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Author Topic: I do not want to discuss this topic  (Read 17699 times)

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MonteCristo

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I do not want to discuss this topic
« on: March 20, 2015, 09:48:38 AM »
This is mainly a problem with my immediate family, as they firmly believe if you stop talking you lose, and losing is unacceptable.  Occasionally we get on a subject that clearly the two parties are not ever going to agree on. In my mind at that point you just change the subject, and move on.  They won't.  They will just keep arguing and arguing until the cows come home.  So recently I've started, after at least two failed attempt to change the subject (one naturally and one with a pointed, I'm changing the subject vibe) I just say "I don't want to discuss this anymore".  Which you would think would be more than enough to make any reasonable people shut up about it.  But there are a couple people who will just keep on and on after I've said that, even though no one else is responding, usually until I actually physically leave the room.  Granted, by that time I'm usually pretty annoyed and it is a pretty severe huff when I do leave, so not exactly polite.  But what else can you do when someone just won't stop talking and silence doesn't seem to help at all?


Luci

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 10:14:41 AM »
You are doing the right thing except for the leaving in a huff. Leave before you are about to explode. Just excuse yourself and say you want to talk to Johnny or see if you can help in the kitchen or check on the dogs or wash your hands (euphemism for using the toilet where I come from) or ...............well, lots of things. And go!

You don't have to get the last word in.

LadyL

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 10:19:27 AM »
"I'm going to bow out of this conversation" while walking away?

Lynn2000

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 10:22:11 AM »
I agree, you are almost on the right track. Try moving your strategy up--change the subject at the first mention of a contentious topic, leave the room earlier, etc.. I like the idea of giving an excuse like talking to Bob or using the bathroom--it's kind of a face-saving line for everyone. Sometimes if you pretend you aren't leaving the room in a huff because Aunt Myrtle is being a jerk, but rather are leaving because you need to check on the kids out back, it kind of helps refocus your thoughts away from the anger.

But otherwise I think you are doing well, it's just that there's no guarantee other people will magically become reasonable, even with repeated applications. Ideally you hope other people will modify their behavior, and you will feel better about your own. But sometimes you have to be content with the latter only.
~Lynn2000

MonteCristo

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 10:42:49 AM »
I agree, you are almost on the right track. Try moving your strategy up--change the subject at the first mention of a contentious topic, leave the room earlier, etc.. I like the idea of giving an excuse like talking to Bob or using the bathroom--it's kind of a face-saving line for everyone. Sometimes if you pretend you aren't leaving the room in a huff because Aunt Myrtle is being a jerk, but rather are leaving because you need to check on the kids out back, it kind of helps refocus your thoughts away from the anger.

But otherwise I think you are doing well, it's just that there's no guarantee other people will magically become reasonable, even with repeated applications. Ideally you hope other people will modify their behavior, and you will feel better about your own. But sometimes you have to be content with the latter only.

I will try this when I have the chance, the thing is these aren't "naturally" contentious subjects. It could be about something as simple as what color the wall was painted last year.   :-\ 

I have toned my response down to just having a bit of a huff (originally the only way to stop my family from these "discussions" was when I'd get so upset I'd pretty much have a breakdown in front of everyone) but I will try and excuse myself sooner.

Lynn2000

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 10:55:23 AM »
I get what you're saying. Every time we have an office party, like for someone's birthday, two people seem to get into a tense, loud discussion about something stupid. ::) I usually just walk out of the room silently at that point, and go back to work. So if the discussion is happening between two other people, and you aren't involved yet, you could try removing yourself from the situation before you're drawn in.

And I know what you mean about "silence means you concede you're wrong"--I have a co-worker like that. ::) Her specialty is saying something outrageously wrong, so you will correct her with the right information that she wants to know. If you don't, she then claims the outrageous guess must be correct, and continues the conversation accordingly. "I heard you went to the doctor yesterday! Do you have cancer?" What she wants is for you to reply, "No, I just have this rash..." so she can pry into your business. But if you say, "That's none of your business," or "I don't want to talk about it," or nothing, or "Yes" with clear sarcasm, she will pretend she thinks the answer is really yes and continue with, "What kind of cancer? How bad is it? How are they treating it?" And then go tell other, well-meaning people you have cancer. And claim that's what you said if you protest. Or that she "misunderstood."

I don't talk to her much. That's really the only way to come out ahead, I've found.
~Lynn2000

TootsNYC

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 12:44:20 PM »
Quote
But what else can you do when someone just won't stop talking and silence doesn't seem to help at all?

Go to the bathroom? For a long time?

EllenS

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2015, 01:00:37 PM »
Well, another alternative would be (depending on the context of the event), after announcing you don't wish to continue, doing what you need to do to go to your "happy place". For example, pulling some knitting or a book out of your purse and letting others rattle their sabers if they enjoy it.

If you can detach enough that the argument doesn't upset you, then you don't need to always be the one leaving. This would not be polite in some contexts, but in a family gathering where the "social activity" consists of a general row about nothing, I think it's an acceptable choice.

