Archive for December, 2006

The Great 'Yes, but' Game

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Some of the most difficult comments to answer are the ones I get from clients and readers explaining why nothing I suggest works for them. I keep thinking of the game described by Dr. Eric Berne, creator of Transactional Analysis, and author of the book ‘Games People Play.’ He calls it the ‘Why don’t youYes, but’ Game.

The rules are simple. First you ask for help in solving a problem. Then, every time somebody makes a suggestion, you shoot it down. You say, ‘Yes, but it won’t work because’ It doesn’t matter what the reason is, just as long as you refuse to try any possibility.

It’s a very effective and frustrating game. The person trying to help finally gives up, and the person resisting change can walk away with a smug smile. After all, he or she proved that the situation is hopeless. The hard question to answer is: what did the pessimist win?