Here’s a little game I like to play with people I love when I want them to start making better decisions or having a healthier perspective on life and they continue avoiding all of my previous, more subtle tactics.
I ask them how they would feel if I were the one doing what they were.
One example is with my parents and their nutrition choices, their use of alcohol, or their unwillingness to pay attention to the medical advice they received from doctors. I had spent years trying to convince them to take better care of their bodies, had them sit through numerous lectures with Ben on the importance of diet and exercise, and even threatened them in ways I’m not totally ready to admit to in an attempt to get them to change. But, the one conversation that finally worked…stopping my father dead in his tracks and leaving him speechless for the longest 20 seconds of my life…was when I said, “If I were the one laying in that hospital bed, would you be ok with me continuing to behave this way…or, would you insist that I change? Would you just keep ‘supporting’ the way I was dealing with it, or would you keep pushing me and refusing to let me live the rest of my life like that?”
The other one that’s been really fun is with our kids. They like to test me with questions about whether I did drugs, still do drugs, or if I think doing drugs is “actually” all that bad. I’m always honest with our kids. ALWAYS. And, they know it now so in an effort to shield themselves from information they don’t actually want answers on, they know better than to ask. But, with drugs, they really do want to know. So they get the truth: I have never smoked a cigarette, never smoked marijuana, and no other Schedule I or II drugs. I have, however, tried ONE magic brownie and a total of, I think, 1 marijuana gummy bear. And, let me tell you, they love nothing more than giving me complete hell for that brownie and that gummy bear.
So, when they start trying to use that against me and making attempts to tease me and convince me that cocaine isn’t “that bad”, I put it like this: How would you feel if I started using cocaine? Or, heroine? Or, LSD? Do you think that would change your view of me? Do you think that would change our relationship? Picture it, and picture your friends knowing that’s what your mom was doing all the time. Or, even just SOME times.
And, the conversation, and the teasing, and the joking around comes to the most beautiful screeching stop you could ever imagine. Because they know I’m right. They know it would change everything.
That’s when they realize that they’ve just gotten totally WORKED. I’ve just made my move on them, but it’s good enough to still work 😉