Questions to Sophie: Friends and family staying too late

Suzanne Kline

Q: My family and friends stop in at my house without calling. I love them dearly and I like to see them. However, sometimes they stay late into the evening. I have other things I still need to do before the next day, and I get tired and want to go to bed. It gets awkward as they just dont seem to pick up on my cues that its time for them to go.

A:You may think youll hurt their feelings by asking them to leave or fear that if you say something, they will stop coming by.

There are different types of communication, three of which are: passive, assertive and aggressive. If your company does not know what you want from them, then you are likely using a passive communication style. Consequently, your visitors are unaware that they have overextended their stay and you feel pressured and uncomfortable. Here are some ideas to approach this situation and maintain these loving relationships.

Tell your family and friends in a considerate tone that you like when they stop in to see you. If you prefer they call first, muster up the courage, and in a kind manner tell them to please call and make arrangements with you before they come so that you can give them your full attention. When its time for them to go because you are tired and still have work to get done, with a kind demeanor, inform them that you have enjoyed their company and will have to continue another time as you must prepare for the next day and get a good nights sleep. Then stand up and let your actions confirm what you are saying - indicating you really are finished with the visit for the evening. Delivering your message in a loving way will reassure them that you appreciate their company, and keep them coming back on mutually agreeable conditions.

Readers: If you have suggestions for the questions, or an opinion on the responses, please email questionstosophie@gmail.com. Your submission may be printed in a following article.

Disclaimer: Responses to questions are not to be construed as receiving, and are not a substitute for, psychological services, or treatment.

Questions to Sophie is a new question and answer column addressing reflections on work, family, friendship and personal issues. Send your questions to questionstosophie@gmail.com or mail them to The Hamburg Area Item office. Please submit by the editorial deadline.

The column is by Suzanne Kline a practicing psychologist born and raised in the Hamburg area.

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