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December 11, 2012

Stop Being Dismissive in Your Relationships…NOW

IStock_0eyerollingallDismissiveness seems to be a common problem in relationships, although if you were to ask people if they see themselves as dismissive, many would say no. When people minimize, ignore or defend against someone else’s feelings, upsets or concerns, they are being dismissive. The underlying message with dismissiveness is, “That’s a silly thing to think/worry/be upset about—move on.” Some people will directly say this, while others are a bit savvier with how they send this message. Regardless of whether a person directly or covertly dismisses someone, dismissiveness is toxic to relationships.

Below are 10 statements and behaviors that are red flags for dismissiveness. Read all of these carefully and avoid using them in your relationships.
1.    “You’re too sensitive.”
2.    “Stop making such a big deal out of things.”
3.    “Just relax.”
4.     “You’re/we’re/things are just fine.”
5.    “There are more important things than this...really.”
6.    “So what? You have your health don’t you?”
7.    “I don’t see what the problem is—would you just let it go?”
8.    Rolling your eyes.
9.    Ignoring or shutting down the conversation.
10.    Getting defensive about complaints about you.

Dismissiveness is an incredibly frustrating interaction. It leaves the person being dismissed, hurt, angry and annoyed. No one has the right to tell someone else what s/he should or should not be thinking or feeling. When someone is sharing an upset, concern or fear, stop thinking about whether you think what is being said has warrant and KNOW that if the person is speaking it…then it has importance to that person. Hear the message, acknowledge the feelings and STOP dismissing or minimizing what the person is saying. 

When it comes to relationships, remember that it behooves people to practice the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. No one likes to be dismissed or told that what s/he is talking about isn’t important. Don’t do it to others and don’t accept it when others do it to you. If the message someone is sharing is about you, take the high road and be accountable, not defensive. If the message is about someone/something else, listen, support and be thankful that s/he cares enough about you to share their thoughts and feelings with you.

Challenge: Pay attention to all the times you dismiss others in your life. Stop tuning others out, telling them what is and is not important or minimizing their experiences. Step up and be a true support…and insure others do the same for you.


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thank you, Lisa!!

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