Keeping yourself out of a text wreck
About a month ago, I wrote a blog about improving communication in relationships. There are some pretty useful tips you can check out, especially if you don’t want your relationship to be like a Taylor Swift song. After writing that blog, I felt like a huge piece was missing because I know how much people use social media and their phone to communicate with one another. Communicating in a text is pretty different from talking face to face. I know I’ve seen some train wrecks happen in relationships because of mishaps that happened in text arguments and I’m hoping we can come up with some ideas to help prevent that from happening to you.
First off, I’m not saying talking to a partner or a friend via text is bad. It’s just a different way of talking. You may want to pick and choose if you should have a conversation face to face or in a text. There are pros and cons to every decision we can make. If you read through this list and want to add something, do it in a comment or email at AskShawna@yahoo.com
Face to Face Conversation:
- Can judge a person’s reaction’
- Can read their body language
- Some people feel they can be more expressive
- Can hear a person’s tone of voice
- Some people feel too much pressure and avoid conversations or shut down
- May be difficult to find a perfect place and time to talk
- Other people can know your business if they see or hear you
- Might forget what someone said
- Can talk whenever
- Some people feel less pressure when not face to face
- Some people feel more connected getting pictures and texts even when they are far apart
- Difficult to read someone’s reactions
- Subtleties (jokes, sarcasm, surprise, concern) are often misunderstood
- May be limited in what you can say
- Other person can “walk away” and not respond
- Batteries can die in the middle of a discussion
- Your setting might not match the conversations (i.e. hanging our with friends or family)
So like I said earlier, you might want to pick and choose which conversations are going to be best face to face or in person. But let’s say you want to talk something out, right here, right now, and you’re going to bring it up in a text, here are some tips that might make things go more smoothly.
Read the tips from the earlier blog (click here).
A lot of them apply to texts too. You can arrange for a better time to talk things out in a text. It can be as simple as, “I have to talk about something important with you. Is now a good time or when should I text you?” or “I really need to talk to you about something important, can you get to someplace quiet so we can text now?” or “I need to talk about X,Y, and Z. Can we text or is it easier to talk face to face
Be as expressive as you can.
Remember that an estimated 70% of what we say comes from things other than our words. Since you can’t express yourself through your tone of voice or body language try to really let the other person know what you are thinking and feeling. Encourage the person you are talking with to do the same.
Write your thoughts thoroughly. Use emoticons. Say when you’re serious or when you’re joking.
Read their texting language.
Are there long pauses before a response? Are there a lot of typos or missing words? So, ask them to text you when they have time. If they stop texting completely, follow up later to see what happened. Their phone might have died, they might have lost service, or had their phone borrowed or taken.
Take a moment to breathe.
Remember that once you say it, you can’t take a text back. It’s easy to get sucked up into a texting tornado where you text before you think.
Ask yourself if you will regret saying it in 5 minutes, in 5 hours, in 5 days, or in 5 years. Read your text back to yourself before you send it. Is it clear? How would it feel to tell a friend you said that?
If the other person texts you something unbelievable, take a moment to breathe. Could this have a different meaning? Could there be other reasons why they seem to be acting a certain way? Ask them questions to clear things up.
All right, I’m tapped out for now. If any of you all have ideas or things that you do to make a texting conversation better, let us know at New Gen!
Volunteer Health Educator
Reviewed by Shawna : )
What do YOU like about your birth control method?
The other day, a patient asked me: “Which birth control method is the best?” This is a great question! Although there are some methods more effective than others, “the best” method is the method that works best for you and your life. Finding a birth control that works for you may take some time as you try out different methods, but luckily we have a variety of methods to choose from. If you try a method out for 3 to 6 months (about the amount of time needed for your body to get used to the method) and aren’t happy with it or find that you are forgetting to take it, you can try another!
We asked our patients and Facebook fans what they like about their birth control method and this is what they said! You can start to see that each person has their own reasons for why their method works for them. Let us know what you like in your birth control by posting a comment or emailing us at email@example.com. Everyone who submits a few sentences about their method will receive a $5 gift card to Starbucks or Jamba Juice!
“I really like the IUD because I don’t like remembering to take a pill every day. I’ve used it for over 5 years and it’s very effective.”
“I like the Implant because I don’t have to remember or think about it. It hasn’t made me moody or given me side effects. I also lost a little weight while using it.”
