Dr Rick Kirschner: What to say to the Meddlers

Dealing With Difficult People Turning The Table On Meddlers
by Dr. Rick Kirschner on April 17, 2009

"While just about everything in Chet wanted to yell, ‘Dude, back off!’ some small part of him had the wisdom to do the counter-intuitive thing. He decided to treat this interference as a gift, and let himself receive it. He said, “Peter, thanks for caring so much about the quality of my work, and for wanting to help me out. You obviously know a lot about this, and I’m guessing you’re here because you’re not confident in my ability to do this. I’m sure if you were sure, you’d leave me to do it. So here, please, go ahead. Show me how to do it the way you think it should be done.” Chet pushed the tools he had in hand toward Peter. “You do it and let me watch and learn. And when you think I’m ready to do it on my own, I’ll know because you will stand back, stay away, and let me do my work.”

Peter look confused. The tools were waving in front of him, waiting for him to take them up and take this on. Now he had to decide if he really wanted to do Chet’s work. And really, he didn’t! So he stepped back. And just like that, the tables had turned. Peter said, “Thanks, but, uh, you go ahead. Let’s see what you can do on your own.” And he walked away. Chet had given Peter a way to be involved, by not interfering."

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  1. Thanks for the link to my blog. I've used this approach on numerous occasions and so have my students. It works so well that I've gotten reports that people were completely unsettled by their success with it!

    best wishes,
    Dr. K

  2. Thanks for taking the time out to post a comment, Dr. K!

    I am really enjoying following your blog! Your comment came as such an uncanny surprise as yesterday I was thinking about contacting you.

    I am currently reading your book "Dealing With Relatives" with the greatest enthusiasm. I had been on your website many times before but just had not got my head around your lens of understanding. Its now crystal clear(!) and when I explain it to people they are dumbfounded by their accuracy. I intend on using a lot of your ideas and techniques (esp. the lens) in my blog here to encourage my readers to develop healthy relationships with the in-laws they cant stand! I will be in touch soon!

    Renee Osman.