7 Things Firefighters Should Never Say
By Dr. George J. Thompson
2. “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?”
This snotty, useless phrase turns the problem back on ou. It signals this is a “you-versus-me” battle rather than an “us” discussion. The typical reaction is, “It’s not my problem. You’re the problem!”
The problem with the word ‘problem’ is that it makes people feel deficient or even helpless. It can even transport people back to a state where they felt misunderstood and underrated. Nobody likes to admit they has a problem. That’s a weakness! When asked, “what’s your problem?” the other already feels a failure. So the immediate natural reaction is, “I don’t have one, you do!” which is a reaction that now hides a real need for help.
Substitute tactical phrases designed to soften and open someone up, like “What’s the matter?”, “How can I help?”, or “I can see you’re upset, let me suggest . . . .”
Remember, a first responder help those in need, not passes judgements.