Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
This week’s prompt was a little tricky for me because I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. January isn’t my favourite month of the year, and this one seems to really be dragging on.
I don’t know about all of you, but sometimes my brain likes to focus on the things I wish I’d done differently instead taking note of what I think I’ve done well in life so far. I will take this as a challenge to congratulate myself on how far I’ve come, though!
When someone needs help, I’m the sort of person who will leap to the occasion. That’s a positive character trait in many situations, but sometimes it can be taken too far if you don’t also look after your own needs or if the person who wants help doesn’t respect boundaries.
In the past few years, I’ve noticed that it’s slowly become easier for me to realize what my limits are and stop before I’ve been pushed past them.
As a hypothetical example, I can be available to do A or B for someone on the first Tuesday of the month from 7 to 8 pm but not be able to do anything outside of that time frame and never agree to do C, D, or E for them.
It’s a huge win, especially when the occasional person demands I give them all of the letters of the alphabet on any given day and hour of the week and I still stand firm in how much time and energy I actually have for them.
Not only that, but my guilt about saying no is decreasing, too, and I can now more easily end my availability to do A or B temporarily (or even permanently) for people who try to push past my limits one too many times.
Happy early Valentine’s Day to everyone to celebrates it!
I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I do have a short list of helpful nonfiction books about creating better relationships, whether they’re with friends, romantic partners, family members, or other people you know.
Yes, some of the information in some of them is specifically written for certain types of relationships like a romance or dealing with a pushy mother-in-law, but the principles in them can be applied to many other situations as well.
Some of these books were written for specific groups like Christians or people who are polyamorous. I encourage you to check them all out even if those specific labels don’t apply to you. Just like with the different types of relationships, there are far more similarities between these groups than you might originally think. We’re all human, after all!
I mean, every relationship should include things like clear communication, setting boundaries, compromising, kindly handling conflict, and giving/receiving emotional support no matter who you are, how you identify, or whether the person you’d like to get along with better is your spouse, best friend, mother-in-law, or coworker.
What I Like About It: Not everyone values the same methods of showing affection. I think there’s something to be said for figuring out what makes people feel appreciated and doing those things as much as you can.
What I Like About It: Setting boundaries can be tricky for me sometimes, but it’s important for every type of relationship. This book is filled with examples of how to figure out what you can offer someone and how to say no to the rest. It was also cool to see what specific phrases they recommended for people who have trouble saying no.
What I Like About It: I believe that we should all be methodical about who we invite into our inner circles and move slowly when dating, making new friends, or even deciding where we’d like to work (if possible). This book goes beyond picking out red flags for more obvious things like abuse and encourages the audience to figure out exactly what we want out of all of our relationships and who we are (and aren’t) compatible with.
You can prevent a lot of heartache if you move slowly in the beginning of any sort of relationship and pay close attention to how you are (or aren’t) matching up with your potential romantic parter or friend.
I also loved what it had to say about gracefully ending relationships that aren’t working for whatever reason. There’s no need to demonize anyone if you find that you’re not actually compatible with them. Some relationships simply weren’t meant to last, and that’s okay.
What I Like About It: While attachment styles can be changed with time and hard work, they are part of figuring out compatibility for many different types of relationships and learning how to communicate better.
For example, I tend to have a bit of an anxious attachment style, so I know that people with avoidant attachment styles are not a good fit for me at all. (Although I do wish them the best!)
What I Like About It: Emotional intelligence matters in every sort of relationship we have as human beings. There are ways to approach difficult subjects that can make it much easier to discuss and hopefully resolve. A harsh phrasing of the same sentiment might lead to nothing but an argument that goes nowhere.
Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
I have a relative who isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box and who often speaks before they think. They have known about my milk allergy for 17 years, and yet we’ve had versions of this conversation over and over again.
“This is delicious. You should try this <food that is overflowing with milk ingredients>, Lydia!”
“No, thanks. You know I’m allergic to milk, Relative, and that food is filled with it.”
“Oh, a little bite won’t hurt you. You should take a break.”
“Yeah, that’s not how allergies work.”
“But it’s just one bite!”
Needless to say, pressuring someone to eat something you know will make them ill is awful advice.
In case anyone is concerned, I stopped eating or drinking anything this relative offered to me many years ago unless I’ve personally removed it from it’s factory-sealed package and can double-check the ingredients to make sure that a little bite is, indeed, safe for me.
And, yes, they have had allergies explained to them in many different ways at multiple times by a wide variety of folks, This isn’t a case of an otherwise reasonable person accidentally mistaking allergies for a mild food intolerance or simply disliking a certain ingredient. I’m understanding of genuine errors like that.
My relative has been given all of the medical facts about how allergies work and why repeated exposures can lead to life-threatening emergencies with no advance warning even if all of your previous reactions were mild enough to be treated at home.
Their illogical refusal to listen is one of many reasons why this person and I are rarely in the same vicinity and why I always keep my guard up and my allergy meds close by when I must be around them.
On a positive note, it does make for a funny story now that I have some emotional distance from those experiences and that person. Can you imagine how much easier life would be if we could all just “take a break” from any medical conditions we may have whenever it’s inconvenient or we feel like it? If only!
