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Want Better Communication? Stop Pushing Buttons

I’m around little kids a lot these days. It’s amazing how early and thoroughly they learn to push our buttons. They know our weaknesses, and they aren’t afraid to use them. A very convincing cry, some irritating whining, or even a guilt trip. Man, they are good. I try to remember the motto posted in my daughter’s classroom at daycare: They’re two. Whatcha going to do? I give kids credit, they really don’t have a lot of power. They have to use what they can. They are resourceful, really. While it’s skilled for kids to at least try to push buttons to get what they want, the same is not true of adults. As adults, if we purposefully say something to another person just to get our way or get them to feel something negative, then that is unskilled communication.     . . . read more

Not Saying Has Consequences

I’ve come to believe that not saying anything is the most over-used communication strategy in couples. It’s not a bad strategy when used appropriately. For example, there are many things you might choose not to talk about because they are minor and would offend for no reason: a style choice, a passing grumpy mood, a silly mistake. The saying, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, makes sense to me. No need to criticize without a purpose. However, it’s also important to remember that the saying is not: if you have something unpleasant, difficult or emotional to say, don’t say anything at all. Too often we avoid saying something that might be hard or prompt an emotional response. The belief is that if we abstain from saying anything then we are not responsible. Our     . . . read more

Two New Workshops this Fall

I’m pleased to announce two new mini-workshops, specifically for women, to take place in my office at 203 Anderson Street in Portland, Maine. These are intended to be small and highly interactive, so space is limited. Getting to “No” Guilt-free Tuesday, September 24th 12:00-1:30pm This mini-workshop is for nice women who need specific strategies for how and when to say no, all while overcoming guilt. Whether you are over-extended at home, work, or both, this workshop is designed to give you the tools and confidence you need to stop the stress of never saying no. You will learn: Why no is nice How to gracefully, but firmly, say no When it makes sense to say no Why relationships suffer when you fail to say no How relationships benefit when you say no more often How to recognize unrealistic expectations of     . . . read more

Assertiveness for Women Mini-Workshop

Clear and Kind: Assertiveness for (Nice) Women Mini-Workshop at Hannah’s office 203 Anderson St. Portland, Maine Thursday, July 18th 2:30-4pm Learn to speak in ways that people will listen. Will use real-world examples. Cost is $30 and you can sign up by emailing at hannahcurtis.lcsw@gmail.com. ****I will run this if I can get 4 participants signed up by Monday the 15th**** I’m going to be trying to run some of these mini-workshops in the next few months on different topics so stay tuned. Let me know if you have any interest or requests for specific topics.

Why No Is Nice

I often hear stories about people who over-extend themselves. Maybe its making cakes for a school function, loaning money, running errands for a family member, or donating time. People often say yes when that’s not what’s right for them. I believe saying yes when really you need to say no is a big problem. I’m not against generosity, charity, or volunteering. These are good things that you should do as much as possible, but not more than possible. When you try to do something you really can’t, it doesn’t end up with a positive result. (You can see my skill for forming obvious conclusions). Here’s how it plays out: You are asked to do something. You are not truly wanting/able/willing to do this something. But you feel bad so you say that you will. You do the something. It takes     . . . read more

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