Friday, July 5, 2013


Why do we feel compelled to tell other people what to do?

How did the word ‘should’ become so much a part of our culture?

It seems that this impulse has been with us forever!  The following are a few of our favorite ‘rules’ from the pen of George Washington:
By age sixteen, Washington had copied out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.
They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. 

*When in company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.

*In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

*Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others. Nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.

*Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.

*Shake not the head, Feet or Legs, roll not the Eyes, lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak. (!)
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An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas...    

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself before you offer advice:

1)      Does the person want advice?

2)      Did they ask you for advice?

3)      What is compelling you to offer your opinion?

4)     Does their behavior frighten you?

5)     Do you feel helpless?

6)     Does giving advice seem like a way to connect?

After you answer these questions, try re-framing your need into behavior that might actually work!

1)     Ask what you can do to help!

2)     Tell the person how you feel making sure to stress that it is your feeling!

3)     Try saying:  “If it was me, I think I would…”

4)     Step back from the situation and recognize how it is affecting you and don’t project your feelings onto the person you are hoping to help!


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