I find it interesting how we are all encouraged to over-indulge during multiple holidays from October to December only to be bombarded with weight loss and fitness ads come January 1.
To me, it makes so much more sense to continue on with the same healthy habits I follow the other nine months of the year and to build new ones than to throw everything out of the window between Canadian Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
I still have treats, and there are days when all of my exercise comes in the form of long – or even not so long – walks. With that being said, I do my best to stick to my regular habits as much as possible no matter what the date on the calendar says and to start my New Year’s Resolution a few weeks ahead of time for the following reasons.
Building Habits Takes Time
Any lifestyle change takes time not only to turn into a habit but to preserve as a normal part of one’s routines.
Starting (or continuing) now will give you a head start on everyone making similar resolutions in a few weeks.
I don’t know about all of you, but I find it easier to stick to small changes in my daily habits if I begin them a few weeks before everyone starts talking about what they want to change about themselves or their lives in the new year.
Fitness isn’t a competition, but there’s something motivating about starting early to me. I like the feeling of already settling into the rhythm of a new habit before it becomes a common topic of conversation in my social circles. It’s not about winning. It’s about having the self-discipline to think about these things in advance and seeing what I can accomplish early on.
Google analytics keeps showing me visitors who found this blog by searching for phrases like “how to get quiet people to speak up.” It seems like a good discussion topic, so let’s jump into it!
As a quiet person, I’ve been on the receiving end of many helpful and not-so-helpful attempts to get me to be more talkative.
I choose to believe this happens because some people are fascinated by us quiet folks and wish they knew more about how our minds work and what we’re thinking about.
Occasionally, I meet someone who is even quieter than I am, and that is exactly how I respond to them. So it only makes sense that others would have that same reaction.
While I obviously can’t guarantee that every quiet person on Earth will respond positively to all of these techniques, I can say they work on me and that I’ve had success when trying them with quiet friends and acquaintances as well.
Give Them Time to Warm Up
Disclaimer: not every quiet person is shy, and not every shy person is quiet.
As someone who is both, however, I find that I become much more talkative once I’ve gotten to know someone better.
One, it means that I’ll already have some idea of what we have in common. Two, it also means that I’ll have a good indication of which topics, if any, others prefer not to discuss.
No, I’m not talking about anything controversial or widely known to be a sensitive topic here. It’s more an issue of knowing that friend X loves to talk about photography but has zero interest in anything related to team sports (or vice versa).
Leave Space in the Conversation
Some people excel at filling every potential moment of silence in a conversation with words.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having this temperament, but it can make it harder for quiet people get a word in edgewise.
If you give me ten seconds to process my thoughts, I’m much more likely to speak up. Anyone who is comfortable leaving small amounts of space in multiples portions of a conversation will be rewarded by all sorts of interesting replies from me as I come up with them.
This is by far one of the biggest things that make me feel welcome to chime in.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
There’s something wonderful about open-ended questions that do their best to avoid assumptions.
By that I mean, folks who assume that me being a woman means I must love fashion and makeup aren’t going to get very far with me on those particular topics because I know almost nothing about them!
If they ask what I enjoy doing in my free time instead, we could have a long, fruitful conversation about the best books to read when you’re in any number of unusual circumstances, interesting things I’ve seen on nature walks, and why astronomy is such a fascinating branch of science.
Keep the Group Small
If possible, choose a smaller group of people to talk to instead of a larger one. I find it much easier to chime in when a few other folks are taking turns talking than when a dozen or more people have joined the conversation.
Relevant story time! Both of my parents grew up in large families. Mom’s side of the family was especially big if you stepped back a generation or two and invited the hundreds of relatives to the massive annual reunions the oldest family members used to organize.
I cared about all of them, but, wow, was it overwhelming to step into a banquet hall and hear dozens of animated conversations happening simultaneously no matter where you walked.
There were a few talkative relatives who would invite me to chat with them and a handful of other people. They were the folks who got to hear about parts of my life that I probably wouldn’t have shared in the larger conversation circles.
If you’re a fellow quiet person, what else would you recommend?
This is a topic I thought would make a great introduction to the beginning of December and the holiday season that looms before us, but the information in it is timeless. I’m using the phrase difficult people as a shorthand term for anyone you find challenging to socialize with because of their behaviour. Labels are… Read More
I’ve been thinking about Star Trek a lot lately, especiallyThe Original Series. The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were the parts of this universe I grew up watching. It wasn’t I was an adult that I actually sat down and checked out the series that started the Star Trek franchise back in the 1960s. If you’ve never… Read More
This is the story of something that happened to me last year. It won’t take long to tell, but it’s important. I met someone at a social event who was friendly, funny, and charming at first glance. They seemed like exactly the sort of person anyone would want to spend time with. They’re hiding something,… Read More
There have been references to the argumentative nature of the Internet for as long as I’ve been aware of such a thing, much less an active participant in it. Without giving away my age, I was around back when people got into never-ending arguments on message boards about topics that ranged from the serious to… Read More
Social media is a double-edged sword. On the positive side, I’ve met a lot of incredible people on Twitter and other sites that I never would have otherwise crossed paths with. I’m grateful for the opportunity to make friends from so many different parts of the world. They’ve opened my eyes to everything from social… Read More