“I am on the Depo shot and I like that it is convenient—I am very forgetful with pills. It also just works well with my body.”
“I really like the NuvaRing and have been on it for 6 years. It’s great because I am super inconsistent with taking pills and don’t have a reliable system for being on top of it ever. With the NuvaRing, I can leave it in and not have to think about it. Plus, I have this app on my computer that tells me when to take it out and when to put a new one in. Also, I hear it is a lower dose of hormones than other birth control, which I like. Oh, finally for real now, it has also helped regulate pimples!”
“I really like the patches because they are simple and effective. I also like it because it’s easy to apply and not noticeable.”
“I like birth control (pills) because it eases the menstrual cycle and helps my period stay regular.”
“I am on (low-dose pills) and I like that the extra low dosage doesn’t make me nauseous.”
“I use condoms; I like them the most because they are non-hormonal and they also protect against STDs.”
As you can see, it’s all about finding what works for you! Make an appointment at New Gen (415.502.8336) to talk to a health educator about what YOU want in your birth control method. You can also check out previous blogs written about these various methods by using the search function on the lower right side of this page underneath the archives titled “What Cha Looking For?”. You can also visit Bedsider.org methods to learn more about the different methods and see videos of women talking about what they like in their method.
Many patients also like to know which method is most effective, which can be part of someone’s decision to pick a certain method. Check out this chart for more about the effectiveness of different methods:
Remember, the effectiveness of all birth control depends on how well you are using the birth control (not forgetting pills, getting the shot on time, removing the ring or patch correctly, etc.) If you use your method perfectly it will be more effective, and some methods (like the IUD or Implant) are easier to use perfectly! Still have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Angela Freitas, AmeriCorps member
Reviewed by Andrea Raider, NP
LONG ACTING REVERSIBLE CONTRACEPTIVES!!!! So what does THAT mean? It refers to birth control methods that last a long time (for YEARS) but are not permanent. Meaning, once they are removed a woman can get pregnant!
What birth control methods are considered LARC? The IUD (the Mirena & Paragard) and the Implanon/Nexplanon.
Although I have already written about the awesomeness of the IUD and the Implanon/Nexplanon why not hear from women who are actually using (and loving) them? And yup, that’s me there in the video talking about why I LOVE my IUD.
Let me know what YOU think about these methods for a chance to win $25 to Old Navy. You can tell me what you’ve heard about them, why you think people should or shouldn’t use them, or anything else you think is worth while to share about the IUD or Implanon/Nexplanon. I love hearing what y’all have to say!
In happiness & health,
Last month I posted bios of our current volunteers and interns and told ya I would be introducing more peeps to ya the third Thursday of every month and well, today is the third Thursday!!!
This week I want to introduce you to the clinical staff. If you have ever been a patient here before, you may recognize some of these faces. They are also the ones who review the medical accuracy of my posts. New Gen is so lucky to have some of the most experienced clinical staff around. They have all been working with teens and young adults before some of you were even born! They also train many, many future clinicians including doctors, nurses, and midwives. If you are interested in becoming a clinician, feel free to ask them questions.
Kohar Der Simonian, MD - I am an assistant clinical professor in the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine and the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and am the new medical director at New Generation Health Center.
During my training in family medicine, I became especially interested in caring for teens and young adults especially in the area of reproductive health services. I wanted to be able to empower my patients to make the best family planning choices for them and to educate young men and women about preventing pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. I also saw that even in this age of information overload, patients are often still embarrassed to talk about sex and their sexual health! New Gen is the perfect place for me to work because we get to promote safe sex choices every day!
I received my medical degree from the University of Vermont and did my family medicine residency at UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital, with a special emphasis in urban under-served medicine. I completed a fellowship in reproductive health at Beth Israel in NYC. Before starting medical school, I was living in Yerevan, Armenia and spent a year as an Armenian Volunteer Corps member. My experience abroad made me committed to serving disadvantaged populations and promoting education about reproductive options because I got to see first hand how young women’s lives were affected every day when they didn’t have any birth control options available to them.
In my free time I am an avid reader and runner and enjoy cooking and baking, and spending time with my friends and family.
