that.
And we're on WhatsApp together. We chat. We send each other funny stickers. And as a client here, I'm starting to feel like, oh, I hope I hope, you know, I hope she'll see me as a friend, but I am also very aware as a service provider myself, I'm not gonna take advantage of that. Right?
Like, if I'm gonna have language questions, I'm going to hire her properly. And so yeah, I think it's interesting. I think we should notice how we treat service providers and notice that kind of boundary. As well as a service service provider. So anyway, I look forward to seeing your comments below.
Thank you. I hope this is helpful.
Last updated 20 Sep 2023.