Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RELATIONSHIPS: How to Say No to Anything (Including Dates)

Dating situations are tricky, in part, because they sometimes require you to say no or reject someone when you have no interest in hurting anyone's feelings or looking a bad person. The good news is that there are ways that you can say no that still manage to show respect and kindness. I'll show you how to say no respectfully but first I will ask you some questions to get you to think about why people have a hard time saying no in the first place.

Do you need to be liked by everyone?

Men and women who have a hard time saying no often have a deep need to be liked. While it's normal and healthy to want to be liked by the people you have relationships with - family, friends, and so on - it's not normal or healthy to want to be liked by everyone. If you need to be liked by everyone, you are inevitably going to feel stressed because you are trying to pull off the impossible! After all, who really cares if someone you don't know well doesn't like you? They don't even know you, so it doesn't make any sense to take it personally. The first step in learning how to say a "nice no" is to put any need to be liked by everyone to rest.

Do you try hard to look perfect or like one of the nicest people around?

If you have this problem, you know it. What you need to do is remember that the goal is to be good enough - not perfect - and to be nice enough - but not the nicest. Anyone who appears perfect or like the nicest gal or guy is actually working really hard to keep up that image. It's a lot of work, so spare yourself that headache and allow yourself to be flawed (a little) like the rest of the world around you!

The secret reason why some people don't want to say no

If you say no to someone about something specific, you may be afraid that they won't like you or want to be with you anymore. You may have the fear that you will only be liked if you mold yourself into whatever that other person wants you to be. If you say no to a date and let the other person know that you're not interested, you know what's going to happen: they will move on. If you are someone who doesn't want to say no and reject someone, it might not be for purely altruistic reasons; you might actually like the attention and you might not want to say no because you don't want the attention to end. While that it is understandable on a gut level, it's not fair to anyone to keep someone strung along for the sake of your (somewhat needy) ego.

The answer, finally - How to say no with a question

This technique is my favorite way of saying no to anything. You ask me for a date but I'm not interested, so I respond: "Thank you for asking but is it okay if I say no?" By asking the question, you aren't shooting anyone down harshly and you give the other person a sense of control so they don't otherwise have to feel like an idiot. If the person persists and asks why, say this: "I’m not sure exactly, but is that okay?" Again, you ask another question which has the effect of taking the pressure off of you. Very quickly the person will stop asking and will move on, and you won't have said anything mean or hurtful while simultaneously managing to avoid something you don't want to do. When someone asks you to do something that you really don’t want to do, ask “Is it okay if I say no?”

What you shouldn't do when you can't say no

There is no reason why you can't say no using the technique above. It's easy and direct, and you don't have to list a million reasons why you are saying no. What you shouldn't do is postpone dealing with the issue by not saying either yes or no: "Let me think about it;" "I'm not sure;" or "I have to check my calendar." Come on, let’s all degree to be more direct in our communication, especially in dating! It’s already stressful enough to begin with, so let’s not communicate in ambivalent ways and make a challenging process even more challenging. Deal with the question you're asked and say no nicely so that the two of you can move on.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

DR. SETH ON TV: Entertainment Tonight

Tonight I will be on Entertainment Tonight discussing the psychological effect of divorce on kids. Tune in and see how therapy can help make the experience much less traumatic.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

RELATIONSHIPS: 4 Mistakes Older Women (aka “Cougars”) Make Dating Younger Men

As a rule, there is nothing wrong with a woman dating a younger man. Big age differences definitely bring challenges, so my advice to any woman open to dating younger men is to not date someone more than ten or so years younger. If you want to make it work, keep some basic rules in mind. I have highlighted four mistakes that women sometimes make in dating younger men, and following these rules will prove to your younger guy that you see him as a real person and not an object to be picked off the shelf for play time. Men – and women, too – need to feel respected and valued, and following these suggestions will show him that you care and see him as a real man despite his younger age.

Expecting that younger men will want to be sexual all the time

Sex is an extremely delicate issue in relationships, and the degree to which a person feels sexual and seeks out sexual activity couldn't be more complex. How much you desire sexual activity has to do with your mood disposition, your personality style, and even your biological makeup. Just because a man is younger doesn't mean that he will be very sexual. The notion that young men want sex all the time? It may be true in many cases but it is simply not true in all cases.

Paying for everything

You may have money to share, but oversharing your money with a younger man often causes him to feel powerless or resentful later. It's important that a man - or woman, for that matter - feel purposeful and needed in a relationship. Even if a man does not have much disposable money to spend on a woman, it doesn't mean that he wants to be paid for all the time by a surrogate mommy. Don't make the mistake of believing that he will come to depend on you for your money - and not leave you because of it - because men typically only stay in relationships when their emotional - not financial - needs are being met.

Over-flattering them or talking about them as a "boy toy" in front of others

If you are flattering him or making comments about how attractive or sexy he is in front of your friends or his friends, be careful to not overdo it. If you make these kinds of comments too frequently, the flattery will wear thin quickly and actually start to bother him. Comments that are too sexualized will make him feel like an object or a caricature, and all anyone really wants in the end is to be liked for who they are beneath their skin.

