13 Jun 2012

The worst question to ask

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How do you act when you feel backed into a corner?  If you have a teenager, how do they act?  They get defensive, sullen, uncommunicative and uncooperative.  When a hoarder is confronted they act the same way.

When dealing with children, especially teenagers, the very worst question to ask is, “why?”  Too often it’s a confrontational question and even when it isn’t meant that way it is easily misinterpreted.  When you ask “why?” you are putting someone on the defensive.  You are requiring them to remember the past in order to justify the present.

When people justify past decisions and remember old emotions they become reinvested.  When a family member asks the chronically disorganized, “why are you keeping this?” you can almost see positions being entrenched.  Go ahead, watch Hoarders and you’ll see.

As professional organizers we don’t want our clients dwelling in the past.  The question we ask is, “does keeping this advance you towards your goals, or hinder your progress?”  Always try to look forward and stay focused.

About the Author

works mostly behind the scenes at Conquer the Clutter, supporting Maria's efforts to make the world a neater place to live.

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