T Nation

Broken Records


Maybe its because I dont tend to get emotional in conversations with people other than my true friends, but I have a tendency to look for the message behind the words, and I get tired of people`s broken records real quick.

For example, let`s say Jane Doe hates people from XYZ country, and you can be sure every time XYZ is mentionned in a conversation, she will let her biased opinion out. Not that she wants to add anything to the conversation. She just wants to use the topic to make sure everyone knows her opinion.

(And I wont even talk about the cases where such people actively seek this kind of reaction when they break a silence period just to start complaining just and draw people into theirvictim` trap.)

After a while, it gets boring, in a push-button way. Mention XYZ - Get anti-XYZ answer. Really boring.

On the one hand, one has to be polite and respect others as they are, prejudices and biases included. On the other hand, one does not have the obligation to be a conversational masochist.

Other than change the subject, what tactics would you use in such situations? (Of course, I am talking about people who express themselves in this emotional push-button way and whom you will most probably never change their opinion anyway, since they are stuck behind that impenetrable wall of self-interest.)


You have three options:

  1. A roundhouse kick to the head (their head, or your own).

  2. Stop speaking to these people.

  3. Ask them to stop going on about whatever the hell it is you don't like them going on about.


Convey to them the unpleasant nature of their babble - with a roundhouse kick to the head.

Or you could use words like "negative" or "unpleasant", which are nothing less than polite, when you really want to say "ignorant" or "asinine".

How about, "I've heard your views on this matter before. Can we talk about something more pleasant?"


well you can either tell them you don't want to hear the same old shit.

Make changes to insure you won't hear that same old shit.

If you choose not to do anything about it, then you're choosing to live with it.


Good breakdown, though in a therapist/roleplay sort of way...

My GF does this with seafood, and I love seafood.

I'll mention getting the fish or shrimp and the same body language and words come out of her mouth.

"Ugh, I hate fish, you go ahead but I'm not kissing you the rest of the day..."

I finally said something along the lines of "Baby, I know, it's well documented how you feel about seafood, so stop it, you don't have to say a word because I already know... The horse is beaten and very dead. Jesus Christ!"

But I should have said something much earlier to prevent my outburst...



There can't be anyway that the rest of that meal went well.


That's why I provided the polite or professional wordage. I figured if he wasn't compelled to play nice (boss, co-worker, elderly aunt), they'd have been roundhoused already!

Just interrupt with "Can we please talk about something more pleasant?". And they'll probably be happy enough to abort the cortisol rush anyways.