One thing you learn when you socialize with a lot of people, especially people who aren’t your close friends is that people will often do, say, or insinuate things that you at best don’t agree with at worst make you wanna smack them with both sides of your hand and tell them they’re the type of idiot that personifies everything that’s wrong with the world. The problem is that we were raised to have manners and show respect. This is a long-winded way of saying we’ve been taught to be polite and avoid confrontations. It’s considered disrespectful to discredit or embarrass people in public. Luckily for some of us who don’t particularly enjoy biting our tongues, there’s a loophole in this unwritten law. It’s the weapon of choice for the passive aggressive as well as the more clever conversationalists who realize that insinuation and subtext communicate more efficiently than direct rebuttals do. When you do it politely it’s met with much less resistance too. Witty and I thought of a couple of examples, but we’re sure you have more.
1) Ask them simple questions- The most efficient and respectful way to show someone that they’re wrong or impractical is to ask questions that force them to examine their own flawed logic or bad strategy. “What incentive does she have to do that for you?” or “Why would he voluntarily give away that privilege?” “How can you be sure of that?” When you subtly challenge the person to have to answer you out loud and verbalize their own lack of practicality you don’t even have to say what society would frown on you for saying directly. They get it now.
2) Give them short or blunt answers (after they were very verbose and specific with you)- This is one that some people do unintentionally. Some folks just don’t communicate using a lot of words. These people are often seen as either assholish, insensitive, deep, mysterious, unintelligent, regal, stoic, or aloof depending on the situation and the person. Either way, when someone speaks from the heart with passion and puts all their effort into communicating a point or perspective and you just reply with a short phrase or one word answer, that’s one of the most subtly (and for some folks unintentionally) assholish messages you could send to someone. The subtext is usually one of the following. “I honestly don’t care that much about what you’re talking about, but clearly you do.” “I disagree but don’t find you or your asinine opinion worth my time or effort.” “You just made that way more complicated than it actually is” “I stopped listening” Either way this technique is the stealthy asshole’s favorite move.
1) Agree With Them- Get out your sarcasm sauce and lay it on THICK. Feign epiphany, hit your head and with the most distressed expression you can muster, ask them, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that? I feel like an idiot for failing to possess your clear wisdom all of this time, ALL OF THIS TIME! Man, thank god I have you here to clarify life for me.” Now with all of that thick sarcasm sauce, be sure to sprinkle on some sincerity, or what appears to be sincerity. They won’t know what to believe and thus will proceed to shut the hell up, as they should, my friend, as they should.
2) Dig Even Deeper- This is the opposite and perhaps more entertaining suggestion to Mr. Fuego’s last. Instead of being short, out-wind their long windedness. Give insanely detailed, preferably irrelevant examples to “prove your point”. Explain in detail why summer sun flares reaching towards the southern hemisphere are the clear culprit of a woman’s PMS. Get scientific and leave no detail out in your absurd explanation. If your verbal opponent is an absolute idiot, they will listen and try to decipher what the hell it is you are saying and how to properly refute which is simply hilarious and highly entertaining. If they have a tad bit more sense and social awareness they will pick up on the covert disrespect and shut the hell up, as they should my friend, as they should.
What’s your favorite tactic to completely discredit someone when the situation has simply passed the point of any logical, mature communication, or when… your jerkface juice just flares up!?! What can I say? These things happen!