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Defense: "you're unbearable"

Hello guys,

tomorrow I'm going to see friends and a nasty social climber narcissist will be there. I'm thinking about a defense but haven't found one so far:

Situation

During a card game with bluff, the active player will announce a certain action. If he manage to guess my card, I lose. I like to pretend that he guessed right by making a sad face, reading the card again and again, etc. anything that is funny. And then I say: "no". It's fun to do those things. However when I do this, he goes "you're unbearable!", shakes his head and laughs, which frames me as a child who cannot behave and him as the superior judge.

I thought about it and I think in this case the best defense is mirroring. Because the context is actually a game and this is a fun moment to laugh with my friends and make them laugh. However, he takes this opportunity to one-up me.

I thought about it and I think in the context of a game, it's important to stay light-hearted. I know I already talked about that but I still haven't found the solution. I think that shaming or surfacing or going meta are too serious for this kind of context I think. I'm brainstorming.

However, I really don't like it. So I thought:

Him: you're unbearable!

Me: It's you who's unbearable!

I know that Lucio you said that it's not the best defense, that it could be scratching with the turkeys. However, I think it's the same case when someone goes high emotion and you go high emotion back on them. A bit like frame shocking.

I think it's not the best but I found mirroring people is effective in many situations. Like when people ask you how are you at work. It frames them as the leader checking on you. When you ask them back: "and you how are you?" it frames the interaction as two colleagues greeting one another. Same with "thank YOU", when you do it back, it brings the other person on the same level as you instead of below.

Do you have any idea on this topic?

Cheers!

How about:

Him: You're unbearable
You: Ahaha chill man, this is about having fun

Or

Him: You're unbearable
You: Ahaha don't take it too personally man, this is about having fun

Also notice how the others are taking it though.
If others enjoy it, then chances you're on the right track.

Quote from John Freeman on February 26, 2021, 1:32 am

I know that Lucio you said that it's not the best defense, that it could be scratching with the turkeys. However, I think it's the same case when someone goes high emotion and you go high emotion back on them. A bit like frame shocking.

Sometimes you'll need to slap a turkey back before you fly back up again.

It's more about the mindset, values, and goals, where you never want to get dragged down as those are more longer-term stuff.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 26, 2021, 1:45 am

How about:

Him: You're unbearable
You: Ahaha chill man, this is about having fun

Or

Him: You're unbearable
You: Ahaha don't take it too personally man, this is about having fun

Also notice how the others are taking it though.
If others enjoy it, then chances you're on the right track.

The thing is that it's about tempo and what is happening.

If he would not be there

  1. I'm making a joke
  2. People would just laugh and move to the next one. In board games, we always do silly stuff to make one another laugh. That what's fun.

Now:

  1. I'm making a joke
  2. People laugh and he laughs as well.
  3. He takes the judge role while adding a joke. One-upping me while saying that I'm unbearable is actually a good power move from his point of view. It makes him look leader-like and makes me look like a jester or a child.

The thing is that people are laughing at my joke and he's actually piggybacking on my joke to add his. I'm not sure in English it translates well. In italian maybe it would be: "Sei insopportabile!" said while laughing. So you and I know it's an insult and a one-up. Other people will perceive it as a joke. So if I say the sentences:

You: Ahaha don't take it too personally man, this is about having fun or You: Ahaha chill man, this is about having fun.

While people are laughing, I think they won't understand. It's something that a close friend would be to another friend they really like while laughing and slapping their shoulders, meaning: "Dude, I like your humor so much, I cannot resist laughing". And that's the subtlety of his attacks. He piggybacks on the previous frame to show him at superior. It's the same sentence, the same context, but not the same intention. I think that's why people don't understand that he's a value-taker.

I also thought about going more high-power and less warm when playing board games but this is not how I want to behave in these moments.

Quote from John Freeman on February 26, 2021, 1:32 am

I know that Lucio you said that it's not the best defense, that it could be scratching with the turkeys. However, I think it's the same case when someone goes high emotion and you go high emotion back on them. A bit like frame shocking.

Sometimes you'll need to slap a turkey back before you fly back up again.

It's more about the mindset, values, and goals, where you never want to get dragged down as those are more longer-term stuff.

Alright. It makes sense. So I think I'm going to slap some turkeys tonight. 🙂

Sam Wellington has reacted to this post.
Sam Wellington

What I'm realising today as I'm re-doing the lesson on aggressive behaviour is that I'm uncomfortable with this communication style. I knew it but it shows in this particular social challenge.

So I do everything to avoid it. I still harbour a certain fear of confrontation that goes with my anxious attachment style/ (former) submissive attitude. I developed them as a coping mechanism in my family. So allowing myself to be purposefully aggressive is a challenge for me.

So I think I'm rationalising to find a way out of aggressing him back. And there is not. I'll have to fight fire with fire and face my fear of being ostracized/shamed for expressing anger/aggression.

So I have a mindset problem and that blocks me to get to the proper behaviour, in this instance: fighting aggression with aggression.

Got it now, so it's not said seriously and it "rides on the coattails" of the joke, while everyone is still having a good time.

Yeah, that makes it very difficult to deal with, since it's difficult to isolate that one-upping power move from all the rest.

Personally, I'm not convinced this is a case of shying away from aggression, it's just a more challenging case to deal with.

In a way, consider this: the guy, for having been made fun of and taken along for a ride, has lost some value.
It's part of the game, but he's still lost some, and if he's touchy, he might have also been a bit emotionally pained -yes, we know it's part of the game, but we also know how things work with humor and games: there is often a backdrop of truth and real-life power dynamics-.
So it's understandable he might reply with that.

If you want to hit back again, you might one up back with something like:

Him: tu es unsupportable
You: You SO fell for it brother, ehehe

Now the frame is "you're angry because you fell for it (and I got you)", which reinstates your one-up frame.

I'd probably do the above, but I'd do this with a big smile, so it softens the delivery and it helps move along in good rapport.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you Lucio, that was very helpful.

So here is the Follow-up:

When I read your answer it clicked. I was just going to one-up him with humor. I was going to mirror him (mirror technique) by one-upping but go beyond the "no, you are unbearable". Because I actually have wits and humor. I just did not allow myself to use it so much on people because I found it a bit mean. Actually, I know that my smart can be used as a weapon and it can hurt people. So I consciously decided not to use it to hurt people. Now, I gave myself permission to use my intelligence and humor to defend myself. The guy had it coming. You want to take me on? Alright, here is a serving for you.

So I actually one-upped him and when he was saying stupid shit I told him he was saying stupid shit. I used to shine less to let others shine more. That could be a good attitude. But not in these situations. So it was a significant change of mindset for me.

[...] Your playing small does not serve the World.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.[...] -- Marianne Williamson

Cheers!

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