Pressuring him to introduce you to his friends or family

If there's a tiny age difference between the two of you (e.g., zero to several years), the age difference will not make a major difference in the relationship. But if there is a significant age difference, the younger man you are with may feel nervous about what others may say about him. Understand that his anxiety is not about you, but rather his fear that others may see him as powerless in the relationship because he is younger (and typically) less established in his career and finances. If he doesn’t want to meet your friends or family members in the first few months, don’t pressure him. He may change his mind as long as you don’t pressure him to do so.

How do you make it work with a younger man?

The savviest strategy you can follow is to treat him like a man who happens to be a certain number of years younger, but who inspires and excites you emotionally like a male peer your own age. In other words, don't focus on or talk too much about the age difference so that you can focus instead on your shared interests. After all, it's liking the same sorts of things - activities and hobbies - that keeps people together for years to come.

Monday, August 15, 2016

RELATIONSHIPS: How to Feel Less Lonely When You're Single - 5 Tips

There's no doubt that being single can be a little lonely sometimes, especially if all or most of your good friends are in a relationship. While being a little lonely is inevitable, you don't have to feel really, really lonely. There are many things you can do to make sure that you protect yourself emotionally from the blues, so take a look at the suggestions below and see if any of them might be worth a try for you.

Scheduling group friend nights.

Sure, your friends may be in a relationship, but that doesn't mean that you can never see them again without their significant other on their arm. The reality is that you have to work harder to create your fun when you're single, and one of the best ways to do that is to schedule an activity night with your friends. While you may want to do a night out with your peeps at a restaurant or bar, your coupled friends may be less interested in that because they are in a relationship and would prefer to do that kind of thing with their significant other. But there are lots of possibilities for a group friends night that will appeal to everyone: a theme dinner party; a cooking/baking party; game night; or movie night. The best way to avoid feeling lonely is to surround yourself with people you care about and who care about you.

Schedule regular calls with friends or family members who live far away.

Scheduling phone "dates" with friends or family is almost necessary these days when everyone is short on time. Schedule phone dates with different people and put the dates in the calendar. You can make it even more fun by having a solo pajama party for the date with some of your favorite snacks, a glass of wine, or slipping into your favorite pair of old-school pajamas.

Join an organization to meet new people.

Of course, the real goal in joining a group should be to benefit from the actual activity itself, but a secondary benefit from joining any new group is that you will meet new people. Though it may not sound fun to put yourself out there, just try it once or twice and see if it sticks. Meeting new people is a great way to remind yourself that your life is fresh and things are always changing.

Practice a mind-absorbing hobby.

Immediately, knitting comes to mind, a hobby that is quite the rage among hipsters and older adults. If you practice any hobby, terrific. But knitting and many other hobbies don’t actually suck up serious mental energy from your mind. If you play a game of chess or reorganize an entire closet, you have to really focus. Focusing on a task is an extremely effective activity when you’re feeling lonely or stressed because the act of focusing requires total attention. In other words, you can’t think about your loneliness because you’re focusing on a hobby or task. Simply put, you want to distract yourself from thinking about the stuff that makes you feel bad. Plus, when you finish a hobby, you have the added bonus of feeling proud of yourself for what you completed. Pour yourself into a yard or house task, or a mind-absorbing hobby and you will feel so much less lonely when you’re done!

A simple proverb can be your best friend in the world.

No feeling is permanent, whether blissful or downright miserable. Feelings are fleeting, so remember this proverb: This too shall pass. As unpleasant as it is to have to sit with lonely feelings and try to go about your daily life, at least make an effort to learn a lesson from your loneliness so that you don’t feel like this time is lost or wasted. What does your loneliness indicate? It doesn’t just indicate that you’re lonely and want to find a partner. Go deeper. Your loneliness is telling you that you have a major unmet need in your life. Think about your other relationships with family, coworkers and friends, and ask yourself how connected you feel to any of them? Sometimes loneliness is delivered to shine a light on something we haven’t noticed before.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I was recently interviewed for an article about how men can tell early in dating if a woman will be clingy or selfish. I am a guy - but still a feminist - and firmly believe that men and women are more similar than different, so I believe that the signs the article talks about could apply to clingy or selfish men, as well. Check out the article and see what you think!

Men's Fitness article can be read here: http://www.mensfitness.com/women/sex-tips/5-warning-signs-youll-regret-having-sex-her.

Monday, May 30, 2016

POP CULTURE: Did Prince Suffer from "VIP Syndrome?"

An interesting article suggests that Prince, like fellow pop star Michael Jackson, suffered from something called "VIP Syndrome" in which therapists and physicians treat famous patients differently because of their status. According to this theory, professionals will forgo regulations and protocols that are normally followed with everyday patients (of course, to the ultimate detriment of the patient). The term "VIP Syndrome" isn't a clinical term included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -5, but the idea behind it is worth considering.

Article here: http://cnn.it/1XYFNt5.