By Diane Reed
You’re probably thinking how great it would be to change someone else’s behavior that bothers you. The idea that you can FIX someone, that there is a solution for how to change them, to make them be, act and react how you would like sounds very exciting.
OK. Now stand by to learn how to change someone’s behavior.
You may not like this, but the change starts with you.
You have more power than you think.
When you make a shift, even a small one, others will invariably shift their behavior.
Here’s the picture (it’s the little things that add up):
A husband pours himself a glass of wine at dinner every night. His wife fumes because he never offers her a glass. She gets up and gets a glass herself. She is pissed off and thinks he “should have known” to offer her a glass. At dinner, he is confused, but now he is accustomed to his wife being annoyed. Maybe she makes a passive-aggressive comment, but he is oblivious. She thinks he should know why she is irritated, and if she has to ask or tell him, it doesn’t count.
She can choose to go on like this, wishing and hoping for change, continuing to pour her own wine and being angry every night. Or she can choose to pour her wine and enjoy it. Or she can throw her wine glass at the fireplace. None of these will make her feel good, get her what she really wants, or stop her resentment for his behavior.
Change happens only when she changes her behavior. One night when he opens the bottle, she says, “I would love some wine. Would you please pour me a glass?”
Ready? Here comes the shift.
He will now have to do something different. Maybe he will bring her a glass and make a toast. Maybe he will tell her he didn’t know she liked wine with dinner. Maybe he’ll stop drinking wine completely. Maybe he will apologize for not thinking of her. There are many options, but this gives him an opportunity to do something different without feeling like he is wrong and without her feeling like a nag.
When we give people the opportunity to shift their behavior, without judgment, more often than not, they do. Try it.
- Think about a specific behavior that bothers you about someone important in your life.
- Identify an action you can take — in a calm and unemotional way — that will cause a different reaction.
- Try it. If it doesn’t work, try again with a different action.
Let us know what worked, what didn’t and any questions you have. We will share it….
Diane Reed is a life coach and consultant working to free people from being stuck. She believes everyone can be happy. Working through stuck-ness in your life will bring positive shifts. She is the mother of 2, lives in Denver and enjoys spending time with her family and connecting with people…… Trained in Inquiry Method. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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