Hey, I’m Dr. Tonya Chafee. I’m from SF originally and have worked in many places in the Bay Area. I’ve worked at New Gen since 2004, but have also been at the UCSF Teen Clinic, Kaiser Teen Clinic (3 different sites), Stanford Children’s Hospital Teen Clinic, Daly City Youth Clinic, Mission Neighborhood Teen Clinic, and am Director of San Francisco General Hospital’s Teen and Young Adult Health Center. When I am not working, I like to run, watch/listen/read the news, run, go wine tasting, run, and walk my dog. I am drawn to working with teen reproductive health because I enjoy being able to help young people make one of the most important decisions regarding their health and future.
Reproductive health was way different when I was a teen in the 80’s. The only birth control methods were, I think, the pill and condoms, and HIV was all you heard about because it was taking its toll in the US. The only message we heard was that sex could kill you. I’m very glad things have changed, particularly as young people are being better about being safe, talking to each other more about what they want sexually, and having HEALTHIER relationships!
Hi, I’m Debbie Davidson and I’m a nurse practitioner. I’ve been at New Gen since 1997, when we first opened. I love working here! When you’re a teen and just starting to have sex, there is a lot to learn about having a good relationship, keeping your body healthy, and making decisions about pregnancy. I like working in a clinic where the whole staff is dedicated to helping our clients with their questions and problems. And our clients are amazing – curious, looking for answers, many facing hardships in their lives with great strength.
When I was a teenager, abortion was illegal. The pill was about the only method to use for birth control besides condoms, foam, or the diaphragm. If you didn’t want to have a baby, there weren’t many choices. Although I was terrified of getting pregnant, I was clueless about STD’s – no one ever told me about them, and I did nothing to protect myself.
I was a single mom, raised 2 wonderful sons in San Francisco. They’re grown up now – and I’m looking forward to being a grandma. When I’m not working, you might find me in my backyard in my vegetable and flower garden, baking pies in the kitchen, reading a good novel, or hiking on the beautiful trails in the bay area.
There is one other clinician on staff here at NGHC but unfortunately we do not have bio for her yet! But I will say that Whitney Miskell, NP is an amazing clinician who is extremely dedicated to providing reproductive health care. When she is not at New Gen, she is working at the Women’s Option Center at SFGH. When not being a super hero in the field of reproductive health, Whitney is kicking butt in boot camp, running, swimming or biking. Maybe next month I can get Whitney to tell ya’ll a little bit more about her awesomeness.
Again, when you see these lovely clinicians don’t hesitate to ask them questions whether it be about your own health or about their journey in medicine. They are truly an amazing bunch and I am so fortunate to work with them every day!
In happiness & health,
My partner and I get into fight after fight. Every time I try to talk to them about a problem in our relationship, I get nervous and shut down or I blow up and forget what started the fight. How can we make it better? I know we can make it work if we talk it out. I just don’t know how.
That is a very common question! Fortunately, I know just the person to ask! Mei-Lani began at New Gen as an AmeriCorps member (super cool program you should check out by clicking here) and when her term ended she so graciously offered to continue here as a volunteer (we are very lucky). Mei-Lani not only has tons of training but she also has counseled hundreds and hundreds of patients and answered this question many times. There are so many knowledgeable people here at New Gen and I think it’s important to share them with you. So without further adieu, here is Mei-Lani’s answer.
You know what? You just asked one of the most common relationship questions we hear in the clinic. Communication is very important for relationships. It builds trust, understanding, and lets a relationship grow. But it can still be very difficult for people. That’s because there are many ways to communicate (with your words, with your body, with your phone…and many more) and many styles that people use to express their feelings (passive, aggressive, assertive, and many more!)
No matter how you are communicating or what you are talking about, there are some basic steps you can follow to make talking to your partner about the tough stuff easier. Many of these tips are adapted from the sex educators at San Francisco Sex Information, but I’ve broken them down into three parts: plan it, do it, and follow up.
PART ONE: Plan It
Plan with your partner to make the conversation happen: Many times people will want to wait for the right time to bring something up, but when the time comes, the place isn’t right. The perfect time and place don’t just fall into your lap. You might have to make it happen. Plan this conversation with your partner. Let them know the issue. Let them have the time they need to think about things before the talk comes up. Think about the times when you have had a big talk sprung onto you out of the blue. It can suck.
