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July 1, 2011

Yes, But!

“Yes, But” is the name of a game people often play. It is a psychological game wherein someone ostensibly asks for your help. But they don’t really want your help. As a matter of fact, if you make a suggestion they will most likely respond by quickly saying, “Yes, but I can’t do that for yada, yada, yada, etc, reason.” Give them another suggestion and they will “Yes, but – yada, yada, yada” you again. They will keep it up until you get frustrated and basically tell them, “Whatever!!”, or something worse.   

What’s the payoff for them? Usually this exchange serves to exonerate them from taking responsibility for their problem. Once you get to the point of frustration and lash out at them, they can say or think, “See, no one else can figure out what to do about this either!” So, they are off the hook. Subordinates love to play this game with their boss. It can be especially rewarding to think, ” See, my boss can’t figure this out either.” They win!!

What can you do about this game? First, get good at recognizing it early on. Second, when you recognize it … cross up the game player by saying something like, “Oh, I thought you really wanted my help … but you are just playing games with me aren’t you?” It will get them to stop playing games, or they will go away and play with a more willing person. You win!!

Written by Chris Crouch, developer of the GO System.

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