Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Someone is doing something that is annoying me a bit. Yet I am reluctant to bring it up because I am afraid I might offend him. I asked the boys for advice. I laid out my options with the pros and cons of each. The boys gave me good feedback and I decided to simply ignore the person's behavior. During the conversation several interesting points came up:

1) Explaining a dilemma to others can often help you answer it yourself. Pretty much by the time I had finished describing the situation and possible actions to the boys it had become clear to me what I should do.

2) How you explain your dilemmas has a big impact and how helpful others can be. I have found that it is particularly conducive to good feedback when you lay out the possible answers with an analysis of pros and cons of each - as opposed to just sharing the dilemma and asking for feedback.

3) The boys feedback was mostly in the form of "do this", "try that". I encouraged them instead to help me reach my own conclusions by asking me questions such as "if the person gets offended, how long is that likely to last?", or "how much does the behavior really bother you? Could you live with it indefinitely?". There are at least two benefits to this approach. First, the person with the dilemma is probably in the best position to answer it. Second, the person with the dilemma sometimes needs empathy more than advice.

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