Two Words

Several years ago, the organization I work for embraced Evidence-Based Practices, with the goal of lifelong success for our clients. As part and parcel, all employees received initial training in Motivational Interviewing and continued training has been ongoing since M.I.’s inception into the workplace. As one who handles administrative tasks and is not directly involved in our client base, I receive occasional M.I. training, enough to make me think about how I converse with and respond to others.

Before I continue on, I want to share a short Bob Newhart clip that was part of our initial training. Sorry about the fuzziness, this was the only clip that shortened the skit to the essential part that is relative to the post.

No, this is NOT how to practice your best M.I. skills. But we all do it, right?

It’s our humble response to praise…“Oh, stop it!”

It’s a mother’s two words to a misbehaving daughter, followed by, “Wait until your father gets home!”

It’s the cry of a nine year old girl, to her ten year old brother, in the back seat of a car while on a long family vacation. “Billy, stop it!” Followed by, “Mooooommmm, he’s touching me!” Followed by a parental, “Okay you two, do I need to pull over? Stop it!”

It’s the guilty talk of a cat/dog mom or dad when those beautiful, sad eyes beg for kibble or attention. “Gibbers, stop it. No, I mean it. Stop it.”

It’s the angry two-syllable shout at the TV when politicians are fighting or the 6:00 p.m. news is all about the bad things happening in the world.

It’s the warning of a cookie maker when someone threatens (j/k) to steal away with the cookie stash. “Stop it or I’ll smash your fingers (j/k).”

It’s the hush of a tearful mother, whose three-month old won’t stop crying.

It’s a disappointed fist aimed at the sky on a rainy day, with the fisherman, biker and hiker urging, “Stop it, dangitall!”

Sound familiar?
How often do you speak these two words?

In my experience, saying “Stop it!” may help on occasion (out of fear perhaps), but that does not promote an evidence-based (or reality-based) response. The two words will not change the weather, or stop the crying baby, or create peace in the world, or stop the guilt caused by two green eyes, or always make children behave. Yet, we say it with affirm and passion, as if the intended victim will immediately raise the white flag. If Bob Newhart can be convicted about stop it, then so can we, except that we won’t get paid for our wise advice.

So, my wonderful readers, I have questions for you that beg answers:

How often do you say “Stop it!”?
Who is your intended target?
What is the usual outcome?
What will you do differently next time?

Those are quite thoughtful questions.

I would say the best questions I’ve come up with in a long time.


If you are rolling your eyes, please stop it. I didn’t write a little over 500 words for you to get all #whattheheckisherproblem on me. I’ve just finished four days of cookie baking, washing dishes, more cookie baking, washing a ton of dishes, cooking baking until my fingers bled, washing dishes until the water turned red, and helping to decorate a Christmas tree, not to mention the Christmas shopping and gym neglecting in between. This is the best post I could write under the circumstances.


Unless you would like me to explain the fine points of Evidenced-Based Practices and Motivational Interviewing…

I know, shut up and stop it.

26 responses to Two Words

  1. I pretty much only say stop it to Carnell. And it’s usually stopitstopitstopit. Otherwise, I don’t use that phrase much. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Oh, a three-peat…awesome. I suppose if you don’t say it often, you have to get your money’s worth when you do.

  2. joannesisco says:

    Bob Newhart!!!

    Yeah, that’s all I’ve got. He’s awesome.

    What were you saying? Something about cookies?

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Maddie is almost always the intended target. It almost never works. I probably won’t change my behavior (nobody is telling me to stop it) and occasionally I continue with Maddie the way Bob does at the end of the long version of that clip. If I could say it to the people calling my house to offer e a car warranty or energy saving, I would.

    I brought cookies into the office today (not homemade, but, you know, the thought…) I’m going to go eat two more now.

    Have a great day Mary!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Ahhhhhh…a well-trained critter and her well-trained master. You need to practice your Newhart skills on the warranty people.

  4. Ally Bean says:

    I don’t think I ever say “stop it” although I find myself saying “huh?” all the time. How weird does this make me? Never mind, no need to answer. I know the answer to that already.

    [Never heard of Motivational Interviewing before. This is a thing?]

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I don’t believe saying “huh?” makes one weird…I would say inquisitive is a better word. Anyhow, motivational interviewing is very interesting and a much better way to communicate when trying to make a point or nudging someone toward taking responsibility for themselves. I don’t know if it’s a “thing” worldwide, but it’s a “thing” where I work.

      • Ally Bean says:

        Inquisitive. I like that! I’m fascinated by all things communication so will read more about motivational interviewing. Couldn’t hurt to have another interpersonal skill in my tool box.

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