Posts by Ryan Trimble

How to Stand Up for Yourself

How can I find the strength to say what I need to say when someone does me wrong? I struggle to tell people when I’m bothered because I believe I will get in a heated argument with them and get lost for words. Sometimes my dad raises his voice at me and I just keep quiet. Sometimes a colleague will speak to me in a threatening voice and I say nothing. Sometimes someone makes my child cry and I still say nothing, and so on. These often feel like life-or-death situations, and afterward I blame myself for being weak. Sometimes I so badly regret not speaking up that I can’t even sleep at night, playing over and over in my head what I should have said. What can I do?

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What Can You Do When Someone Won’t Forgive You?

A few years ago I was promoted to leadership while my senior colleague who also wanted the role was not. Since then, our relationship has deteriorated. He has said he feels personally attacked by direction I’ve given the team. I have tried to make it safe, contrast, state my path, start with heart, but to no avail. I’ve even given him small tokens of appreciation—a treat or a gift card—but he won’t acknowledge my efforts to rebuild trust or communicate with me. I’ve been through your communication courses and received communication coaching, and I regularly seek feedback from my peers and leaders, and they say they feel safe to communicate openly with me. My manager and VP have said he has a personal issue with me, but none of us has been able to get him to open up. How can I “Make It Safe” for someone who clearly doesn’t feel safe?

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I’m Sick and Tired of Making Decisions for My Senior Colleague

I work with a senior colleague who almost always seeks my approval on decisions that are his responsibility. I have advised and supported him a few times in the past, but now he seems to have become dependent on me to confirm or validate his actions. I get the sense that he doubts himself, worries that something might go wrong, and would like to direct the blame to me in case it did. I have my responsibilities, so I get annoyed that he depends on me to make his decisions for him. I’m also afraid that if I don’t respond to his requests, he’ll let his projects stagnate and then blame their failure on me. I feel he does not want to take ownership for his responsibilities, and it’s a nuisance. What can I do?

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Kids These Days

How do you respectfully call someone out for bad manners in public?

I frequently find myself in situations where someone’s behavior goes against well-known norms or even common decency. I work with people who dive into their smartphones while in the middle of a conversation without excusing themselves. They will literally check out of the conversation they’re having with me in person, start texting someone, then resume the conversation with me as though nothing happened. I think this is quite rude.

Or, there are people who smoke at my community park where it’s clearly prohibited. And they play their music loudly. I know these behaviors aren’t exclusive to young people, but it seems it’s almost always young adults who are guilty. Has nobody taught them?

Every time something like this happens, I want to say something but don’t know how. I worry that speaking up will offend the person or lead to an argument or make matters worse, and yet I want to say something. I think our communities are better when people respect basic norms of, well, respect. Any suggestions?

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Dealing with a Narcissist in the Family

Do you have any advice for dealing with a narcissist?

My twenty-four-year-old daughter has a new boyfriend who is a narcissist and she is showing signs of being emotionally abused. He is slowly isolating her—from friends, colleagues, family members. How can I use your skills to show him respect even though he is crushing my daughter? I want to ensure he doesn’t exclude me from her life for when she does need me.

Or can you suggest how I might talk to my daughter so she can see the light? When I tell her I am concerned about her situation, she gets defensive and lies to me, so she’s obviously not feeling safe around me. I have very strong feelings about the situation, so it is crucial I handle this well—I don’t want to lose my daughter. I want to build a better relationship with her and let her know we will always love her and be there for her when she needs us.

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My Adult Daughter is Severely Overweight. What Can I Do?

I have a 38-year-old daughter who is severely overweight and doesn’t want to hear anything about the issue. She shops doctors and has subscribed to the “anti-diet” philosophy, which I can see some value in. However, she has taken this philosophy into the realm of cultism. I do not know what to do. It is ruining her life. Please help me. Typical psychology experts have been no help to this point.

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How to Talk to Someone about Their Poor Hygiene

We have been avoiding an employee’s hygiene issue for a while now. He usually works from home, but occasionally he works onsite, and he has long fingernails and stains on his shirt—too unkempt for our bakery stores. We are the owners and have read Crucial Conversations, and yet we don’t know when and how to bring this up. Most of our interactions happen via video, and when we’re together in person we often don’t have privacy. Any suggestions?

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