I used to chat with my friend’s father all the time. We would have long discussions in which he would be the star but his life just never seemed to go his way. I would always offer up helpful advice or perspective busters, as I do. And his answer was always, “Yes but….”. After many sessions of these discussions I finally realized that, while I had been baited to listen, his commitment to taking any responsibility for the events in his life was lacking. And so I would get caught in the stream of Yes Buts.
I propose that there are several levels of Yes Butism and types of Yes Butters.
There are the constant victims who are perpetually put upon. Their lives are full of strife, uproar, chaos, and drama. This was my life once. So complicated. I lived that one for a very long time. People gave up even asking me to join them because I’d always say no. I didn’t deserve to have fun. Life was hard and I needed to keep it that way.
Then there’s the people who say it’s fine, it’s fine, and then every once and a while, have a complete social meltdown. They get lots and lots of pity and attention and then they may go back to being perfectly fine again. Nothing that you said to them truly made a difference because they just needed your sympathy and not your advice. They may be kind enough to yes but/thank you for your voice but you really can only help by saying you are sorry. They’s got a system working for them.
And then there’s the people who have yes butted everyone’s advice all-the-time-forever and so they are never going to ask your opinion because they are different from you and everyone else and they never needed anyone’s help ever. Help would make them inferior. Humanity is unacceptable.
Any of these people sound familiar to you? Do you bait people with tragedy and then tell them thank you but there’s just no way to change the situation or to help them. I am naturally drawn to want to assist people. I have a wealth of knowledge I’d like to share. But I forget that just because people act like they’d like to hear what I have to say, doesn’t mean they really want to hear what I have to say. They may be right where I used to be and I have to respect their need to be stuck. And unless I’m good with just being talked at, I need to not spend as much time with these people.
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