August #AskGretchen: The Ex, Left Out Kids, Negotiating Your Worth, and Coworker Conflict

#Ask Gretchen; Let's get real.Dear Gretchen: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years. I can see from Google Analytics, that his ex visits my blog three or four times a day. She is still hung up on their relationship and because of this, I feel like I need to limit what I write about my life. I don’t think there is anything I can do without starting unnecessary drama. What would you do? – At A Loss, NJ

Dear at a Loss: Write your blog uninhibited from a place of love rather than fear. Every time she enters your thoughts, take a moment to wish her happiness, love, peace and joy. If you are someone who prays, then pray for those things for her. The sooner she finds restoration of self, the sooner she will be able to let go of the past. When you see her name on the analytics report, hold a space of compassion and remember a time when you were devastated by heartbreak. It will change your own obsessive thoughts about what she is doing and may even open up channels of healing for her. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: My daughter is shy and on the quiet side. When she gets together with her cousins, they usually do not include her in their games. It breaks my heart to see her off by herself and makes me angry at my sisters for not making their kids play with her. What is the best way for me to get my daughter to interact and join in with the other kids? It’s brining up all of my feelings of from childhood when I was left out of groups. – Feeling Left Out, New York City

Dear Left Out: Childhood wounds can be painful. Something you can do to help foster your daughter’s relationships is to be a model on how to interact with others. When my kids were small, I would approach the children with them and encourage them to be included. When they stumbled or hid behind my legs, I gave them the words to use. I stayed with each of my boys so that they felt supported while they practiced the scary skill of being vulnerable and opened themselves up to rejection. The reward was that they learned how to ask for what they wanted. Kids often need to be taught how to act appropriately in social situations. That is why you hear and see so many parents on the playground telling their children to be nice and to share. If you can give your daughter the gift of words and be there as she practices, she will gain confidence that will help her, her entire life. On another note, I want you to ask yourself if the feelings you are having are more about you or your daughter. If they are about you, it may be a good idea to seek therapy to sort out and come to peace with these feelings from the past. Parenting can be so triggering. But, as you nurture your child and help her navigate the turbulent waters of adolescence, you will also be nurturing and healing your inner child. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: What is the best way to resolve conflict in the workplace? I have a co-worker who is constantly saying snotty things to me in front of others. I would really like to tell her off, but know that isn’t the answer. What is? – Frustrated in Boulder, CO

Dear Frustrated: Have you asked your co-worker what you have done to upset her? Even if you do not think you have done anything “wrong” somewhere along the way the relationship took a left turn. The quickest way to resolve a conflict is to call the white elephant out in the room. Say something like, “It seems like I’ve done something to upset you. What can I do to make it right?” This will neutralize the situation while opening up a platform for dialogue. If you can leave your ego at the door and not worry about who is right and who is wrong, you will see the relationship change. Whatever you do, do not stoop to her level. Answering snottiness with kindness is a great way to change the atmosphere. Be the change you want to see. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: I know we said we should always negotiate and ask for things while showing results and our accomplishments. Is it ok to negotiate salary is a good thing during a promotion scenario?
Should a person accept the offer as is (with a salary increase already on the table) or should they still try to negotiate? – Negotiating Novice, Los Angeles, CA

Dear Negotiating: You pose a good question. It is absolutely appropriate to recognize the promotion as an opportunity to negotiate. By promoting you, your company is expressing that they value the work that you do. Replacing a good employee is costly. I encourage you to be as prepared as possible for the meeting. Think through what you will say. Have concrete examples to illustrate your accomplishments and how they have increased revenue, production, morale, customer outreach, and so on. Be specific on the results you have obtained and the difference that has made for the company as a whole. If your company is going through a challenging financial period, rather than negotiating for a higher salary, request non-financial benefits such as vacation time, flexibility, and other incentives. The key is to show that you are an integral part of the organization and to clearly state what it is that you are asking for. If your scope of work has changed since your last review, bring a clear description of what your job truly entails and the duties you perform that are outside of your originally negotiated agreement. Be sure to always keep your company’s vision and goals at the forefront of the conversation and partner with your boss to make it easier for him/her to say yes to your request. Let them know that you are grateful for the opportunity and that you will do your part to make sure that the company is moving towards its desired goals. Congratulations! – Gretchen


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