Apr 1, 2012

Are You A Bossy Pants?

Women have a long history of telling other women what to do.

It''s annoying.

You know what I mean, right?

You're out with a friend and casually mention that you started a new diet and it's working pretty well for you.

Next thing you know, she's all, "You should try just counting calories.  It's the best way, really.  Oh, and you have to come to spinning class with me.  It burns more calories than anything else.  Seriously, I have lost 200 pounds in five days.  It works!"

Yep, those girls.

Or sometimes it's about your kids.

"You need to set better limits.  Kids will behave if you're firm with them.  I used to have the same problem, but then I started telling Jimmy what was expected of him at all times.  Now he's perfect."

I want to scream, "QUIT TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!!!!!"

I know that (most of them) have good intentions, but the delivery is allllllllll wrong!

Sometimes, I honestly think that I should do the world a favor and offer social skills classes.  Apparently, LOTS of people are lacking. 

{BTW, if you know me in real life, then just please go along with this and pretend I never do anything socially awkward or tell other moms what to do.  That will make this go much better for me.  Thanks!}

But since I won't be offering these classes (ahem), then I will just go ahead and SUGGEST, (note how I'm not using the word 'TELL"), a better way of offering advice.

When someone brings up a topic on something, pay attention and see if they are even asking for help or advice.  If you don't think they are, don't offer any!  Just be a good friend and listen and encourage them.  If you're not sure, feel free to ask.

"That sounds like a lot to handle!  So are you asking for suggestions or do you think you're on the right track?", would be a great way to find out if they would like some input.

And if you are sure they want some advice, either because you asked, or because they have made it clear, a good way to be of help without telling them what they should do is:

"It sounds like you are doing a great job already, but if you want some suggestions, something that worked for me is..." 


"I went through something similar.  Maybe would you be interested in trying..."


"We have had a lot of the same things going on.  I would be happy to talk to you about it sometime if you think that would help you."

See how much better that is than, "You should" or "Do this"?

Those statements shut a conversation down and often lead the other person to feel frustrated.  Because the truth is, what worked for you may not work for them.  Or maybe they don't even want to try your way of doing things. 

But by using more open statements that offer help instead of insisting that they do things your way, you are opening up the conversation and letting them know that you are listening and that you are there to help if they need it.

Ahhhhh.  I feel much better now that I've gotten that off my chest.

So tell me, are you guilty of telling your friends what to do?  Or have you been on the other end of that conversation?  Share some suggestions if you have them!!

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