Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

You know when you’re walking down the street and you see one of those open manhole covers, usually surrounded by orange cones and yellow tape? These are no-go zones, where you will fall, get hurt, or at the very least put yourself at risk.

Wouldn’t it be great if these barriers just appeared for us, unbidden, around the things that could potentially cause us emotional or physical harm? It may not be easy to admit, but some of the biggest dangers to our emotional well-being are people we either love or have a long history with, jobs we want to succeed in, or belongings we very much want to possess.

Take Marie, for example, who lives down the street from her sister on a suburban street in Florida.  The sister (who shall remain nameless) is consistently condescending to Marie, fails to show up for lunch dates, and insults Marie’s friends behind their backs. Many of us have close friends or family members who are like this, and though we love them, when we engage with them in the wrong way, we end up getting frustrated and hurt.

So, do we need to cut these people out of our lives completely?  Not necessarily. Our close friends and particularly our family members are difficult if not impossible to detach from completely.  They often come barging back into our lives sooner or later.

The key is to set up emotional boundaries.  Just like those little lines of tape that keep us safe from open manholes, i.e. physical boundaries, emotional boundaries prevent us from getting so close we get hurt.

1.  Set up days and/or times when you can be reached and times when you definitely can’t.  John, a real-estate agent in Alabama, has his daughter over to stay at his house two nights each week and every other weekend.  His friends may call or text his phone in the evening, but John sticks to his guns and never responds to their calls or texts, barring emergencies, until his daughter goes to bed. This is a healthy boundary, and one that will even draw admiration from his friends.

You may choose one day a week, say Monday, as your “serenity day”, when phone calls from your friends are not answered until the evening, and emails are not replied to until later on as well.  Your serenity day may only extend to whoever is within your band of yellow tape, but no one needs to know that but you.

2.  Don’t get used.  You might have a talent for using the computer, or for filing taxes and managing your personal finances, but that doesn’t mean others should rely on you to do their dirty work for them.  Of course, there is room to be flexible here and answer a question or two, but if your close friend makes you feel unappreciated or obligated, or if they threaten you that refusal to help them will be a damage to your relationship, it’s best to back off and say, “Give this a shot on your own.  If you’re not done in a couple of weeks, I’ll be happy to answer some more questions for you then.”

3.  Communicate what you are not willing to do.  Anna, a website designer in Texas, agreed to be a bridesmaid in her friend’s wedding. When her friend asked her to reduce her hours at work so that she could spend more time wedding planning, she refused, because she was up for a promotion.  After the friend barred her from the wedding completely, Anna realized that a friend who cared more for her wedding planning than for her well-being wasn’t a true friend after all.

4.  Keep your own counsel.  We all love to share plans and ideas with friends and family, but seeking approval from your pitfall friend can lead to disappointment and/or insecurity.  If you’re planning a holiday or starting a new club or project, keep it under wraps, at least until you’re through the initial stages.

5. Stick to your guns. Terry lives in the resort area of Tampa Bay and this means he has friends always popping in and out for short holidays and even sometimes for a week or more. Terry enjoys his friends’ company but doesn’t like having his entire private life invaded, especially over the summer period. He has a very clear set of house rules which he expects all friends as well as his family to abide by and anyone who doesn’t will be told. For example, Terry expects all house guests to do their own washing and contribute to the food budget, if they choose to eat in his home. It’s not a big deal but when you’re used to your friends taking advantage sticking to your guns with a few set rules can really make a difference to your relationship.

Your friends may want to be involved in every move you make, but everyone has the right to make decisions without the sway of others.  Besides, if things come to fruition later on, the do-it-yourself attitude will bring greater personal rewards.

Relationships with long-time friends and family members can be very complicated, so there’s nothing wrong with using guidelines to manage them.  Then you can continue to enjoy their company and still keep your feet on the pavement.

About the Author:

Kim Dockley is a freelance writer.

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Are you on Facebook?

This year I decided to start a new venture — to create a page on Facebook called Life Lessons 4 U. Just got things set up last week, so it’s still a work in progress. Please stop by and check it out. Hopefully you will “Like it” and…

Become a fan of Life Lessons 4 U on Facebook

Thank you for your support!

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“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” –Proverbs 18:21

Recently I had a conversation with a friend in which she told me that another friend of hers was upset about a sarcastic remark that was directed at her by another so-called friend. This particular time the woman made the cutting remarks on Facebook — for everybody to see. This wasn’t the first time this woman had made cutting remarks to her for no apparent reason. The woman finally decided that she no longer wants any further communication with this other woman and is going to remove her from her list of “Facebook” friends. No one likes it when sarcasm is directed at them — so why do it to others, and especially, why direct your cutting remarks at your so-called friends and loved ones?

