Psychological Self-Help

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else, not you, you may want to ask, "Have you told (the complainee)
yet?" or "Can I tell __________?" or "Can I set up a meeting with
them?" Thirdly, plan a specific time to make decisions cooperatively
that will help the situation...and do it. 
What about the persons who are super nice and smilingly agree
with your ideas until some action is required, then they back down or
disappear. Such people seek approval. They have learned, probably as
children, that one method for getting "love" is by telling people (or
pretending) you really care for and/or admire them. Similarly, the
super-agreeables will often promise more than they deliver: "I'll get
the report done today" or "I'd love to help you clean up." They are
experts in phoniness, so don't try to "butter them up." Instead,
reassure the super-agreeable that you will still like them even if they
tell you the truth. Ask them to be candid and make it easy for them to
be frank: "What part of my plan is okay but not as good as it could
be?" Help them avoid making promises they can't keep: "Are you sure
you can have the money by then? How about two weeks later?" Tell
and show them you value their friendship. Let them know you are
ready to compromise because you know they will be more than fair. 
Know-it-all experts are of two types: the truly competent,
productive, self-assured, genuine expert and the partially informed
person pretending to be an expert. Both can be a pain. The true expert
may act superior and make others feel stupid; they may be bull
headed and impatient with differing opinions; they are often self-
reliant, don't need or want any help, and don't want to change. If you
are going to deal with the true expert as an equal, you must do your
homework thoroughly; otherwise, they will dismiss you. First of all,
listen to them and accurately paraphrase their points. Don't attack
their ideas but rather raise questions that suggest alternatives: "Would
you tell me more?" or "What do you think the results will be in five
years?" "It probably isn't a viable choice but could we consider...?"
Secondly, show your respect for his/her competence but don't put
yourself down. Lastly, if the expert can not learn to consider others'
ideas, you may be wise to graciously accept a subordinate role as
his/her "helper." True experts deserve respect. The pretentious-but-
not-real expert is relatively easy to deal with because he/she (unlike
liars or cons) is often unaware of how little he/she knows. Such a
person can be gently confronted with the facts. Do it when alone with
them. Help them save face. They simply want to be admired. 
Another "burden" to any group is the pessimist --the person who
always says, "It won't work" or "We tried that." These angry, bitter
people have the power to drag us down because they stir up the old
pool of doubt and disappointment within us. So, first of all, avoid being
sucked into his/her cesspool of hopelessness. Don't argue with the
pessimist; don't immediately offer solutions to the difficulties predicted
by the pessimist. Instead, make optimistic statements--showing that
change is possible--and encourage the group to brainstorm leading to
several possible alternatives. Then ask what are the worst possible
consequences of each alternative (this gives the negativist a chance to
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