Found this book at the used book store.  While it is 44 years since its publication, it is just as applicable today as ever.  A recognizable and relatively low-stakes game is called: “Why don’t you…Yes but…”  It involves one person (let’s call him Bob) sharing a problem with one or a group of people.  The others offer advice on how Bob might solve his problem.  Here is an imaginary excerpt: “My son just won’t clean his room.”  Friends say: “Why don’t you ground him until he does it?”  Bob says: “Yes but, I have tried that, he becomes like a hermit and and still the room stays trashed.”  “Why don’t you take away his phone?”  “Yes but, he contacts his friends through his Xbox.” “Why don’t you take away his Xbox…”  and so on.  What I find so curious when I see this (and unwittingly participate in this, sometimes as the Bob character and sometimes the advice offering friend) is most of us are just unaware of it. Does Bob want to solve his “problem?”  I wonder.  As Dr. Berne points out,  Bob gets joy from rejecting suggestions.  Isn’t that odd?  And yet it is so.  It reminds me of another game I have seen/participated in.  A colleague/classmate/neighbor will complain, “I am exhausted.  I was up so late last night with a colic/working on a paper/sewing uniforms for the play. .”  “Why don’t you get help/take a break/plan better?”  “Yes but ….”  As Stanley, my friend from Abingdon, VA and fountain of folk-wisdom, used say: “are you complainin’ or braggin’?”


About cowsaretheanswer

executive coach, organization development, large animal veterinarian
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