“Dear Dee” – Communication Advice

by Donna Rustigian Mac

Well hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can create healthy human connections….that means trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.  

Our first question today:

Dear Dee,

How do I get my mother who lives in Washington State to stop asking me when I’m going to visit her? She moved from Massachusetts 11 years ago and visiting…even prior to coronavirus had financial implications as I pay down student loans and other debt. With the pandemic I’m even less eager to fly cross country, which would inevitably involve health risks. I want to see my mother, but my financial goals are too great now.  


Dear E.S.

We always do our best to lead with love – especially when it comes to our mothers. I highly recommend that you NOT tell your mother that your finances are more important than seeing her. Considering the coronavirus health risks of flying across the country, be as direct as possible and tell your mom that all visits are on hold for a while. Also, when you speak with her, remember your WHY. You might say something like, “this is important because I don’t want to contract the virus and bring it to you or anyone else.”

Now, E.S., If your relationship is good, she might be fine. If she pushes you and attempts to inflict guilt, stand tall and stay strong. You can understand her desire to see you but if guilt tries to creep in, gently push it away. You have the power to do this. We’re all doing the best we can right now. Keep sending her loving thoughts; loving kindness. And maybe a little present in the mail.

Dear Dee,

How do you effectively communicate with a boss whose communication makes you inferior?


Dear M.M.

Please remember the classic quote from Elenor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Do not grant your boss this permission. I realize that’s easier said than done.

So…a few things…. First… you can’t change anyone but yourself.  This might be a good opportunity to realize you will sense “negative energy” from many people throughout life and career. There are just some people who seem to have the need to emanate superiority. Do not take it personally. According to the #1 Pillar of effective communication: Know and Own and BE who you are.  If you’re confident in the fact that you’re doing a great job, are conscientious, consistent with your work…take time to remind yourself of that. Sometimes when we carry ourselves with confidence, others notice and automatically begin treating us differently. If you don’t see any changes and your boss’s negative energy is chronic, perhaps it’s time to speak. You can begin by saying, “I’m sensing something is wrong. Are you ok?”

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Communications Advice for the Week in Audio with Dear Dee…

Dear Dee is published every week at RI News Today dot com.

To send your “Dear Dee,” question – in complete confidence – just email: [email protected] – Put “Dear Dee” in the subject line, and then look for your answer on Saturday. Please keep your information private in not identifying specific people – and sign your note with your initials or as you would like it to appear – such as “Confused in Cumberland”

This is Dee, signing out for today, creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication. You can find me at That’s the letter i…voice

Donna Rustigian Mac is the Founder and Chief People Officer at iVoice Communication, dedicated to creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication.

Donna is an executive communication coach workforce trainer and motivational speaker with more than 3 decades of experience.

Donna is also the author of Guide to a Richer Life, Know Your Worth, Find Your Voice and Speak Your Truth and the creator of The Six Pillars of Effective Communication.

Donna’s undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts and Humanities. She has also studied psychology at Lesley University, with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence), and is a certified mindfulness teacher with continuing studies at Brown University’s Center for Mindfulness.

During her career, Donna has partnered with Clear Channel Communication and The Speech Improvement Company, the oldest speech communication company in the United States. Clients include Merrill Lynch, Cambridge Associates, The Massachusetts Banker’s Association, CVS Health and many others.

In addition to her work, Donna is an avid runner, skier, gardener and the mother of two kind, strong and successful millennials who have the great ability to communicate!