Yes, and…

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“Yes, but…”

“Yes, and…”

Two ways to respond. They start the same.

Then one destroys while the other builds.

Do you favor one over the other?

I like to think I use the latter. I’ll often challenge MsBoyink or the kids to see if they can frame an either/or choice into a both/and.

But honestly?

I do a lot of yesbutting.

There’s something about finding a hole in someone’s plan. Finding an aspect of a situation they haven’t thought of. Seeing an outcome they haven’t.

  • Yes, but you’ll run out of money.
  • Yes, but that’s too much weight for the truck.
  • Yes, but you’ll be exhausted trying to see all 50 states in a year.

What even is that?

It’s like opening the top and bottom gates to an old freight elevator. I shove you down with my feet while I push myself up with my arms.

Then you tumble into the void while I walk away feeling…what? Smug? Smart? Experienced?

Social media is fertile ground for yesbutting:

“Hey, we just bought a gorgeous 43 foot fifth wheel!”
Yes, but you won’t be able to stay in National Parks.”

“Hey, we just bought a cute little campervan!”
Yes, but you won’t be able to have company over.”

“Hey, we just booked a week at Glacier!”
Yes, but you won’t have cell reception.”

“Hey, we’re staying close to San Francisco!”
Yes, but the traffic will be horrible.”

Yesbutting isn’t really interactive. You’re just waiting for the person to stop talking so you can get your yesbut in.

Yesanding keeps you in the moment. It’s creative rather than destructive.

Yesanding has roots in improv comedy:

No matter what your fellow actors present to you, instead of negating it, belittling it, or disagreeing with it, your job is to say, “Yes, and…”  Accept the scenario as it’s presented to you (regardless of where you wanted it to go), and then to add to it. Volley back with something your fellow players can respond to.Source

Yesanding is technically defined as “nonjudgemental ideation”:

i.e. suspending judgment long enough to come up with ideas. “Yes, and…” is the understructure for suspending judgment. In “Yes, and…” the acceptance of another’s idea does not come with qualifiers, restrictions or judgment; rather it comes freely, unabashedly, and openly.Source

I’m determined to get better at yesanding. And do less yesbutting.

Mute Facebook


The first step I’ve taken is to spend less time in yesbutland.


We were totally off Facebook. Then we launched DitchingSuburbia. All the current business advice says you have to be on Facebook to promote a new brand. So we got back on, joined a number of related groups, and have been active there.

But I feel like being on Facebook has done a better job at making me a yesbutter than it has in promoting DitchingSuburbia.

For all of our efforts on Facebook, DitchingSuburbia gets way more traffic from Pinterest. And we build more community on Instagram.

First I purged people. There were faces and names in our friends list that I didn’t even recognize. It felt mercinary, but I unfriended them.

Then it was groups. I left RV groups, vanlife groups, minimalism groups, and location independence groups. All places where I’d feel inclined to yesbut.

I went further.

I unfollowed most of the people and groups we stayed connected to. Now my feed rarely changes and I have little reason to spend more time there.

There’s an old song (I dig the Dr. John version) that says:

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

I’ve taken a good stab at eliminating the negative.

Less yesbutting.

Now I need to accentuate the positive.

And that’s where I need your help.

What ways have you found to get better at yesanding?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

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