UNITED STATES—Raising an issue that may be causing you grief is no easy task. It might be something at the workplace, something at home, or a family member who just boils your blood or skin every single time that you see them. So the question of the week is how do you address or raise a concern with an individual without it becoming a hostile environment or attack?

Well, don’t react with emotions. I will be honest; I think all Aquarians are emotional human beings. We bond easily, we can sometimes hold grudges and we do allow our emotions to get the best of us at times. More importantly, I’m learning that I have to take those pauses at times before I just react without realizing there could be consequences for my actions.

Something has been bugging me for months, and I mean months, but I don’t know quite how to approach the situation so that it doesn’t become a major issue. My little brother has no regard for other human beings. He lives in his own little bubble; he has little respect for authority and might be the most selfish individual that I have ever met in my life.

My parents are always talking about his lack of respect, his inability to due household chores and his bratty behavior. I know if I have a conversation with him before fully thinking things through, we could be looking at an epic brawl. I mean this is someone who leaves a boatload of dishes in his bedroom, who NEVER washes dishes, doesn’t flush toilets at times, never buys ANYTHING for the house, etc. My first thought was my parents should just kick him out, but there is that fear that he wouldn’t survive a week, but you’ll never know until it happens.

Whenever they talk to him, it always leads to an argument of sorts because he feels like he is being attacked. What he fails to realize is that no one is attacking him, they are simply attempting to get his attention: force him to see the things that are problematic. Going through a laundry list of issues when you raise a problem does not help the person you are attempting to raise a concern with.

The goal should be to connect with the individual in a way that it becomes apparent to them a problem has arisen and it must be addressed before it gets further out of control. Think about it; if you allow someone to go 10 years without ever cleaning up after themselves, do you expect them to suddenly start cleaning up because you NOW want them to. Addressing a problem before it becomes a bigger problem prevents further chaos from emerging.

I personally don’t think having an intervention with a ton of people around is a good thing. First, the person is going to be aware that something is up, not to mention the factoid that you run the risk of alienating the person and making them feel further attacked. Perhaps, one or two people to confront the issue is much better than 10-15 people in one single room. Second, making a list I think is a bit much; you already know the things that are of a concern for you, why indulge in making the person feel as if they’re the worst person in the world.

Third, have the talk at a place that is common ground for both individuals. I would not pose meeting in a public place where the conversation can quickly turn sour when someone takes offense to what you say. Lastly, I think it is imperative when you raise a concern with the ‘important person of the hour’ that it’s important they understand that you goal is to not attack them, but help remedy a problem that they may not SEE.

In the workplace, that might be trickier because it’s more likely an issue management has to address, otherwise chaos might emerge which is not good for anyone. I mean publicly humiliating someone is never something I’d approve of. If you’re not careful in the thought process, it could be you who is publicly shamed and that is no fun feeling.

That is the thing I really what to pinpoint: when you plan to raise a concern with someone regarding an issue you have, the goal is not to make them feel bad, you don’t want to embarrass them, you want to get them to acknowledge things that need to be fixed so that it makes them a better person in the long run.