Rather like if your family always liked to play cards, or something, and you didn't want to participate. Some people really do argue loudly for their own amusement.

BeagleMommy

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 02:10:55 PM »
I used to have to do this with my late FIL.  You didn't converse with him.  He pontificated and you were supposed to nod in agreement.  If you dared to disagree with him he would debate you until the rapture.

My MIL would usually intervene by saying "BeagleMommy, how about we go for a walk?".  Then we would go.  By the time we got back he was onto a new subject.

poundcake

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2015, 11:09:36 AM »
This is exactly how I have to deal with my family, too. The key is remembering that their "last word" tactic is a matter of control for them. However, it does not have to be one for you. It requires a little rewiring of your thinking: you have to remember that calmly smiling and saying "I don't want to discuss this" is YOUR matter of control, and your way of "winning," if you will. You're never going to get them to understand that last words don't mean they "won" or are "right." You can't change their thinking about the topic OR the way they're discussing it. So don't even try. Remind yourself that you have established your own rules for conversing with them, and be confident in them. Soon, instead of a frustrated huff, you'll respond with a calm smile, knowing you don't have to talk about anything you don't want to.

I have a couple family members in particular who love to bait me about social and political issues. My variations include "Let's not talk about ___ today," "Let's not have this discussion in the middle of Junior's First Birthday Party/Aunt's 80th/so-and-so's wedding," and even a laughing "Oh, Uncle Patriarchal, this again? Let's not have this discussion again!"

Sadly, as a result, I spend very little time with them now, which also cuts down on "discussing this topic."

FauxFoodist

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2015, 05:02:43 PM »
I once shut down a blowhard successfully, but it probably wouldn't be acceptable here (I was honest, but I don't think I was rude).  Someone at an old job kept arguing with me over something and in front of other coworkers.  Finally, I said, "I'm not going to argue this point anymore."  He said, "That's because you know I'm right."  I just looked at him and said, "No, it's because arguing with you is a waste of time so I'm not doing it anymore."  Shut him down and offended him at the same time (wasn't trying to offend him but he asked for it and, at least, he stopped insisting I thought he was right).  Our coworkers just laughed.

gramma dishes

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2015, 07:49:21 PM »
I once shut down a blowhard successfully, but it probably wouldn't be acceptable here (I was honest, but I don't think I was rude).  Someone at an old job kept arguing with me over something and in front of other coworkers.  Finally, I said, "I'm not going to argue this point anymore."  He said, "That's because you know I'm right."  I just looked at him and said, "No, it's because arguing with you is a waste of time so I'm not doing it anymore."  Shut him down and offended him at the same time (wasn't trying to offend him but he asked for it and, at least, he stopped insisting I thought he was right).  Our coworkers just laughed.

I don't understand why what you said could ever be considered "offensive".  You simply told the truth.

Offensive would have been if you had said "No, I'm not going to argue with you anymore because you're obviously too stupid to understand the basic concepts involved."  You didn't do that.

FauxFoodist

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2015, 08:07:04 PM »
I once shut down a blowhard successfully, but it probably wouldn't be acceptable here (I was honest, but I don't think I was rude).  Someone at an old job kept arguing with me over something and in front of other coworkers.  Finally, I said, "I'm not going to argue this point anymore."  He said, "That's because you know I'm right."  I just looked at him and said, "No, it's because arguing with you is a waste of time so I'm not doing it anymore."  Shut him down and offended him at the same time (wasn't trying to offend him but he asked for it and, at least, he stopped insisting I thought he was right).  Our coworkers just laughed.

I don't understand why what you said could ever be considered "offensive".  You simply told the truth.

Offensive would have been if you had said "No, I'm not going to argue with you anymore because you're obviously too stupid to understand the basic concepts involved."  You didn't do that.

Oh, *he* acted offended, "Fine!  You think I'm a waste of time then."  Me?  I thought I was blunt but not offensive.  I wasn't about to let him think he "won" the argument; I just didn't feel like spinning my wheels anymore.

greencat

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2015, 08:11:02 PM »
If the subjects aren't normally contentious, you could always try "Why are we arguing about this?  This is a very silly thing to be getting angry about."

Also, apply some beandip.  "It doesn't really matter what color it was last year since it's mauve now.  Have you tried Aunt Carol's new beandip?"

tash112194

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Re: I do not want to discuss this topic
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2015, 07:35:19 AM »
My DF's step mom and her sister both love to be right. And it involves many phones whipped out during dinner to Google and 'prove' that they are right! When they get into arguments with each other, "NO remember I said this!" "NO you didn't! I was there!"
I just loudly say "So anyways! How long has the baby been able to eat cheerios?" - boom subject changed. If they try to go back to it, I just say "Maybe you can finish your fight after I leave.." And then they insist that it's not a 'fight' and I go "Anyways, how was work? Is that lady still a pain?" - boom subject changed again, and they don't usually go back to it lol.
It's usually easier for me to acknowledge 'not so' subtly that I want to change the subject by obviously interrupting with my "Anywayyys..."