Mailbag #10

A reader asks:

How do you say no when people dump their emotional stuff onto you?

This post might be helpful to you.

I used to think it was my responsibility to help others get better. It isn’t. Sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do is to not try to fix them.

For example, there are people in my life who turn every anthill into Mt. Everest. Have you caught a cold? It’s going to develop into deadly pneumonia. Starting a new business? It’s doomed to fail. Going on a trip? The woodpeckers/manatee/penguins in that area have developed a taste for human blood…and they hunt in packs now.

Logically explaining that these scenarios are extremely unlikely to occur doesn’t help in my case. Depending on what’s going on with your loved ones it might work better for you.

What does help? Taking a step back from them emotionally. While so-and-so waxes on I pretend that I’m an anthropologist studying a new culture. As I have a tendency to be pretty snarky about these things I usually respond with a moment of silence before changing the subject. I’d rather be accused of ignoring someone than of saying something cruel. Although I don’t ignore them as individuals…just their emotion dumps. 😉

Readers, what else would you recommend?

Do you have a question for me? Submit it through the contact form, in the comment section or by emailing postmaster AT on-the-other-hand DOT com. 

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