Conversational Terrorism Visitor Additions

We get inputs from time to time on techniques that we missed or variations on a theme. Here are a select few.

From Lewis Wilson


A variation of the basic Question as Opportunity ploy is to ask the other party many rapid-fire difficult or time consuming questions, more along your lines of interest, or as a delay tactic similar in effect to the NIT PICKING technique. The questions should be asked in rapid succession so that the victim has no reasonable chance to reply, and will likely forget a few if they (foolishly) take the bait. Any that are neglected can be brought up later as an example of "not being able to answer a question".

"Define truth ... Define religion ... Define God ... Define evil ... Define mind ... "


With the nose tilted slightly upwards, appear to be disinterested in what the other party has to say: 1) because you "know" what they will say in advance, 2) to make the point via body language that what the other person is saying is essentially uninteresting or boring, or 3) as a bluff to see how far you can go with this rudeness before it is pointed out. Look around, nod with a patronized look on major points as if enduring an idiot, tap the fingers, roll the eyes ...

From Mary Riley


A response based on the premise that everything must somehow relate to me, as I control reality, you see. If you have an opinion, this only makes sense to me if it centers in me or my reaction to it. (Mary calls this the JUST SAYING THAT technique.)

"You're just saying that to annoy me."

"Oh, you like to express outrageous opinions just to shock me."

"Well if that's so, how do you account for my feeling that ..."


Claim wild elasticity in words ... to shift the meaning if caught in a misrepresentation or gaff. (Named by Mary as WORDS, WORDS, WORDS!)

"You're missing the point! You keep getting hung up on the words without seeing the meaning! Besides, that's not what *I* mean by science."

"There you go again, listening to what I say instead of what I mean."

From Jen Kickjoy


"Don't worry, we understand that you are emotionally insecure and have a difficult time admitting you are wrong."

"You seem really upset about this issue, Bill. Is there something in your personal life you would like to talk about?"

From Brad Whittet


Use flexible words like "sometimes", "often", "perhaps", "many", "could be", "in this scenario", etc. and be as vague as possible. Then, whatever turns out to be correct that someone else mentions, claim as your own position. Also known as ONE WAY OR THE OTHER or THE CHAMELEON.

From Rhonda Hartell


A variation of I'M NOT SAYING THIS, the idea here is to put words into the mouth of a mythical them.

"Everyone knows that...; People are saying...; Well, they say that...; The other kids...;" etc.

From Raul Miller


Assume the person's input or opinion is of no consequence based on some pretext.

"Since you are always negative, we will not bother responding to your concerns."

"Ignore Joe, he is just like that!"

From David Barnard


Subgroup of THE CHEAP SHOT. In response to a political, philosophical, religious, etc. statement that you do not like but cannot refute, switch gears from academic debate to personal attack .

"If you approach life like that, you'll never be able to sustain a marriage."

"I just wonder how your kids are going to turn out."

From Tracy Greenwood


A variation of the REPEAT OFFENDER gambit, the idea here is just to laugh and laugh and laugh. Of course, this is terribly rude, but since laughter is involuntary, the implication is that it must be the other person's fault.

From Kevin Krom


A variant of I KNOW BETTER is to convey that not only do you know that the other person is wrong, but so do they. Used to imply that the target is either too emotional, too biased, or too lazy to see the obvious "truth". This can be a great lead in for the I KNOW BETTER technique, as the resultant dumbfounded stare of the victim can be taken as tacit permission to tell them what you know they know.

"You should know better than that! If we did it your way ...."

"If you'd just stop and think about it for a second, you'll realize what a stupid point you just made."

"It's odd you'd say that, since, surely Jim, you know better ..."

From Dorothy Elfring


In the middle of a conversation, preferably in a group, make an irrelevant and subjective personal announcement if you do not like the direction the dialog is going. (Dorothy calls this the UNSOLICITED ANNOUNCEMENT technique.) Similar to the LOOK AT YOU technique, only here it is LOOK AT ME.

"I'm cold. Isn't it cold right here?"

"I'm so hungry! I didn't have breakfast."

From David Paterson


Suddenly become your opponent's closest buddy through back-slapping affectation. It works as a delaying tactic, and if done with enough charm can also allow for a complete change of topic, sort of like a PIVOT POINT that has no merit except that "we're buds" (even if, or especially if, you are not). Refer to the other person by name, very slowly, and give a knowing look, etc.

"Paul ... [long silence--tilt head with a smarmy emotional look on your face--to think of an answer]."

"We've known each other a long time ... Paul ...... and you know that [change of topic]."

How NOT to Talk

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