How Friends Can Help Friends Quit Smoking. Part 3

Posted by Lloyd on July 31, 2012

Successful behavior change occurs when a person feels a sense of control and gains confidence. Forget about smoking for a minute, and think back to the last time you were criticized by a friend or family member. Maybe someone asked you to become neater, a better listener or more punctual. Maybe they pointed out a mistake you made or a weakness in your character. How did you feel? People often feel hurt and angry when criticized, especially if criticism is delivered in a judgmental or condescending way.

Now put yourself in your friend’s place while you give your lecture on the dangers of smoking. What effect are you creating with your words, tone, facial expression and body language? Instead of lectures and criticism, let your friend know you care, and you will be supportive in his or her effort to quit. Friendship and support help build and maintain the inner strength and personal conviction people require for successful behavior change.

A place for caring confrontation

While nagging your friends and family members about their smoking is counterproductive, an occasional caring confrontation can have positive results. At the right moment, tell family members or close friends that you love them and are worried about their smoking. Let them know you will be there to support them emotionally when they decide to quit. (Of course, let loved ones also know you will continue to care about them whether they quit or not.) Use this tactic sparingly, however, or it will lose its meaning and effectiveness.

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