Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Asked and Answered

Have you ever given advice to someone, only to find out they never took it?  And then have they continued to ask you for advice, and continued to ignore everything you say?
          Welcome to Joniopolis.  I have often found myself, after great thought and even considerable research, offering suggestions to people who come to me with their problems.  And sometimes they listen.
          But often I realize some folks just like to vent.  A friend of mine calls these people “Professional Victims.”  They aren’t really looking for solutions, they just thrive on drama and the re-telling of their sad tales.
          Even better, this same friend shared a tip with me for getting out of the advice rut.  It’s something attorneys use in depositions.  Someone brings up something that’s already been addressed, and they say, “Asked and Answered.”
          Brilliant, right?  And you don’t have to be quite so abrupt, but you can still point out that we’ve had that conversation and I’ve already given you some ideas. Then you don’t keep circling around and giving the same counsel over and over.  You could even use this to streamline meetings at work, discussions in committees, and all kinds of private conversations.
          In fact, I was so excited about this tidy new approach to make life more efficient that I shared it with St. Bob.  But no sooner had I done so, than I said, “When are we having the Smiths over?” to which he said, “Asked and Answered.” Oh, yeah.  We were going to wait another week until he knows his schedule better.   
          Then I said, “Are you sure this blouse looks alright?” to which he said, “Asked and Answered,” and then that evening I said, “Wouldn’t you like me to fix some dinner?” and again heard, “Asked and Answered” because he'd had a big lunch and wasn’t hungry. 
          I called my friend.  “I have created a monster,” I reported.  “Now he’s using this thing against me.”
          So I’m just saying, it’s great to learn a new technique, but watch out if you tend to repeat your own silly self.  Or that sword could end up in the wrong hands.

Hey, check out my website—not only can you find books to buy, but hundreds of YouTube Mom videos to watch, maybe even one telling you how to deal with smarty pants spouses. 

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