Welcome to the next Counter Arguments. Here in this part I will be mostly discussing ways on how to deal (or not to deal) with condescending remarks. All responses I share here are originally my own, were I be held in such a situation.
As reminder: anything “impactful”or “objective” by ways of research gathering, or purveying throughout this channel remains your own responsibility to exercise mind-over-matter. Nothing I suggest here is consequently be that of “Gospel”, nor that any citations shared permits discounted reading or research. Presuming you are caught in conversations beyond small-talk – nothing here sadly may actually “work”, or be appropriate for all cases.
But if there is one train of thought that I can safely leave for all arguments is this – “I’m happy to listen. But once you’re done, we’re done.”
Whenever you are confronted, irrespective family, public or work situations always remember to observe your surroundings, and survey all inputs from the other third party.
Easier than said than done ~ but try to gauge the conversation whether it is steering you to either: 1) a possible debate, or 2) a coincidental discovery “me-too / we have something in common”.
Either way, the key here is to not rely on instinct or knee jerk impulses. This of course is harder than it sounds. Because there is a lot we have to observe than what we hear. Body language, environment, level of acquaintance, to name a few.
Throughout the next five or six bullet food for thoughts I propose the following byte-sized TLDR’s:
- Prepare a Warning statement.
- Get to know the argument.
- Gauge / judge (internally) this overall argument. Constructive? Proceed. If not, pave an exit.
- How to pave a an exit. Give them a compliment. Tell them they’re right. But don’t promise them anything.
- How to deal with sarcasm. Try not to play along.
- How to deal with angry barks / defensive remarks. Apologize to them, for they are that sensitive.
Prepare a Warning statement.
This is simply a warning to make the other party aware of the conversation’s entire trajectory. Try responding somewhere along these lines:
- “Okay I am happy to discuss this further, but beware that we (both) are about to enter an involuntary debate. Are you okay with this?”
Get to know the argument.
This is where you try to understand the context. With probing questions wherever needed ~ the high level theme of the conversation.
- Ask ~ “What” their ~ stance, opinion, judgment or argument is.
- Ask – “How” they came about such an argument.
- Ask ~ “When” do they, or how long have they been convinced in their own argument, and/or conclusion.
- Then lastly. the Why. Why do they think they are more superior over everything else.
The more time you allow them to speak, the more you will get to observe their perspective. And also for courtesy – to allow them, in their own time to clarify their stance/s.
Gauge the overall argument. If it is worth debating, continue. If not, pave an exit.
If you feel the conversation is worth progressing, then continue. Otherwise, pave a respectful exit, somewhere along these lines:
- “I don’t feel the need to argue about this. Because I feel it is unnecessary.”
- “I don’t think this dialogue benefit either of us. Because you might be as sensitive as I am when it comes to debates.”
If they comply, then this is very important ~ do not continue, do not probe, and do not say any other word at all. Consider your stance a “winner”. Give them a compliment, and thanks for their input.
If they refuse to end the conversation, you can bet this conversation have now escalated to the next level.
Shawn Anggg @ Unsplash
General / probing responses
Consider these lines as your defense either prior or amidst to rationalize why you justify paving an exit off this debate. The keyword here is “unnecessary”.
- “I do not like talking about <nutrition / health / topics> in general. Because I know I will become subject for unnecessary attention”
- “I do not like talking about <nutrition / health / topics> in general. Because I know everyone is too fragile in their own values, dogma and/or belief systems. I felt it is unnecessary therefore to compete.”
- “I do not like talking about <nutrition / health / topics> in general. Because I know everyone always have something to disagree about Science. And Because I know you will contest against everything I present. You will do everything in your power to prove you are more right than me. And that – is unnecessary.“
Observe their reaction. If you feel the conversation is still going nowhere, consider or adapting the following counter question/s:
- “What’s in it for you, if you are not willing to change anyway, regardless of what you hear from me?”
- “My time is precious to me. And I know what is necessary for me and my stance in Science without the need to over-step others. What about you? Do you think this debate is necessary to you? What do you, yes you “alone” ~ gain from this debate?”
- “Are you providing others open food for thoughts? Or are you forcing your own closed thoughts over others?”
- “Are you expecting to be entertained or are you trying to provide a critique?”
Paving an exit / Ending the conversation.
As soon as you feel a hint or an opportunity allowing you to make an exit, then proceed by these sample conclusive remarks. The goal here is to compliment them.
- “You’re right. Nobody cares about your health, as much as you do.”
- “You’re right. Nobody is more stubbornly correct, as you do.”
- “You’re right. I am not perfect by anyone’s standards. Not even you.”
- “You’re right. The world would be a perfect ~ if everyone is as perfect as you.”
The goal here is to promise them nothing. But at least (for now) ~ acknowledge their stance or “opinion”. Aim for a conclusion at leaving them “be”. Let nature and/or karma takes care of the rest.
….But what about if you’re caught in the weeds?
That is, what if:
- You are being caught or lured into a hostile conversation.
- Your train of thought or argument is being spun-off into a direction elsewhere than intended.
- You are dealing with sarcastic remarks.
These are what I would do.
Sarcasm ~ give them a compliment. But ask what’s in it for them.
I would not respond back with sarcasm. Otherwise, you will look clumsy downplaying the entire conversation.
If you are caught in a situation where the other party expects more “entertainment”, try to remain conscious, and question ~ the other’s intentions by gently raising the what, how and why of their supposed-compliments.
Then, try the following response for a hopefully mutual quiet exit; between two (or more) of you.
- “Thank you. I consider that a compliment. But what’s in it for you?”
- “You know what? You might know a thing or two that nobody else does. Have you thought about writing a blog?”
Depending on situation (and/or context), sarcasm can potentiate compliments, depending on the situation, timing and acquaintance. However, one should never assume this as a way to meld with anyone. Because at the end of the day and more often than not ~ it is nothing else but a setup or a ploy, for unsolicited amusement.
Threats and angers.
What happens if you come across defensive bark/s? Eg. ~ (“What? Are you judging me?” / “Who do you think you are?”)
First and foremost, do not add fire with more fire. Do not play monkey-see-monkey-do. Otherwise, they’re only interested to see even more reaction out of you. Instead, try questioning their own rationale – behind their own tone.
“I’m sorry I didn’t expect you to bark at me that way. Did I ask you to get angry? Did I ask you to raise your voice?” If so, you must be mistaken for something else.
The goal here is to pave for yourself a polite exit.
- “I don’t like the tone of this conversation. But I let you finish. And I will not respond. Once you’re done, we’re done.”
- “I am simply responding a train of thought I believe is rational, and one that acknowledge both of us. But since you’re mistaken this as threat, okay I apologize ~ that you must be so sensitive.”
- “It’s interesting you’ve brought up <such and such topic> have you thought about writing a blog on this?”
- “It’s interesting you’ve raised <this and that>. But how many people actually agree with you? Just curious.”
- “If you are trying to beat or compete over someone, why not improve yourself? I think it’s better that way than arguing against a brick wall, like me.”
Coming up next!
In our next part I will be dealing with each individual sample remarks. Originally I was planning to write this all up in one (1) writing. However spanning over nearing one and half month(s) reading and rewriting I realized it’d be too lengthy.
But meanwhile, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.