March 3, 2009
TMI! Helping Those Who Give Too Much Information
TMI! Helping Those Who Give Too Much Information

Hi-ya! Dr. Laura here and welcome to my Dr. Laura YouTube Channel where, among other things, you get to ask me some questions that perhaps you couldn't get on the air because Kimberly wouldn't accept your call...she's like that sometimes. All right, I don't have a name for this but it says:

"How can I discourage a co-worker from spilling out all the personal details of her life to me, without damaging our working relationship? We've worked together on lots of projects and I'm her supervisor on some projects."

Well, it's funny how things flash into your mind. I was just about to give you a very articulate, brilliant answer to this when I remembered being in that very same position when I was in graduate school. I was at Columbia University, at the medical school, working on my doctorate in physiology at the time, and this girl kept coming and telling me about her boyfriend. And it was like every day she kept coming and nagging to me about her boyfriend and I gave her brilliant advice. I can't remember what any of it was right now, but I remember, at the time, I said, "You should do shouldn't do should do shouldn't do this..." And none of it seemed to make any difference, because she kept doing what she was doing.

So, frankly, I got tired of it. I got frustrated with it...didn't quite know what to do. I wasn't trained as a psychotherapist at that time in my life, but you know, I'm a reasonable and compassionate human being. She came in that one last time and started in again. And I walked over to her, put my arms around her and just hugged her and said, "I can't help you, but I care." She started crying, with all her mascara going over all the one (you know, I'm in graduate school and you don't have a lot of money) decent blouse I had and I'm thinking,"I have to be very compassionate, loving..." At the same time I'm going, "Oh darn, she's going to wreck my blouse and it'll never come out!" (I hope she's not hearing this right now.)

But, you know what? Somehow just hearing that the answer couldn't come from me, meaning it really couldn't come from anybody else, she knew what she had to do and she had to face it...and simply that I cared about her enough to hug her. I'm of a big belief that physical contact...holding somebody's hand, taking both their hands when you talk to them, putting your hands on their face when you're trying to communicate something very important and being gentle about it, giving hugs...I think these say more than a thousand words. Anyway, she did dump the guy. He was really bad for her.

But remember, you're not going to talk somebody into facing the things that they're scared to face or uncomfortable to face. But you can show them that you care enough about them that you wish they would take care of themselves. After that, it's really out of your hands.

I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Come again to our YouTube Channel.

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Posted by Staff at 8:00 AM