Archive of ‘Communication’ category

Why Are You Still Saying “Yes”?

Admit it: you say “yes” to others way more often than you want to.

You are not alone – so often people say “yes” when they really want to say “no”, but why do we do this, and how can we stop this? Let’s explore a few of the reasons why we say yes and why we don’t want to, but should, say no at times.

Sometimes, we say yes to others because we don’t want to come off as mean or rude. We want to come off as kind, generous, helpful or some other variation of nice. We don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings by saying no. We over extend ourselves and try to make nice because if you make nice, people will like you. Right? Possibly, but what happens when you constantly say yes? People begin to almost expect it and know that you are the person that can always be reliable and will always help or say yes.

By: Angelica Beker, LPC-Intern Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

By: Angelica Beker, LPC-Intern
Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

How does this begin to make you feel though? Resentful? Angry? Annoyed? Maybe all of the above. Often times, in my work, I’ve noticed people will say yes because they are afraid of rejection. They feel that if they say no, then someone may get “mad” at them and reject them because they were not willing to say yes or do whatever was asked; however, we cannot always be available.

Taking care of ourselves is extremely important. If we cannot take care of ourselves, it becomes difficult to take care of others and say yes to them. Overextending yourself will eventually make you feel tired and possibly resentful on the inside towards whomever you are saying yes to. Leaning on other people’s approval will not allow you to grow as an individual – know your worth and your needs.

Here are a few helpful tips on saying “NO” when you really are not up to saying “YES”:

1) Be direct and honest.

Especially as adults, it is important to stand for what we need. If someone is a true friend and/or valued family member, they will understand that sometimes you need to say no.

2) Saying no now will lead to less resentment down the road.

We cannot always be there for someone. You do not want to say yes to someone over and over just to have resentment build up in the future. Do not set yourself up for that.

3) Be polite and offer to say yes another time, if you can.

If your best friend asks you to come help move furniture and you just worked an 11 hour work day and are exhausted, it is ok to say no. You can be polite and say, “I had a really long work day and I am exhausted. Could I help you another day this week?”

4) In a work environment, we do not want to be rude or come off as unhelpful.

Sometimes, people worry if they say no, they may lose their job; however, even at work, we cannot always say yes. If you have too many projects or commitments on your table, be honest. Try to meet someone in the middle by offering whatever help you can. You don’t want your work ethic to suffer because you are saying yes to everyone and overextending your energy and efforts.

5) Finally, know your worth.

Know that your worth is not determined solely on how often you say yes. Know that sometimes it is OK to say no. It is ok to take that time for yourself. You do not want to live in a state of guilt or resentment because you are constantly saying yes to others. You will feel happier and more in control of your life if you are able to make decisions based on what your needs require first. Remember that you are a generous person and that you do say yes, and you are helpful whenever you are feeling your best.


3 Tips on Talking to Your Teen about Healthy Dating Relationships

When we began our academic career, way back when, our educators made sure they covered all the important topics: math, science, social studies, and language skills.  And, just to be sure we were well-rounded, they even threw in physical education and music!  But, what about everything else?  Like the weird-awkward-growing-up-stuff?  Those things that nobody talks about?  Like relationships!  How and where are teens today learning about healthy dating relationships?  Are your teens able to answer questions like: What does a good, healthy relationship look like? Who should I be in a relationship with? When should I start dating? What are healthy sexual behaviors?

By: Sumati Morris, LPC-Intern; Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

By: Sumati Morris, LPC-Intern; Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

A few places where teens learn about “healthy relationships”:
  • parents and other family members
  • friends at school or in their community
  • media (TV, movies, and books)
  • internet
  • they take a school or community-based class entitled “Dating Relationships 101” *

* Just kidding, those classes do not usually exist.  But, don’t worry. You exist!  And you are able to help your kids better understand what a healthy relationship is and how to navigate dating relationships.

3 tips to foster good conversation on healthy teen dating relationships:

1) A quick, easy chat about the basics:

If you are a parent, and you have a teen, I suggest you ask your kid: “Hey, what do you think makes a good dating partner?”.  Since, I already know your kid is a smarty, I bet s/he responds with something like, “good communication, respect and doesn’t cheat!”. But, then, follow-up with the harder question: “Okay, now, what does that mean? What does “good communication” actually look like?” It’s easy to list the good stuff.  But, in day-to-day real life, it can be way harder to tell the difference between the good and the bad.  Use examples from your own life. “Dad showed me that he was listening and cared about my concerns when he made sure to ask me how my big meeting at work went.”  Or, “I had a feeling that my high school girlfriend didn’t trust me, because she was always investigating my every move, but she never talked to me about any of her concerns”.  Giving them real life examples of what a healthy relationship looks like helps them to know what to look for in their own dating relationships.

