Why Don’t You – Yes But

Original First Edition of Games People Play 1964

Original First Edition of Games People Play from Eric Berne’s private library.

Thesis. “Why Don’t You – Yes But” occupies a special place in game analysis, because it was the original stimulus for the concept of games. It was the first game to be dissected out of its social context, and since it is the older subject of game analysis, it is one of the best understood. It is also the game most commonly played at parties and groups of all kinds, including psychotherapy groups. The following example will serve to illustrate its main characteristics:

White: “My husband always insists on doing our own repairs, and he never builds anything right.”

Black: “Why doesn’t he take a course in carpentry?”

White: “Yes, but he doesn’t have time.”

Blue: “Why don’t you buy him some good tools?”

White: “Yes, but he doesn’t know how to use them.”

Red: “Why don’t you have your building done by a carpenter?

White: “Yes, but that would cost too much.”

Brown” “Why don’t you just accept what he does the way he does it?”

White: “Yes, but the whole thing might fall down.”

Such an exchange in typically followed by a silence. It is eventually broken by Green, who may say something like, “That’s men for you, always trying to show how efficient they are.”

The description of this game on this page is incomplete.  For a complete description of this game, refer to Games People Play.