When I was in 6th grade there was a little girl (Loretta) that the other kids used to say unflattering things about. One day my teacher asked if I would be Loretta’s partner for class assignments for a certain period of time, and be kind of a friend to her. She told me Loretta had requested a transfer out of class because she had no friends and because of how some of the kids were treating her. I wasn’t all that gung-ho about stepping up to the plate on this one but I did because: 1 – I liked my teacher, Mrs. Dickerson and, 2 – My heart really went out to this girl when I heard that she wanted to leave the class because of how she was being treated by some of the other students. I thought that no one should have to feel that way. For a minute I was concerned about how some of my classmates would treat me as a result of me working with Loretta on projects and just even being somewhat of a friend to her. Could I handle any backlash from befriending this person? Compassion took over. I decided to just do it. The next day they moved Loretta’s desk next to mine. I hoped and prayed that there wouldn’t be any problems from the other students. As it turned out, no one treated me any differently. No one gave me any problems. I think a few people may have asked why I was talking to Loretta, or working with her, but that’s it. At the end of the specified time period the teacher asked Loretta whether or not she still wanted to transfer out of the class. Loretta said she decided to stay because she now had a friend. My teacher gave me the option to stop partnering with Loretta on class assignments, but I decided to continue throughout the remainder of the school year. In taking the time to get to know Loretta, I found out that she was a very nice person. The next year I went to another school for junior high school. I don’t know whatever happened to Loretta, but her story has always remained with me and I’m glad I made a positive difference in her life.

Now days we even hear cases of teenagers being verbally bullied via the internet and through text messaging. It’s called cyber bullying. You can read more about bullying here: http://www.olweus.org/public/bullying.page.

I remember one case in which the victim of bullying eventually committed suicide.

Also in the news:


“Words Hurt. Don’t be a part of it.”

Wanda’s Song by The Readings

Two Frogs

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them
fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit
was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The
two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit
with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop,
that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took
heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down
and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again,
the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He
jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the
other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to
them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the
entire time.

This story teaches two lessons:

1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging
word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it
through the day.

2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes
to kill them.

Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your
path. The power of words… it is sometimes hard to understand
that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak
words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in
difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time
to encourage another.

Author Unknown

UPDATE: Click this line to check out Karen Salmansohn’s Anti-Bullying Program

What is the intent of your words?


You might also like:
What do you say when you get Angry?
Are You An Emotional Energy Vampire

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A closed mind is not only closed to outside thoughts, it is often closed to itself as well. It is closed to new thoughts and anything that threatens the status quo. But if you can open the doors, maybe just a crack at first, the ideas that have been patiently waiting at your gates will flood in.”

Are you really as open-minded as you like to think you are?


– Receptive to new and different ideas or the opinions of others. (the free dictionary and yourdictionary.com)

– having a mind that is open to new ideas; free from prejudice or bias (yourdictionary.com)

– receptive to arguments or ideas. (Merriam-Webster’s dictionary)

‘We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode.’ –John Cleese

‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.’ –Mark Twain


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How did you react the last time someone cut your car off in traffic? Or how did you react when you thought another driver was driving too slow? Did you yell, curse, tailgate the other car in the hopes that they would get the message and get our of your way? Or even worse, did you go after the driver who you thought “did you wrong” –so you could cut them off, flip them the bird, or to stop them so you could give them a piece of your mind? Where does the anger come from? Do we think we’re king of the road? I used to get angry (fuss about the other driver being an insensitive jerk) until one day my daughter, who hadn’t been driving too long, told me she reacted the same way. She said she learned it from me. Oh no! This is not a behavior I wanted to pass along. Enough said. We had a nice long chat about managing your emotions in the car. Since then I’ve kept myself in check. I want my daughter to be a safe driver and in control of her emotions behind the wheel. So far, so good. Let this be a reminder that our children are always watching and learning from us.

Even if you do remain ever so calm while driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, there’s nothing quite like someone dinging your car door (while you are sitting in your car) to test your self-control. Whenever you feel that anger rising up in you just think of this video:

Here’s two good articles on road rage:

The Root Cause of Road Rage
The Growing Problem of Road Rage

With that said, who is to blame for your actions? Who decides how you are going to act in any situation? Check out this video to find out more. It will give you something to think about:

Stop Being Everybody’s Victim

(Adapted by Louis Lapides from John Powell, Why I am Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, Argus Comm.)

