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How to handle people latching onto something one says to one-up another person

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Hi Everyone!

I was at dinner with my partner and others, and I said:

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Another person then latched on to this and said:

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

I thought saying something like “No, only when she’s around you” but then had a feeling it would be both too strong and too disempowering to my partner, and what came out as I changed mid-sentence was

Me: No, only when we’re all together like this.

Not good, I tried to minimize but accepted the frame.

I think people “latching on to something I say to one-up” is one of my current sticking points.

It’s particularly nasty because the “feeling” this engenders in me is that countering the frame means countering my past word.

How would you handle this, guys?

My take: besides not asking my partner what she wants to do with her food anymore (which I think was a mistake in itself), I should have probably answered by rejecting the frame altogether:

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: (to him) If you have something to ask to my partner, why don’t you ask her directly, and without joking on what I’m saying to her?

The idea being to both avoid triangulation by reempowering my partner and to surface the “nasty latching-on”.

On the other hand, I am unsure whether something like:

Me: (to him) Why are you being disrespectful now?

may be too strong in the presence of the “latch-on” cover.

I think this is a combination of triangulation, leading question and nasty microaggression. Very nasty.

Edit: maybe I could also simply surface and counter, at the price of (initially) appearing going counter to my past word.

Because it may be better to defend my partner (friend, relative) and appear illogical, than to hold to one’s word and not defend.

And besides, this manipulative power-move does twist the meaning of what I said:

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: (to him) Are you implying my partner eats too much?

Him: Woah, you said that!

Me: That‘s not what I said not what I meant. What did you mean?

Lucio Buffalmano, Ali Scarlett and 4 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettJohn FreemanTransitionedMats GMaverick

Hi Bel,

I think this one is quite tricky because like you say you can appear illogical if you call them out for latching on to something you did/said first. However, I think that if you don't care about appearing illogical and act as if it is perfectly normal, other people will buy into that frame. For example:

You: (to your partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to you) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

You: (to him) Are you implying my partner eats too much?

Him: Woah, you said that!

You: I know what I said, but why would you say that?

Here you don't make a big deal out of the fact that you said it first. Not sure it's the most effective technique but I think it's a helpful mindset that your actions doesn't excuse their poor behavior.

 

Another idea would be to call out their one-up. Either in a somewhat gentle way:

You: (to your partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to you) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

You: (to him) Woah, alright let's not gang up on [you partner].

You: (to your partner) I'm sorry that was a bad joke. (Shames him for following the bad joke while you apologize, which shows you are higher quality). 

 

In a more direct way:

You: (to your partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to you) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

You: (to him) Hey man, I would appreciate it if you don't disrespect my partner like that.

Him: What? You said it first.

You: That's my partner, please be more respectful.

Since it's your partner it is only natural that you have more leeway to joke around with her than other people do. If he doesn't get it you could either explain it to him or use the broken record technique until he backs off.

I think the key idea is that when you call them out and they respond with "you said/did the same thing" you don't defend or deny (which would thread expand), you simply ignore it and keep enforcing your boundaries until they back off.

Lucio Buffalmano, John Freeman and 3 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanTransitionedBelMaverick

Hi Bel,

Yours was a difficult position to be in, like you said it could have been avoided altogether by simply not asking, it could have appeared to him as a babying power move and his question too seems to be the continuation of the same, This is my opinion, I could be wrong.

Quote from Bel on January 21, 2023, 12:06 am

Hi Everyone!

I was at dinner with my partner and others, and I said:

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Another person then latched on to this and said:

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

I really loved Mats's answers, polite and no-nonsense answers,

I would suggest playing around with your answers, you are under no obligation to answer him, if at all you answer, why give him a straight answer.

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: Every tenth day from the blood Moon day

And Dudee that's my partner, You can't ask such things

If these are not enough, then doing what Mats suggests is best.

Mav

Lucio Buffalmano, John Freeman and 3 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanTransitionedMats GBel
Quote from Mats G on January 21, 2023, 1:44 am

Hi Bel,

I think this one is quite tricky because like you say you can appear illogical if you call them out for latching on to something you did/said first. However, I think that if you don't care about appearing illogical and act as if it is perfectly normal, other people will buy into that frame. For example:

You: (to your partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to you) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

You: (to him) Are you implying my partner eats too much?

Him: Woah, you said that!

You: I know what I said, but why would you say that?

Here you don't make a big deal out of the fact that you said it first. Not sure it's the most effective technique but I think it's a helpful mindset that your actions doesn't excuse their poor behavior.

 

Another idea would be to call out their one-up. Either in a somewhat gentle way:

You: (to your partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to you) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

You: (to him) Woah, alright let's not gang up on [you partner].

You: (to your partner) I'm sorry that was a bad joke. (Shames him for following the bad joke while you apologize, which shows you are higher quality). 

