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March 17, 2011

How Do I Intervene On Other People’s Behaviors? Part I

 In response to my last post “It’s None Of My Business—Or Is It,” How Do I Intervene in Other People’s Behaviors? Part I many people have asked for examples of how to intervene in the various scenarios I wrote about, as well as in other similar scenarios.  Below is Part I of possible responses to use when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

In any given situation, there are several possible levels – ranging from low to high -- of intervention.  Often the level you choose is determined by your relationship with the person in question, your goal and the level of risk you’re willing to take.  Be aware of these factors when choosing your move.

Let’s look at the examples I wrote about in the first post:
•    You catch your best friend’s husband kissing another woman.  Your goal is to protect your friend and not have an affair go on behind her back.  What could you do?  In this scenario, your allegiance is to your best friend and you feel you should have your best friend’s back.  There are several options you could choose from, including:
    ♣    Speaking to the husband directly and telling him what you saw.  Tell him that you’ll be taking some time to think about what you want to do about this information and you will get back to him as soon as you decide. (Low risk)
    ♣    Tell the husband what you saw and be clear that, either he must tell his wife or you will.  Tell him you will give him two weeks to have the conversation. (Higher risk)
    ♣    Speak to your friend directly and let her know what you saw.  (High risk)
    ♣    Call your friend right then and tell her what you’re seeing. (High risk)
    NOTE: Saying nothing should not be an option since it puts your friendship at risk and is not supporting     your friend. 

•    You’re on vacation with your brother, his wife and their three kids.  Your brother’s family is constantly yelling, fighting and snapping at one another in public and in the home you’re all sharing.  When it happens in public, you’re embarrassed and want it to stop.  What can you do?
    o    Quietly ask your brother to lower his voice: “Jack, will you please lower your voice, people are staring at us and I’m uncomfortable with your volume.” (Low risk)
    o    If your brother gets angry with you and snaps at you, say: “Your anger feels intense and I don’t want to be in that space.  I’m going outside and I’ll talk to you about this later.” (Higher risk)
    o    When you get home, clearly state that you enjoy hanging out with your brother for the most part, however his anger is hard to be around.  Let him know you’d like to go out with him in the future as long as he agrees he will not be yelling in public.  If he refuses to agree, you can either state that you won’t go out with him until you can be sure he won’t escalate or you can let him know that every time he escalates with you or anyone accompanying you, you will ask him to lower his voice or you will leave the situation. (High risk)  If it is in your shared home, you will ask him to leave.(High risk)
    o    Another option is having an honest conversation about how he and his family talk to one another.  Tell him you’re worried about him, his marriage and his children and think it’s something he should look at and perhaps get help around. (Low risk)

When it comes to intervening in a situation, always remember to be clean on your end, be clear about what’s bothering you and be specific about what you want.  When you’re clear, make sure you speak to the issue in a way that helps others hear and understand what you want.

Challenge: Think of the scenarios in your own life in which you’ve struggled and try to get clarity about what exactly you didn’t like, what you wanted and what your options were.  If you had it to do over again, what level of risk would you have been willing to take had you explored the issue?


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i can relate with the topic of this post, similar to working in an office when you are the boss

I love  forgathering  useful  information  , this post has got me even more info! .

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