The other day, I was walking my 10-year stubborn old dog and she had to stop to do something crucially important like sniff a footstep for an hour. “UGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!” I exclaimed, pulling at her leash. “It’s SO annoying when you DO that!” (I actually said that out loud I was so irritated.)

And then it occurred to me. As much as it annoyed me that my dog was pulling on her leash to stick her nose in some crap, it was probably annoying her equally as much that I was pulling on her leash and preventing her from sticking her nose in some crap.

My point is this: any interaction between you and someone else means that there are two sides to the story. Two are tangoing. If you have a problem with them, chances are they have an equally reactionary problem with you. You think you’re right and they’re wrong? Well guess what — they’re thinking the exact same thing.

What this tells me then, is that if you’re trying to convince someone to do something, rather than pull harder, it’s better to figure out what their motivation is, and suggest a mutually agreeable scenario where both your needs can be met and you can both be happy.

The alternative is that one of you will lose. And there’s a 50/50 chance it will be you.

Originally posted February 16, 2012


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