The late U.S. syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris accompanied his friend George to his favorite newsstand. George greeted the man selling the newspapers courteously, but in return he received gruff service. He barely acknowledged his customer and never even looked up at him when he requested the late night edition. Accepting the newspaper, which was shoved rudely in his direction, George politely smiled and wished the newsman a pleasant weekend. The proprietor grunted an indiscernible sound and seemed relieved that the two men had completed their transaction.

As the two friends walked down the street the columnist asked, “Does he always treat you so rudely?” “Yes, unfortunately, he does,” George responded. “And are you always so kind and friendly to him?” “Yes, I am!” George continued as they turned a corner. “Why are you so nice when he is so unfriendly to you?” With a look of deep contemplation, George explained, “Because I don’t want him to decide how I am going to act.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Who decides how you are going to act? Is it your circumstances or the difficult people in your life that determine your responses? When we allow our conflicts to control us, we behave as though getting rid of our predicaments is our only priority. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter how we treat one another.

For example, we say, “This person is causing me distress right now so I don’t care about exercising patience, self-control, and loving kindness. Instead, I want to let them know how angry I am because of their actions.”

We forget our trials will eventually subside. But the way we handle conflicts will influence our lives for a long time. Will you only respond to the momentary crisis or will you be more concerned about the enduring value of what kind of person you are becoming? Who decides how you will act when the pressure is on?
–Author Unknown


You might also like:
Having A Bad Day?
Love Is Energy….Pass It Forward
What Do You Say When You Get Angry?
Are You Living By the Four Agreements (see item #2)

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Have you ever wanted to say to someone, “Back up, you’re in my personal space?”

We all have a comfort zone, an invisible zone of psychological comfort that we carry with us. It’s the region surrounding each person, or that area which a person considers their domain or territory. It’s the bubble of space that you keep between you and the person standing in front of you. We call it our personal space. How much personal space one needs varies depending on who we are talking to and the situation we are in.

Ever notice how uncomfortable you get when someone gets too close to you physically? That means that person has invaded your personal boundaries.

I once had a female supervisor who was like the guy in this video. (Yes, she’s the same person I mentioned in my post “Green with Envy.”) She was this way with everyone. It made me think, “What’s wrong with you?”

In 1966, Edward T. Hall, an anthropologist, introduced the term proxemics.

What is Proxemics?

– The study of the cultural, behavioral, and sociological aspects of spatial distances between individuals
– The study of set measurable distances between people as they interact
– Has to do with the study of our use of space and how various differences in that use can make us feel more relaxed or anxious.

Different cultures maintain different standards of personal space. Mr. Hall has broken down the distances of personal territory (for U.S. Americans) into 4 areas:

0-18 inches: Intimate distance

Has this ever happened to you at work?

18 inches – 4 feet: Personal distance for interactions among good friends or family members

4 feet – 12 feet: Social distance for interactions among acquaintances

12 feet – 25 feet or more: Public distance used for public speaking

Comfortable personal distances also depend on the social situation, gender, and individual preference.

I think many of us know these personal space etiquette tips. This video is especially for those people who are personal space invaders, and don’t know it:

When interacting with others, be mindful of their personal space. Remember these words to a song by “The Police” — “Don’t stand, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me!”

Other info on proxemics:
Proxemics article
Book – “The Hidden Dimension,” by Edward T. Hall
Proxemics Overview
Proxemics Research


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Happy Friday!

It’s time to lighten things up a bit. Last week a reader emailed me this humorous video about Facebook. So, today’s post is for all you Facebook fans, as well as the haters. I’ve been keeping in contact with some friends via Facebook for a little over a year now. And like the author (David Ippolito) of this song, I sometimes wonder why people feel the need to share certain things on Facebook. Now let me state for the record that I have nothing against Facebook. I share this video with you all in the spirit of fun.

You might also like:
Facebook Manners, Etiquette and Humor
Facebook humor – A Slap in the Facebook


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If you are having a bad day, get another one and get it quick! –Rissie Harris

When you’re having a bad day, do you take it out on others?

