“Dear Dee,” Communication Advice

by Donna Rustigian Mac

Is one of your personal or professional relationships splintered or in a shambles because of a lack of communication, miscommunication or some type of communication breakdown? Bring your problem to Dee for communication advice. She’ll provide you with skills and insight to help you communicate more effectively so you can create a richer life, with less stress and greater results!

Here are the printed Q&A and Audio at the very end…

Dear Dee,

Some of my best friends hold very different political ideas than I do. I think we’ve changed over time – maybe grown apart with different life moments. How do I stop every casual conversation from going down that rabbit hole? I don’t want to lose these friendships…which I’ve had for a lot of years?

Dave from Dartmouth

Dear Dave,

There’s nothing like old friends which are worth the effort of keeping. So, you have a couple of choices. Try setting “house rules” at the beginning of the get-together. Tell everyone that healthy political discussions are great—but you plan to avoid losing any friendships by allowing any political candidate (Donald, Joe, Gina, Charlie, etc…) to get in the way of your good time. Therefore, if anyone dominates the discussion or continuously touts their “superior” political views or hurts anyone who thinks differently, they’re a goner (or they have to do the dishes or clean the grill at the end of the evening with a gag on).

Remember it’s all in the delivery: Be stern but try saying this with a smile on your face. Remember, these are some of your oldest friends!

Or…you could try a technique I call yes, and. If someone begins to go down that political rabbit hole, try saying something like, “Yeah, (the politician) is a hell of a character, and did you hear that the big town sewer project is going to begin in three weeks. Can you believe it?…”  Yes, and is a take on “how ‘bout those Red Sox”. It makes the political dominator feel heard while allowing you to move the conversation along! This takes practice…but try it.

Dear Dee,

My boyfriend never gets me a card – not at Christmas or birthdays. To me, what someone writes inside a card is even more important than the gift!

Courtney from Cranston

Dear Courtney,

Have you told your boyfriend this? Our significant others won’t know unless we tell them! Here’s what I see. In every good relationship there’s clear communication. Each individual knows themselves very well…Plus, the couple know the “love language” of their partner. According to this classic book, 5 Love languages… by Gary Chapman, receiving gifts, cards or notes is really important to some people and not to others. So, If you find that this is indeed important to you…

Speak the words and ask for what you want with love and see where it goes.  Your boyfriend may easily understand and begin taking time to do this for you. And he may not…so again…see how this goes.

You probably know that ultimately, we need to love ourselves more than anyone if we are to be ready for a committed relationship. But a good partnership takes two people who are attuned to the needs and desires of the other.

Both people in a healthy partnership… take time to determine what they want and need in their relationship AND they have the ability to ask for it. If you ask and don’t receive, step back and see if this is a pattern. It’s up to you to figure out if this relationship is balanced and strong.

Communications Advice for the Week in Audio with Dear Dee…

To send your “Dear Dee,” question – in complete confidence – just email Dee at [email protected] – Put “Dear Dee” in the subject line, and then look for your answer on Saturday.

Love – Dee

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!

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