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This is one of a series of brief articles on how
to respond effectively to annoying social
behavior. An effective response occurs
when you get your
met well enough, and both people feel heard and
This brief YouTube clip provides perspective on what
you'll read in this article:
This article offers useful responses to
the behavior of someone you believe is addicted
to something.It assumes you're familiar with...
intro to this nonprofit Web site and the
How would you explain "lecturing" to a pre-teen?
Can you define the difference between a
lecture and a
monolog? One way to distinguish them is
that monologs often serve the speaker's need to
vent and/or entertain. Lecturing usually is an
attempt to instruct and/or persuade the listener
about something. It also may intend to chastise
Think of the last time someone lectured
you in a social (vs. classroom) setting. What
triggered the lecture? Did the lecturer check
first to see if you were open to feedback? What
you receive from the other person? Lectures may
imply "I know more than you do - so I'm 1-up in
this situation." Depending on how the
lecture is delivered (e.g. voice dynamics, eye
contact, and body language), a lecture
can imply "I'm right (good), and you're wrong
difference between someone advising you
at your request, and lecturing you
without your consent. The latter is
usually more about the speaker's needs than
yours, and is implicitly disrespectful, no
matte how well meant. Moralizing can be a
type of lecturing where the speaker imposes
their idea of right and wrong on you. ("Smoking
/ over-eating / watching porn / being a
Baptist... is simply wrong - period!")
describe your normal response to an unsolicited
lecture? Irritation? Impatience? Resentment? Tuning out? Interruption?
Assertion? Weariness? Resignation? Repression?
Pretending interest? Scowling?
Counter-lecturing? Head-shaking? Looking away?
Defending? Leaving or hanging up? Some-thing
else? How do you feel about yourself after
responding? Satisfied? Guilty? Righteous?
Uneasy? Combative? "Nothing"?
Some social roles invite lecturing (instructing)
- like parenting, preaching, teaching, medicine,
and law enforcement, Other roles don't justify
unrequested lecturing - so it feels annoying or
frustrating. In discussions, each person
is interested in what the other thinks and
feels. In lectures, the speaker is
usually not interested. Do you agree? Do
you ever lecture other people? Why? How do
Is there an effective way to respond to
unrequested lectures? see what you think of
Check to see that your true Self is
you, and that you have a
mutual-respect attitude about
the other person. If you don't, make
attaining those a high priority, and lower
your response expectations.
(a) your mutual
as dignified persons; and (b) the steps for
Decided what you need from responding
to the other person - to vent?
Inform? Cause change? Set or enforce a
limit? Preserve or gain your self-respect?
Be 1-up ("win")? Help the lecturer? Battle
(gain excitement)? Something else?
To vent or inform
open to some personal feedback?"
what do you need from me right now?"
aware of why you're speaking now?"
feel lectured-at now (...and I don't like
tell me how I should act / feel / think, I
feel disrespected and resentful."
main thing you want me to know is (paraphrase
the speaker's main point/s)."
you're focused mainly on your needs now, not
yours and mine."
your need, not mine."
To cause change
appreciate your trying to help me - and I
don't need 'fixing.' I just need you to
listen to me, OK?"
if you make suggestions, I can hear you.
When you lecture me, I can't."
you're so black-white and absolute, I stop
listening to you."
appreciate your suggestions (Name) - not
or enforce a limit
if you continue to lecture / instruct /
preach at / me, I'm going to (describe a
specific consequence)." Your
consequence (e.g. to leave, hang up,
interrupt, confront etc.) must be genuine
and do-able. It will be useless unless you
implement it promptly and respectfully.
you start lecturing, I need you to ask if
I'm open to feedback from you." (Option
- add a do-able consequence if the other
person won't comply).
preach at me, I'll put my hand up / cover my
ears / go 'La la la la...'."
very strong opinions on this subject."
know the difference between discussing and
want me to alert you when you switch to
'I think,' or 'In my opinion,' rather than
'You should / must / need to / have to...'."
you think I need from you right now?"
When you respond, expect the other person
to deny, argue, blame, change the subject, offer
excuses ("I can't help it"), justify ("But I'm
only trying to help you!"), complain
("Why are you so sensitive?"), say nothing,
avoid eye contact, get mad, etc. That's a
natural reaction, not "bad."
If s/he does, use brief
empathic listening to
acknowledge her/him, and calmly repeat your
feedback or limit about lecturing with steady
eye contact. Repeat this sequence until you get
what you need or your needs change.
Can you think of someone (like a parent or older
sibling) who lectures you? How do you think
they'd react to responses like these? How would
you feel? How do you think they
would work with a superior at work or an
This is one of a series of brief articles suggesting
effective responses to annoying social behaviors. This article offers ways to
respond respectfully to someone who lectures you
without your invitation. The ways are