Planning can be as easy as …
“I have been feeling upset about ____this____. Let’s plan a time when we can talk about it.”
Set the stage: This means pick a good time and place to talk. Make sure there’s enough time so no one gets rushed. And try to pick a place that allows both people be comfortable and honest. Talking right before class ends or before getting off the bus cuts the conversation short. Plus being around a lot of other people can put pressure to act a certain way.
Think before you speak: Now that you both have the time to think before the big talk comes up, make sure your own thoughts are clear. What is really the problem? Think about what you truly want to come out of the conversation. Do you want change? Do you want support? Do you want trust? How will you know if the talk went well? How will you feel? How will things change? Asking yourself these questions before hand makes sure that if your partner asks you them, you already know how to say what you think.
PART TWO: Do it.
I know, easier said than done. But… you have already thought about things and made the time and space to make this talk happen. So go for it!
Use I-Statements: Saying “I feel… when you….” “I think… because of….” This lets you say what you think and feel without attacking the person you’re talking to. Rather than making assumptions for your partner with “You think, you feel, you do,” you can speak truth about what you know and feel.
Try it out and see how different these statements make you feel.
“You are always texting other girls. Why can’t I have guy friends?.”
“I feel disrespected when there seems to be different rules for you than me.”
Listen: Look at your partner. Check your understanding by repeating some of the things they say back to them. For example, you could say, “So I hear that you feel ____ because of __this and that___.” If you are having a hard time understanding what your partner is saying, ask yourself why? Are you already thinking of what to say next or making judgments? Are you agreeing with everything they say before they say it or putting words and ideas into their mouth?
Pay attention to the non-words: 65% of communication is in our tone of voice and body language. Make sure you aren’t speaking in an angry tone when trying to say something nice. Read your partner’s body language – are their arms crossed and are they facing away from you when they say “everything is okay.” See if their body is speaking a whole different language than their words.
Ask questions: If you don’t understand what your partner just said, ask!
Meet in the middle: Relationships are about give and take. Likely, you both will come up with some ideas to change your own behavior or things you want your partner to do differently. Try to find ways to make changes that leave both people happy. You might not come up with something that leaves you both happy. That’s okay – you both at least said what you were feeling. Sit with that and see where it takes you in a few days.
PART THREE: Follow up.
Bet you didn’t think there was more, right? This conversation just brought up a lot. You both shared how you felt. You probably had some emotions come up and you both probably want to change some things.
Before you wrap up this conversation, make another date to check in. This could be something like “okay, boo, we just said a lot. I appreciate that we both could be honest. I think this was good for us to talk, but I wanna make sure things are going right for us later on. In a couple of weeks, let’s get some food and go for a walk and check in about this again.”
And speaking of wrapping things up, I have gone on way too long about talking. I hope these tips are helpful for you. It might seem like a lot of work, but start slowly. You don’t have to try everything all at once. Try one tip and see if it helps out. If you have any questions, write me back at AskShawna@yahoo.com.
Volunteer Health Educator
So often sex educators (myself included) get caught up in teaching about birth control methods, STD prevention and generally being sex positive (the idea that sex is a totally normal part of life) that we forget about abstinence. Sometimes we get so caught up in fighting back against “abstinence only education” (education in schools that only teach students about NOT having sex) in favor of comprehensive sex education (education in schools that teaches about all kinds of things related to sex and sexual health) that we let the idea of abstinence slip right by us (or only briefly acknowledge it). Comprehensive sex education is supposed to be comprehensive, meaning it should include a real discussion about all things related to sex and sexuality, including abstinence.
So what is abstinence? Abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for various reasons. Meaning, it is a fairly flexible term. Some people engage in all kinds of sexual behaviors other than penetrative sex (penis in vagina or butt) and consider themselves abstinent. Others don’t engage in any kind of sexual activity (touching, rubbing, oral sex, etc.). And the reasons behind why people chose what they do, also vary. Some people want to avoid pregnancy or STDs (considering it is the ONLY way to prevent pregnancy 100% & depending on the behavior, may protect against STDs 100% too). Others are abstinent for religious or cultural reasons. Some want to wait until they feel ready (which is different for everyone). Really, there are many reasons and they vary from person to person.
Also, anyone can be abstinent. Just because someone has had sex or engaged in any kind of sexual behavior in the past doesn’t mean they have to continue doing so – even if they are still with the partner they had previously engaged in those behaviors with.
