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View Diary: Countering the Argument They Stuff Down Your Throat (12 comments)

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  •  Don't argue... (0+ / 0-)

    You can't convince the willfully ignorant. Or as  George Bernard Shaw said, "never wrestle with a'll both get dirty and the pig will like it." Shorter Blue Collar Comedy version: "You can't fix stupid."

    When I was teaching assertiveness back in my HR days, I used to talk about "verbal aikido" (h/t to Suzette Hayden-Elgin). In aidido, your job is to help your opponent get to the ground by getting yourself out of the way.

    Best way to do it? Stop resisting. Ask questions. Paraphrase.

    Like "Oh, I see. You think President Obama is a fascist/communist/marxist/muslim who wants to take your guns away and force doctors to sell surrogate babies to homosexuals who threaten the sanctity of your marriage.  Help me understand why you think that way." Or..."If I understand you correctly, you're saying the President is not American. Can you help me understand why you think that?"

     And if you're really stuck, use bland, non-committal  statements like,

    "Hmmm...I never looked at it that way." or "Wow, what an interesting opinion." or "You know, you might be right!" These statements allow you to respond without getting down in the mud yourself...if you can keep a straight face and placid body language.

    And if all else fails, laugh. Laugh hard and loud. And thank them for making you laugh.  I totally disarmed my libertarian brother by laughing when he said Obama wanted to take his guns away. "Oh REALLY?  BWAAAAHHAAAA") He looked stunned.

    Don't know if you have the personality for it, but sometimes a stern statement of your own boundaries also works: "Knock it off." I had a dinner guest who had too much to drink start to go off on an ugly racist rant -- I had to literally stand up, look him square in the eye, and say in my most parental voice, "I do NOT tolerate that kind of talk in MY HOUSE. Knock it off!" The other dinner guests were uncomfortable and a little scared when I got up on my hind legs, but as they left they thanked me for shutting him up.

    Hope that helps. Oh, and for a self-confidence boost, go read Jim Wright's blog at Stonekettle Station. You'll find you are NOT alone!


    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

    by SmartRat on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 07:59:00 AM PDT

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