How to put the Princess in her place

Friday - - Society -

We all know peo­ple who can whinge for their coun­try and act like a princess. If they’re not grum­bling that the weather is too hot, or the of­fice too stuffy, they’re com­plain­ing that the air con is chilly and is spread­ing germs round the build­ing. They com­plain they’re put upon, that they never get a break, that their col­leagues and part­ners treat them like dirt and that their chil­dren take them for granted.

The good news is we don’t have to lis­ten. In fact, by ac­knowl­edg­ing their woes, we’re re­in­forc­ing their be­liefs and help­ing them get even more em­bed­ded in their vic­tim men­tal­ity. So by not lis­ten­ing, we’re help­ing them.

“If you’re on the end of a vic­tim’s moan­ing, it can be very de­press­ing,” says Tri­cia. “Next time your friend starts feel­ing sorry for them­selves, tell them you know they’re hav­ing a bad time, and that you’re pre­pared to lis­ten to them for five min­utes.

“Don’t over-sym­pa­thise! Move the sub­ject round to what they’re go­ing to do about the is­sue. Get them to think in terms of prob­lem solv­ing and move them to­wards a so­lu­tion. Ask what is the first thing they’re go­ing to do about their un­paid rent, leaky wash­ing ma­chine or dis­obe­di­ent tod­dler.

“If they won’t move away from the moan­ing, point out that it seems they’re happy to be where they are at the mo­ment, and then change the sub­ject to some­thing more pos­i­tive.”

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