Boundary Setting and Consent with COVID Precautions

We are over 6 months into a global pandemic. That is a long time, and we have had to adjust to a new normal. During this time, one major thing that has been present in sessions with clients is that they miss seeing their friends and families. There is a spectrum of how strict people have been with social distancing and quarantining. Some people have not seen anyone in person who does not live in their homes since March, while others have been attending parties or hosting play dates.
In Minnesota, some things seem to be loosening up: patios are now open, stores have opened back up with mask mandates, and gyms and schools are open with social distance precautions. With these adjustments, you may have noticed some loosening up within social circles as well.

Here are some tips on how to set boundaries with COVID, while also getting consent and respecting the boundaries of those that you are spending time with.

  1. Decide what your boundary is and lead with the format (virtual or in person) of connection that you are comfortable with.
    Example: I miss you so much and would love to catch up. I am still keeping strict COVID precautions and I would love to have a Skype/Zoom/FaceTime date! Are you free on Tuesday at 4:30pm?
  2. Decide the level of interaction that you are willing to have with others (would you eat at a patio, go to a bonfire, have a picnic, hangout in someone’s house?) and state that.
    Example: I’ve really been craving (insert favorite dish) from (insert favorite restaurant)! Would you like to get take-out and eat it at the park? BYO blanket so that we have enough room to social distance, and I’ll bring enough hand sanitizer for both of us to use 😉
  3. Make sure that you are also checking in with what the other person’s boundaries are.
    Example: I’ve really been enjoying the walk down Summit Ave to the river because the trees changing colors is bringing me so much joy! Would you want to walk with me after work sometime? I am comfortable walking outside without a mask if you are, please let me know. I’ll bring one with in case we walk past a crowd of people and can’t socially distance.
  4. Be honest and clear about any exposure that you’ve had, and pre-cautions that you’ve taken to respect others and make sure that everyone can stay safe and feel confident about their choices and assess their own risk.


By: Cassie Sawyer, MA, ATR-P, RYT-200
Photo: Gustavo Fring from Pexels