Whatever reasons someone has for being abstinent; here at New Gen we completely support you. That means we can help you figure out what you are and are not okay with or how to talk to partners about your decision. You don’t have to be engaging in any kind of sex or sexual activity to come to New Gen to talk to a health educator or clinician about sex related stuff. Not only do we do the medical stuff like STD testing and birth control but we also do a lot of education about sex related subjects. Including Abstinence. So come talk to us!
And I have to thank a very awesome young person for reminding me that abstinence is equally important in the conversation about sex. Precious Listana is a sophomore in high school and has written this wonderful poem about abstinence.
It’s been 2 years, 6 months and 10 days.
I am just a teen, I’m not ready.
“It’s just another phase baby come and lie with me already”
He tells me, and I wonder
“Is this my relationship?
What choice do I prefer?”
He stares; starts to unzip his clothes.
He stops and listens
Everything stirs around me.
“Please don’t do this!”
He puts his clothes on and yawns.
In happiness & health,
P.S. If you are interested in submitting a poem, article, story, artwork or whatever else about reproductive health for this blog I most definitely encourage you to do so. If featured, you could win a $25 gift card to Old Navy! As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else, email email@example.com.
New Generation Health Center not only provides the best sexual health care to San Francisco youth (in my humble opinion anyway) but we also train many future health care providers including clinicians and health educators! This week I wanted to introduce you to our recent group of volunteers and interns. Each of them has come to New Generation Health Center for different reasons but they all share the same goal: to provide the best possible health information to every person who comes into the clinic. In addition to providing one-on-one health education, they also help develop educational materials and create the very awesome informational bulletin boards around the clinic.
If you are interested in becoming a health professional, we encourage you to ask them questions about their process!
My name is Cecilia Vieyra and I’m a health education intern from San Francisco State University. My role at New Generation Health Center is to provide friendly services and use my skills attained from the health education program to educate and empower youth and the community. Through this great opportunity I hope to find my specific passion within the health field and to further my education while continuing helping those in need.
My name is Kristina Caballero and I am currently a graduating senior at San Francisco State University majoring in Health Education. I am ecstatic to bring my knowledge of health to the New Generation Health Center. I want to help provide a positive learning environment for our community. I also want to use my creativity to make this clinic a safe and fun learning environment for everyone that steps through the door! After my internship at New Generation Health Center, I plan on continuing work with youth who need special services; STD testing, pregnancy testing, health education, family planning, etc. More specifically, I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in public health or occupational therapy to stay intertwined with the new and upcoming generations in regards to health.
My name is Lauren Bennett. I’m a volunteer health educator here at New Generation Health Center and I recently graduated from a medical assisting program. I’ve always been interested in reproductive health and was looking for a way to gain some experience so when the opportunity to volunteer at New Gen came along I was really excited. I’m also in school working on transferring to Louisiana State University to become a registered nurse. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends and just being silly.
Hi everyone! My name is Elisenda Asencio-MacMartin and I am a volunteer health educator here at New Generation Health Center. I am currently in my last semester at City College of San Francisco and plan on transferring to San Francisco State University. I plan to major in health education as sexual health is a very big interest of mine! I was born and raised right here in San Francisco and absolutely love working with the youth at New Generation Health Center. I am so passionate about educating youth about sexual health because I feel that as a teenager, I wasn’t always given enough information. Sexual health is extremely important so I want to do my part in passing on valuable knowledge. My ultimate goal is to be a high school health/dance teacher. When I’m not at the clinic I’m usually in school, working as a server at a restaurant, or dancing (which is my passion!).
My name is Storm Green. I am an intern at New Generation Health Center through JVS. I am currently enrolled at City College of San Francisco. My long term goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner. While interning at New Generation, I would like to help them succeed there goal in decreasing the number of unintended pregnancies and STI’s among my peers.
The JVS Healthcare Bridge program is for those 17-21 years old who are considering a healthcare career in their future. Learn more!
This is just the beginning of “Meet the Faces of New Generation Health Center.” Every 3rd Thursday for the following few months I plan on introducing you to the staff here at New Gen. As for me, my profile is on the top right corner of this blog. Let us know if you have any questions about what we do here at NGHC and how we got here!
In happiness & health,