Monday, September 06, 2010

Then Don't Ask...

Sometimes, I don't understand why people even bother asking for other opinions.

You see it every day, and it goes something like this: a friend calls you up, and says they need your advice. They tell you the situation, then ask you what you think they should do. After the suggestion is dispensed, they then proceed to say "Yes, but..." and go on to justify to themselves what they had already decided they were going to do anyway. At this point, it goes one of three ways (depending on how much energy you feel like wasting):
  1. You agree with them, and they say "That's what I thought, too...".
  2. You argue your point, they say "Yes, but..." about 20 more times, then they go off and do what they wanted to do in the first place - they just don't feel as good about it.
  3. Or, you argue your point - and they listen to you.
People ask me why I tend to be cynical - and it's because 99% of the time, people do one of the first two... and usually, it's the second option. Which, quite frankly, is exhausting to be a part of, and ultimately very, very frustrating if your the person who's been asked. The problem is (as Michael Boyle has said), people "...don't ask for advice - they are looking for consensus and agreement." And the truth is, if they don't get it they're simply going to call someone else until they do.

I have a simple solution. Don't ever allow yourself to say "Yes, but...". Even if you disagree COMPLETELY, remember - you asked for the advice. Stop, close your mouth, roll over what's been said a couple of times, and then use it or dismiss it outright... frankly, it doesn't matter. Just don't argue.

You may or may not ever listen to anyone other than yourself - but at least your time is the only time that's been wasted.


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