I’m sure we’ve all had days where we wake up feeling grumpy and the day gets progressively worse. Or the day started out great until we got to work — and it was downhill after that. Whenever I feel irritable (which is rare for me), or like I’m having a “not so good day,” I like to keep to myself and talk to others as little as possible. Why? Because I don’t want to take things out on others. After all, that person is innocent. They have nothing to do with my mood, or my having a “bad day.” It’s unfair for me to take things out on them. We all know what it feels like when someone takes their feelings out on us — not good! I don’t wish it on others. Here’s something I remind myself of whenever I’m having a bad day:

“If you are having a bad day, it is a personal problem the world does not have to deal with. If you get up on the wrong side of the bed, it is no one’s fault but your own. If it is that time of the week, month or year for you, what would you have the world do? It is never an excuse for being rude, cruel or abusive to anyone, to simply say, “I’m having a bad day.” It is not appropriate to scream, swear, lash out or do things that have no place among civilized people because “you have something else on your mind.” We cannot abuse or tramatize others because we are facing a challenge. LIFE IS A CHALLENGE!……Tradition tells us that it does not matter what difficulties we face. Our worth is measured by how we face those difficulties. If we are to grow and reach our fullest potential, we have no time to waste on bad days.” –Iyanla Vanzant

You might also like: What do you say when you get Angry?

Bad Day by Daniel Powter

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by Chaundra McGill

When I was kid, I sporadically wrote in my diary. I wrote about my current crush or the latest drama at school. I think I wrote about two weeks worth of entries in my whole seventh grade year.

Fast forward 18 years, I carry my journal everywhere I go. My journal is a part of my mental checklist before I leave the house: car keys, cell phone, iPod, and journal. My journal is my lifeline.

But how can a blank book be this important to anyone? The fact that the book is blank has limitless possibilities. Rather than just a recording of daily minutia, my journal allows me to vent my frustration, express my emotions freely, reflect on my past, meditate on my present, and prepare for my future with new insight.

My journal helped me properly grieve my uncle’s murder, recognize destructive behavioral patterns, and just plain make sense of my life.

My renewed sense of possibility and perspective stopped making journaling seem like a chore. Journaling became a privilege because this was time exclusively for me. But you may be wondering how my perspective of journal writing shifted, and more importantly how can it shift for you.

The answer: Reflective Writing Therapy. Reflective Writing Therapy combines the descriptive qualities of reflective writing and the therapeutic qualities of writing therapy. By answering four painfully simple questions, Reflective Writing Therapy can aide self-discovery, emotional well-being, self-expression and inspiration.

This is the descriptive and emotional level of Reflective Writing Therapy. Before you can begin Reflective Writing Therapy, you have to know upon what you are reflecting. At this stage, you simply capture the details of the event, the people involved, your feelings about the situation, and so forth.

This is the outlook and evaluation level of Reflective Writing Therapy. After you have described the situation, you can begin digging a little deeper by looking at the good, bad and the ugly. Determining the positive and negative consequences, what this situation tells you or teaches you, and so forth.

Why now?
This is the analysis and relevance level of Reflective Writing Therapy. There is a reason that you have decided to evaluate a certain event or incident now, so this stage is where you figure out why. This is also the stage where you began to consider other perspectives and other sources of knowledge that can influence how you view the situation.

What now?
This is the conclusion and planning level of Reflective Writing Therapy. The final step is the whole point of reflection: to obtain clarity and a plan of action. At this stage, you can determine how this situation or outlook of this situation will affect your future, what you need to do, and what steps are you going to take based on what you’ve learned.

For more information on Reflective Writing Therapy, download the free e-book, $1 Therapy.

Do you keep a journal? How has journaling helped you?

Chaundra McGill – Thank you for submitting this article.

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Wikipedia Definition:

Debbie Downer is a name of a fictional Saturday Night Live character who is played by Rachel Dratch. The character debuted in 2004 on a skit and soon became popular.

The character’s name is connected to slang phrase which refers to someone who persistently adds bad news or negative feelings to a gathering, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around them.

Dratch’s cynical character would interrupt social gatherings to voice negative opinions and pronouncements, making her one of the top favorite sketches of all time.

No one likes to be around a person who is always bringing others down. Sure, we all go through times when we’re sad — that’s not what I’m talking about. Debbie Downer’s can practically suck the life right out of a party. Watch the video and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. Sorry I wasn’t able to embed this video for you. Click on the link below:

SNL – Debbie Downer Birthday Party

If you can’t view the video, listen to this snippet from the show: SNL – Debbie Downer

Are you a Debbie Downer? Do you know someone who is a Debbie Downer?

You might also like Positively Present’s post: “Are The People In Your Life Positive

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