Posts tagged: Relationships

Say no in the best possible way


March 23, 2017

Do you say yes when you mean to say no?

Maybe you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. You’re afraid no one else will do it (or as well as you will). Or there are so many good options for someone else doing it that you can’t choose between them. That last one is especially true for us Wafflers.

Then the inevitable happens. Right after saying yes — or not saying no — you get overwhelmed, exhausted, stretched too thin. Even more requests pile up, and suddenly you just want to hide.

Though hiding works wonders at curing overwhelm, it shouldn’t be the only way to avoid saying yes to things you really don’t want to do.

Instead, there’s a way to say no without uttering the word, and that, with any luck, makes everyone happier in the process.  

Two things.

First, say thank you. When someone asks you to do something, what they
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How to squeeze your favorite people back into your life


March 2, 2017

Why do we ignore people who matter the most to us? You know, the friend or cousin or former teammate who really gets us. Who we can say and do anything with. Who we haven’t connected with in a long time.

You might chalk it up to busyness, but it really comes down to bonds. We are comfortably certain that time out of touch will not fray our affection in the long run. And we’re usually right. Part of a superstrong relationship is that we don’t have to constantly nurture it. The love will always be there. And when we do connect, it is soulfully satisfying. And sustaining. Or is it?

For a minute, forget the people you need to please or impress. Forget your pile of responsibilities. Instead, remember those deep connections — both the memories and the vague plans for future connection.

Is it enough, these momentary touches? How much finer
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When old friends feel like a threat to the new you


January 23, 2017
Alma Bahman on when old friends threaten the new you

In our Reader Stories series, Unstuck readers share personal stories about getting stuck — and unstuck. Here, multimedia journalist Alma Bahman shares a story about confronting old friends who knew the old her she’d tried to leave behind.

I’ve started over many, many times. Moving somewhere new has given me a clean slate on which to reinvent myself. The potential for a better iteration of myself is tantalizing, hopeful. With each move, I shed the old, hide the scars, buff and shine the pretty parts, and try to build a me that’s more me than ever.

Amidst all this change, I’ve managed to keep in touch with three of my best friends from elementary school. Every couple of months, someone will send out a group email asking for updates. We emoji, we catch up, we “ha-ha, I miss you guys!”

Then, last year, they decided to visit me.

These people, who knew the me
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How to use positivity to transform difficult holiday celebrations


December 20, 2016
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The holidays can be tough. Sure, there’s pie and presents and fa la la la la, la la la la. But there are also difficult family dynamics, often left over from years gone by. Those dynamics can lead to upsetting conversations (and on the heels of an vitriolic election season, politics might put extra strain on your relationships). Sometimes, it might even feel like your whole family tripped head-over-heels into a time-traveling vortex as everyone slips into familiar roles: the overbearing parent, the constant screw-up, or the goody-two-shoes, to name a few.

But wait — don’t reach for that third glass of spiked eggnog just yet. There’s hope for this year.
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Getting unstuck from parenting power struggles


October 24, 2016
parenting struggles

Meghan is the parenting columnist for the Washington Post and a certified parent coach. She is the mother of three daughters and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, area. You can follow her online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

* * *

There are so many places to get stuck while parenting: From power struggles to chores, from sassiness to ignoring, there is no shortage of ways and reasons to struggle with children.

Before you can deal with the drama of your children, you must figure out why you are struggling with your children.

Key questions to ask yourself about why you are struggling:

  • Am I having the same struggle over and over about the same topic with my child and expecting different results?
  • Am I angry, resentful, or sad about something from my childhood?
  • Am I always disagreeing about parenting with my partner?
  • Am I
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If I have to spend one more minute with this person, I might scream!


July 26, 2016
annoying coworker

We all have “that” person at work, that annoying coworker with an uncanny ability to get under our skin — even make the environment feel toxic. Whether it’s the office know-it-all or a passive-aggressive button-pusher, every interaction makes our blood boil.

Unfortunately, dodging them in the hallways or fantasizing that they’ll get fired only works for so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face them. (Sound of sad trombone.)

The good news is, it’s possible to feel better. The harder news is, doing so is up to you. It’s not enough to behave impeccably despite someone acting horribly; your reactions to them are making you unhappy. So it’s time to change your reactions.

Here are six things you can do to keep “that person” from ruining your day
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The world’s most awkward moment revealed


March 17, 2016
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Happy National Awkward Moments Day! Yes, it’s a real thing. The Internet says so.

And in honor of the day, we’re zooming in for a closer look at the topic. After all, an awkward moment is a type of stuck moment. And that got us wondering:

What separates the kind-of awkward from the truly awkward?

Of all the awkward moments people commonly encounter, what’s the most awkward?

Would it depend on a person’s age? gender? where they live?

Would there be a general consensus? What would it mean if there was, or wasn’t?

Is it actually possible to rank awkwardness?

To find out, we created a poll and asked anyone who wanted to answer which of 36 common but uncomfortable situations they found the most awkward.

Today, being National Awkward Moments Day, seems like the perfect time to reveal those results.

Here are the top 5 most awkward moments, ranked in
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Why don’t I click with the people around me?


January 27, 2016
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Stuck Moment: I don’t know what it is. I like these people, a lot of them are my friends, and there’s nothing wrong with this party. I just feel like no one actually cares if I’m here or not. Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t really belong here. I feel so out of sync.

* * *

It’s more common than you might think. We’re living our lives, going out and about in the world, but deep down, we realize something’s missing.

We’re not alone, yet we don’t feel connected. That necessary human bond between us and the people in our lives is tenuous. When we dare to reflect on it, we find ourselves admitting to a kind of loneliness. We don’t feel understood. And we don’t know what to do about it.

Our mothers might tell us to get out more, that we just haven’t met the right people. And maybe so.
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6 ways to deal with an angry person


September 22, 2015
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Stuck moment: Man, I hate it when she gets on a righteous anger rant. I never know what to say, and it’s such a waste of energy and time. She’s a great person otherwise, but I’m not sure it’s worth hanging out with her anymore.

* * *

Someone feels wronged, and we get to hear all about it. Uncomfortable!

A natural tendency is to say, “calm down.” Or explain the other side. Maybe we match her angry words with some of our own. Or remain silent. All human responses, but not all that effective. That’s because we’re not acknowledging how the angry person feels, which more than anything will help her calm down.

Think about it:

  • If we don’t appear to understand, we risk fueling the fire.
  • If we say nothing to avoid conflict, we risk allowing ourselves to be mistreated.
  • If we challenge her anger, we risk losing control of our emotions too.

The better we
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Bad ways to make a good impression


July 28, 2015
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Every so often we find ourselves out of our element when we’re in a situation with other people and feeling unsure. Could be anything, really. Meeting with new business acquaintances. Attending someone else’s family picnic. Caught in a group share-a-thon.

Before panic takes over, we search for a way to fit in. Most likely, we summon lessons of yore, some steadfast this-is-how-you-act-so-people-will-think-well-of-you belief.

Then, finally, the incident is over. We got through it and that’s that. We ignore the smidge of discomfort that’s telling us we may not have made the best impression. Relief often overpowers the desire to reflect.

So let’s pause here for a moment.

Now that we’re feeling balanced again, we have an opportunity to revisit how we act in uncomfortable situations — especially if, deep down, we wish we had a better answer.

To get started on updating your response, here are nine go-to beliefs that can give the opposite impression
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