Juggling Act ~ How to Get What You Need From Others

Juggling Act ~ How to Get What You Need From Others

Hi there! I was thinking about something today that I thought might interest you. In my practice I get a lot of questions about relationship issues. It makes sense. Those of us who have experienced problems handling emotions have learned early on various methods of getting our needs met. Sometimes this works in the short term. It may even work with certain people in our lives for quite a while. But sometimes we may begin to lose friends or feel like we are irritating to people. When it’s really bad, our siblings may even start screening our calls!

That’s sounds funny, but it happens, and it’s hurtful. There is a concept that is part of Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills that I teach to my clients that really helps. I ask them to keep three balls in the air at once.


What is my objective in this conversation? Is it to ask someone to do something for me or say no to him or her about something they want from me? Knowing my objective ahead of time will help me stay on track in the conversation. You know as well as I do how people can take us on rabbit trails. They can say something like, “Well, three weeks ago you did something similar,” and off we go. Soon we forget what it was that we wanted or needed to say.


What do I want this relationship to look like after this conversation? Is this person important to me? Do I want them to continue to like/respect/love/want to hang out with me?  Sometimes we are dealing with someone we don’t even like. We may not care if we ever see them again. If that’s the case, we don’t need to be as careful.


We may not need to be as careful if we don’t care as much about the relationship, but we still need to be respectful and think about how we want to view ourselves after the conversation ends. Heaping guilt onto ourselves is not going to help anything or anybody. We want to treat others as we wish to be treated.

Then we can walk with our head held high.

What is the hardest part about relationships for you? Do you have trouble in romantic relationships? Is it boundary issues? Do you feel misunderstood? Do you feel you may have social anxiety? Email me and I’ll write more about your topic.

Mindfulness can also help. We begin to slow down the reaction time and think about what we are doing in the moment. For some quick mindfulness tips you can use anywhere, click here to download your free copy of my latest e-book, The Mindfulness Toolkit: 10 Quick Tips to Reboot Your Brain on the Fly. And for more tips, sign up for my free newsletter.



4 thoughts on “Juggling Act ~ How to Get What You Need From Others

  1. The hardest part of relationships for me is trying to remain self-assured and confident about the relationship, even if the other person can’t be there for me as much as I’d like them to or feel that I need. For example, a busy boyfriend’s work schedule cutting into our relationship time, or calling a friend repeatedly who doesn’t answer the phone or return a call until the next day.

    These situations feel like “abandonment” to me, and it’s very difficult to get through the time alone until the person CAN attend to our relationship. Sometimes that feels as though it will last forever, and it’s very challenging to not get angry with them or feel hurt, devastated, and, well, abandoned.

    1. Hi Sarah…that makes so much sense! You feel a sense of abandonment and a need to know that triggers anxiety. A DBT skill that helps in that situation is to get involved in an activity that will take more of your attention until the anxiety goes down. The more you can tolerate the anxiety and just accept that feeling, the less it will happen. You may remind yourself that many people do not feel the need to return calls immediately, or they get busy or have other important things (like work) and that your feelings stem from the past. It’s so worth it to learn to tolerate those feelings and allow them to pass on their own without taking action…like texting or calling over and over. As long as we do that, the feelings of abandonment will not have a chance to go away. I hope that helps. Stay in touch!

      1. Thank you so much for this advice, Linda! It’s a relief and very encouraging just to know that there ARE things I can do to help manage these overwhelming feelings when I’m in these situations, and that if I do them, my anxiety will lessen over time. I will try this next time and see how it goes. Thank you again for these motivating words of wisdom! 🙂 ~Sarah

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