“What do you mean?
Like I want him to stack them so I could do it? No thanks.
told him a hundred times to get a box and put it next to his chair so he can just drop the
papers in when he’s finished reading.
But nooooo,” she sarcastically drawls it out, “hewon’t do it.”
“You have a choice; you can continue complaining, you can leave, or you can use your
own suggestion of the box and eliminate the problem.
What’s more important?”
“That would be one way to clear up the mess, but I’m sick of cleaning up after him.”
I sympathize with her, but then add, “You don’t have to do it.
But you do have to realizethis is your choice.You can choose to hold out for the principle, he cleans up after himself, or you caneliminate the stress you feel each time you see him drop the paper on the floor.
I’m not making a value judgment which is a wiser decision; I’m just reminding you this isyour choice.”
Margaret reluctantly responds.
“I see what you mean, but it doesn’t seem fair.”
“This isn’t about fairness; it’s about helping you feel less angry about his being sloppy.”
“I think I see what you’re getting at.
If I clean up the room, I’d have to remind
because I want a neat living room.
Otherwise, I’d be angry at him for having to pick upafter him.”
Two weeks later, Margaret sweeps into the office. “You’ll never guess what!
Burtonnever said a word about the box or my putting his papers in it at night.But, for the last two nights, he dropped his newspapers in the box himself. No
argument, he’s just doing it.
And, the best part; I’ve kept my mouth shut.
I’venever said one word about any of it.”