Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What You Should Be Doing

Let me tell you exactly what you should be doing.

Don't you just hate it when someone says that to you? Well, I do. I think everyone does. Unless it's preceded by the other person asking the question, "Please, please, I beg you, tell me what to do." And even then the reply should be tactfully phrased.

Some people take a long time to grasp this principle. Some people never get it at all.

I notice it in my w9rk with student doctors - - and, indeed, with some qualified doctors, sadly.

"Do you smoke?" I am asked, in a roleplay.

"Yes," I say, "I smoke twenty a day. It used to be forty until two years ago, though."

The ones who have grasped the "people hate to be lectured" principle then say something like:

"I bet it was hard to cut down from forty to twenty: that's a big drop". I know it can be difficult for the doctor to reply without sounding as though he or she is giving a patronising "Well done" pat on the head, but there are those who can just find the right words to say, and the tone in which to say it, so that the patient feels praised for cutting down, and inspired to cut down further, all in one sentence!

The Lecturers, on the other hand, say something like:

"Twenty a day? That's still such a lot! You'll have done a lot of damage to your lungs with forty a day, so you must stop now before you do any more damage. Don't you realise how dangerous smoking can be?"

Now I've never smoked. But when someone talks to me like that, in a roleplay, I immediately want to go out and buy cigarettes and a lighter and START SMOKING.

Shall I tell you about all the other things in life that this principle applies to? - - - No, perhaps I won't.


Blogger Debby said...

Totally understand!

7:50 pm  
Anonymous ruth said...

I totally agree with you. Being lectured is not fun beyond a lecture theatre (and often not much fun there either!). I have recently been told what I have to do by someone whose opinion I don't fully respect. Hardly surprisingly, I am not going to do any of the things they have told me I have to do.

9:16 pm  
Blogger The Birdwatcher said...

like a teenager when someone tells me what to do I usually do the opposite.

10:43 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

It's like saying "CALM DOWN!" to someone who needs to calm down.

10:54 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Thanks, folks, for your comments - I think we all turn into teenagers when someone tells us what to do - we all want to do the opposite!
Ailbhe - I was once doing a roleplay where I had to get very upset. The doctor shouted "Pull yourself together!" loudly. I cried more. He yelled more. I sobbed ever more hysterically. It was a steep learning curve for him.

11:10 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Do you ever get your real life and your roleplay mixed up? I mean, do you pretend so well that you sometimes fool yourself into thinking you actually do smoke, sob hysterically, etc.?

11:16 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

You'd think I'd be used to doctors by now but I'm still shocked by that.

10:05 am  

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