On a morning walk with my friends Kim and Trish, we talked about our kids who are now young adults. The conversation turned to how tough it is to not try to fix things when they call with a problem or disappointment.
For many of us, when someone is concerned about an issue, maybe a problem, or just having a bad day, we can flip into "Parent" mode. One of the things my daughter, Amanda, says, is, "Mom, stop - I just want to vent!"
While it's great that we want to help fix it, sometimes the other person is just not ready. So, I developed a tool to let Amanda vent and still slip in a suggestion.
Try This: Use the Drip Method
If you find yourself in Parent mode with someone, whether family or friend, who is chewing on a problem or disappointment, try my fun tool:
- First, stay quiet until the person stops talking.
- Second, agree with the person that the issue or problem is tough.
- Third, frame your suggestion as a question, "what if you did…" or "have you thought about…"
- Fourth, repeat the suggestion again in the conversation as, "maybe you can try…"
- Finally, watch out for your suggestion to be mentioned by the person as their idea.
The beauty of this simple activity is that it works when you find yourself in "Parent" mode as well as for your own issues. The key is that the suggestion or idea becomes of value as their own. When they excitedly tell you about “a good idea” of what to do, agree and smile - maybe even do a jig or dance without them seeing it.