Being in relationships with other people--parents, sisters, brothers, friends--inevitably means that at times their behavior will be unacceptable to you because it interferes with you getting your needs met, prevents you from enjoying your life or makes you angry.
You want to use skills that will be effective in bringing about a change in the other person's behavior and yet not hurt the relationship. Your task then is to tell the other person that you need his or her help. You want to be honest, but you want to do it in such a way that your message doesn't make the other person feel put-down, hurt, angry or unwilling to change the behavior that is giving you a problem. Unfortunately, most people find it is not easy to do this. Here are some of the reasons:
- We are often afraid to confront others in the first place because we fear dealing with their feelings afterward.
- We are upset or even angry and don't want the other person to know it.
- We fear getting into an argument or conflict.
- We are afraid we will make the other person embarrassed, sorry or even guilty.
Here are things to consider when the behavior of others is unacceptable and causes you a problem:
- Their behavior which effects you is simply a sign that they are trying to get some need of their own met.
- They have as much right to get their needs met as you do yours.
- They often don't even know their behavior is causing you a problem. So, if you want to solve your problem you must tell them.*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Young Adult Resource Book