Some people miss all the good things in life by focusing only on what’s wrong. They miss the flowers in the garden and point out the weeds. Who are they? They’re the ‘Yes, but’ people. In order to help them and to deal with them the right way, you must:
(1) Be discerning. Recognise that often their outward bravado masks a deep inner insecurity. It lets them shift the focus off their own fears and onto the faults of others.
(2) Be accepting. Our first inclination is to ignore and isolate difficult people. That’s a mistake. Difficult people often want to be ignored, and avoiding them just provides the emotional distance for them to hide. Plus, it confirms their belief that you don’t care and won’t listen because you think they’re wrong and you’re right.
(3) Be interested. Show genuine concern for their family, their work, and their well-being. ‘Yes, but’ people usually struggle with giving and receiving love; they’re inclined to elevate opinion and loyalty above communication and reconciliation. And nowhere is it more evident than in their personal lives. So be prepared to pray with them about the trail of broken relationships you’re likely to find.
(4) Be kind. The Bible says, ‘Love is patient, love is kind… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)
Avoiding ‘Yes, but’ people doesn’t work; neither does arguing with them or trying to straighten them out. You can’t change the habits of a lifetime in one or two conversations. But given enough time, the one strategy that never fails is love.