2) A reminder: you choose your dating partner!

Sometimes teens forget that they have a choice when it comes to dating.  Often times, kids want a boyfriend or girlfriend so badly, that they will deal with whatever is thrown their way. Remind your teen that ever since preschool, they have been allowed to pick and choose their own friends.  If someone was mean on the playground, they did not have to be friends with them.  If someone stole their lunch every day then nope, they did not have to invite them over for a play date.  If they were friends with someone, but then that friend did something mean, they could decide to stop being friends altogether.  It’s the same thing with dating relationships.  You get to pick the very best dating partner for you.  Just like you would not settle with a not so great friend, do not settle with a not so great dating partner. Remind your kid that s/he should expect to have the greatest dating partner ever.  Because they deserve to!

3) Talking is key:

Remind your kiddo that nobody knows what they are doing all the time, particularly with relationships.  We are all here trying to figure out this weird and complicated world of dating. Encourage your teen to talk to the people they trust when they have questions.  Encourage conversations with their peers, and especially with their dating partners.  We should all be talking about our concerns, our fears and our questions about dating!  If your kid is worried that their dating partner is cheating, lying, doesn’t like them anymore, or anything else – encourage your kid to speak directly with him or her.   Just as you would talk to your friends if they made you upset, worried you, or made you mad, you should and you can talk to your dating partners, too.

For more tips about healthy teen dating relationships, you can:


3 Ways to Help Get More Communication from Your Teen

Why Won’t My Teen Talk to Me? (Part 1 of 3)

By: Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

I often hear from parents that they wish their teen would open up to them more. Things like…
“Why won’t she talk to me?”
“I try to ask her about her day and she just says ‘fine.”
“My teen would rather put her earbuds in than talk with me.”
“We end up arguing more often than not – help!”

Believe it or not, your teen does want to talk with you! Many times, however, parents are trying too hard to force communication with their teen by giving unsolicited advice, cornering their kids, or blowing up. Let’s talk about a few ways you can change your behavior today to help encourage more open and honest communication with your teen.

“When we give children advice or instant solutions, we deprive them of the experience that comes from wrestling with their own problems.”


― Adele Faber, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

1.) Listen more and talk less with your teen. Avoid all lecturing and advice-giving.

The teenage brain is constantly growing and changing. It is literally wired to take more risk and push away from caregivers. Their brain is actively pruning away unnecessary parts in order to make room for independent thinking and acting.
See this video by Dr. Daniel Siegel for more on the teenage brain

Why, then, would it make sense for us to expect our teens to want our unsolicited advice? Here’s an example of what I often hear in my work with teens and their parents.

Mom: Well, yesterday Jane was crying again about her friends being mean to her. I told her that she should just get some new friends because real friends don’t treat each other that way. She needs friends who are kind and who don’t act so ugly. Then Jane just blew up at me! She told me to get out of her room and leave her alone. Can you believe that?

Does this sound familiar? Are you often giving advice about what your teen should or shouldn’t do to solve problems? Are you consistently feeling frustrated that they don’t do what you suggest? STOP GIVING ADVICE!! Instead, consider these possible responses to open up dialogue:

Reflect what you see: “Jane, something has made you sad.” (then shhhhhh…..don’t talk.)

Act without talking: Rub Jane’s back or knee. Nod sympathetically. Give an encouraging smile.

Use one word responses: “OH!” or “Really?” or “Hmmm…” (and then hush!)

Ask open ended questions: “Then what happened?” or “How do you feel about that?” or “What do you think your options are?”

Be available: If you teen wants to talk, she or he will often let you know nonverbally first (stomping around, crying, heavy sighs). Put down whatever you are doing and turn to face your teen. Pull the car over if you need to. Use your body to show that you are available if they want to talk. A kind smile without words goes a long way.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series –- “Step 2: Make the Car a “Safe Zone”

  1. Why Won’t My Teen Talk to Me?
  2. Make the car a “Safe Zone.”
  3. QTIP – Quit Taking It Personally

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