Is this you?
- ‘I never speak my mind…’
- ‘I don’t want to rock the boat but…’
- ‘There’s nothing I can say…’
No-one likes to rock the boat.
We don’t want to upset our friends or family. But sometimes we want them to change their behaviour.
What do we do?
We… say nothing. Because it’s easier. And not scary.
Except it’s not, because we still have to stand by and watch/listen to behaviour that we don’t like.
A client of mine had this problem –
‘One of my friends always puts her husband down when I’m there. She’s really rude to him and he lets her. It’s very embarrassing. I try to laugh it off but it’s not funny. I don’t know how to deal with it.’
Our conversation went like this.
What do you want to happen?
I suppose I want her to stop doing it in front of me.
What can you do about it do you think?
I wish I knew. I’d like her to stop. I don’t think she realises how difficult it is for me. She does it all the time.
The problem is, so long as you do nothing, nothing will change. What COULD you do?
I’d like to talk to her but I’m frightened she’ll get upset with me.
Let’s think about what you could say.
My client wrote down some ideas and together we planned exactly what she would say next time it happened –
‘I understand that you get frustrated and annoyed with John. But I feel very awkward when you shout at him when I’m there. Please don’t be offended but the only way I can deal with it is to politely leave and come back another time.
I have been worried about this for some time. I’m glad we’ve been able to sort it out.’
She practised at home, by herself, until she felt ready to speak up with confidence, without getting flustered.
I’m pleased to say that she was brave, stepped out of her safe comfort zone and spoke to her friend. They went on to talk about the whole situation and the problem began to be solved.
I’m not suggesting for one moment that speaking your mind with confidence is easy. Of course it’s not. But with practise it does get easier.