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Tis the Season to Deal with Relatives

I recently was interviewed by Woman's World magazine on Dealing with Relatives. I believe the article is in the current issue. Here is a link to access a PDF version or simply click on the graphic.

But wait there's more!!!

In case you haven't gotten it yet here is a 90 minute audio-seminar I did last year on Dealing with Relatives. It covers Martyrs and Judges and defusing your reactions. And speaking of defusing, while you are at the Relatives web page check out the hypnosis audio. It will defuse your triggers with Relatives from the inside out so they can do what used to drive you crazy and it won't matter to you anymore. I have gotten great feedback over the year on it's effectiveness. You'll find it all at:


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Good Communication? Who's Got Time!

At a recent seminar a participant asked me, "In the real world how is there time for all this blending communication stuff?" This is an interesting question. I didn't realize I was not living in the real world. Perhaps I made one too many Star Trek references during my program and he figured I was living in the 24th century, in a Star Trek universe where human beings communicate and cooperate for everyone's greater good. I made a mental note to reduce the Star Trek references.

However my first response to him was that he must be realistic about how much time good communication takes.  By not taking the right amount of time to communicate he was creating difficult behaviors. Once he invests time in his communication with others, he’ll see his relationships work better.

My second response was to point out that blending doesn't have to be a lengthy process. The key is blending with the right stuff. It's what I call precision blending.

Here are a few tips on how to do precision blending with some difficult behaviors.

When a Tank is attacking, you should blend with their desire to make something happen fast. Anything that gives them the feeling the situation is under control and there is forward progress will blend with them and get them to back off.

When people engage in Know it All behavior you have to blend with their ego and the reasons they think what they think. Validate how much they know, find out what is important to them, and show them how your idea satisfies all their criteria.

When people act like Think They Know it Alls (meaning they don't really know), you will also blend with their ego but give them an opportunity to go along with your idea.

If people are being agreeable, but you don't know where they really stand, your dealing with Yes/Maybe/Nothing behaviors. Your blending is aimed at having them feel safe and secure and that no matter what they tell you, nothing will change in your relationship to them.

When people are Whining or Negative, they are feeling helpless and hopeless respectively. Your communication should be aimed at getting them to be specific and then to think solutions.

Always remember that good communication isn't about lots of time, but rather about being precise. Live long and prosper. ;-)

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The Whine-Up and the Pitch

The following is from an email I received today and is a terrific example of harnessing whining for the greater good. When people whine they are feeling helpless. To make matters worse when people whine they do it in large generalizations; "everything is wrong, nothing is right." But specifics of a problem are the first requirement for problem solving. In the following example the new director empowered his staff by giving them a way to no longer be helpless and instead facilitate change. Thank you David for sharing this. THE EMAIL:

This is about a person nobody could stand, and what he did about us whiners.

A new director took over at an organization's summer camp, after 7 years of terrific camp growth and success under the previous director. During the winter there had been griping and outright rebellion over some new personnel policies and practices the new guy wanted, and in most cases succeeded in putting in place. (He was a Tank that attacked our roles in our beloved camp.)

Call that "The Whine-Up." Now the pitch.

At the first full staff meeting at camp before the campers arrived, he announced firmly:

"If I find out any of you have been complaining to each other, I will fire you on the spot. However, if you come to me with your complaints, I will thank you. Complaining to each other accomplishes nothing. Complain to me, and we can improve things."

Of course he was exaggerating in every way, but he did set a tone of care and interest that lasted. He went from being a person nobody could stand to being a person we would try to cooperate with.

Facts: Time: June 1969 Place: Camp Yavneh, Northwood NH New Director: Abe Yanover -- Thank you, David A. Kra



Chronic Negativity

A reader writes: Hey Dr. Rick–I appreciate all of your suggestions on dealing with people you don’t like (but are stuck with :) What does one do with someone who simply likes to complain about how life has basically ended up the way it has for her?

This is a classic case of chronic negativity with a secondary whining infection. It could be terminal. You’re going to have to ultimately save yourself. Staying and suffering with her is not an option. It will rob you of energy and only give her someone to whom she will complain even more.

You will need to draw a line. Tell her you like her, you want to support her, but you are not going to listen to how bad things are. If she wants to complain or be negative, that’s her choice but you won’t be around for the ride. If you hold that line, she may be inclined to talk about something that is not complaining or negative. Thank her and appreciate her when she does.

There is so much more to say on this subject that your question inspired a podcast and there is also a previous one that focuses on this behavior from a different angle. Visit