 

In a more direct way:

You: (to your partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to you) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

You: (to him) Hey man, I would appreciate it if you don't disrespect my partner like that.

Him: What? You said it first.

You: That's my partner, please be more respectful.

Since it's your partner it is only natural that you have more leeway to joke around with her than other people do. If he doesn't get it you could either explain it to him or use the broken record technique until he backs off.

I think the key idea is that when you call them out and they respond with "you said/did the same thing" you don't defend or deny (which would thread expand), you simply ignore it and keep enforcing your boundaries until they back off.

Thank you, Mats!

Great ideas that I'm definitely going to experiment with.

Mats G has reacted to this post.
Mats G
Quote from Maverick on January 21, 2023, 4:06 am

Hi Bel,

Yours was a difficult position to be in, like you said it could have been avoided altogether by simply not asking, it could have appeared to him as a babying power move and his question too seems to be the continuation of the same, This is my opinion, I could be wrong.

Quote from Bel on January 21, 2023, 12:06 am

Hi Everyone!

I was at dinner with my partner and others, and I said:

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Another person then latched on to this and said:

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

I really loved Mats's answers, polite and no-nonsense answers,

I would suggest playing around with your answers, you are under no obligation to answer him, if at all you answer, why give him a straight answer.

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: Every tenth day from the blood Moon day

And Dudee that's my partner, You can't ask such things

If these are not enough, then doing what Mats suggests is best.

Mav

Thank you Maverick!

Your answer had me laughing out loud, it's great!

Transitioned and Maverick have reacted to this post.
TransitionedMaverick

Some great ones here already.    I m wondering if you could circle the wagons.  Do the we re a team/social ostracising.

"Yes mate I m allowed to ask that question - I won myself a great girl"

In Oz I could get away with pulling her to me and giving a kiss on cheek as I said that.

Another option to backtrack a bit, provide cover for Bella and smooth over.

"Mate everyone loves pizza" or

"Everyone has their irresistible food - what s yours?"

I m with you Bel, I can't believe how rude people are these days.  Raised by social media seems to be same result as raised by wolves.

 

Lucio Buffalmano, Ali Scarlett and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettJohn FreemanBel

Yes, agreed that asking someone "are you sure you... " can feel like a babying power move.

Still, I personally wouldn't refrain from it just because it may be one.

The way I see it, it's fair for the male partner to be a bit higher power in the relationship and more proactive in overseeing the well-being of both.
But this is more about personal takes and if one disagrees with it, then yeah, it was a bit babying.

I personally don't see this as much different than any other power move use case just because it latched onto -and spun- what you previously said.

So:

  • "Why don't you say this to her" fails to address the power move. The problem is more about the content, than who it was delivered too (albeit that, too, was disrespectful)
  • "Why are you being disrespectful now?" is too strong in my opinion

I think that one of the simplest and most natural lines here would have worked well:

You: Wow, that didn't seem very nice to say

As long as you believe that -you do-, act like you believe it, and hold that line, it doesn't matter what he replies.
And it also doesn't matter which exact words you use.
You just keep holding that line

Ali Scarlett, John Freeman and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanTransitionedBel
Community, new content and Charisma University moved here.

Hello Bel,

This is a nasty comment. In these situations, I personally prefer to surface it. What he's implying is not totally clear and is leaving one wondering what he exactly means, something negative that is sure, but what exactly?

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: (to him): what do you mean? (with frowned eyebrows: puzzled look)

Or

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: (to him): why do you say that? (with frowned eyebrows: puzzled look)

Or

Me: (to my partner) Are you sure you want another piece of pizza?

Him: (to me) Yeah, is she always eating this much?

Me: (to him): why? (with frowned eyebrows: puzzled look)

Since what he says is nasty, either once you ask him to explain, either:

  1. He drops it/backtracks
  2. He explicitly says what he means and then you could address it, saying that it's not very nice.
Lucio Buffalmano and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoBel

Thank you, Transitioned and John.

Really useful ways to put this guy in his place.

Lucio Buffalmano and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned
Thank you Lucio!
This is really helpful as it makes me better understand the manipulative nature of the move:
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 21, 2023, 11:08 pm

The way I see it, it's fair for the male partner to be a bit higher power in the relationship and more proactive in overseeing the well-being of both.

So this guy (who btw is the guy who still owes me a dinner) not only was playing me and my partner one against the other, he was also trying to shame me for my role.

I think that one of the simplest and most natural lines here would have worked well:

You: Wow, that didn't seem very nice to say

As long as you believe that -you do-, act like you believe it, and hold that line, it doesn't matter what he replies.

This is perfect. Definitely will use it because I’m sure this will come up again now that he thinks he can play this move.

This is one person one can only benefit from losing.

However, even without knowing how to handle his move, just knowing what he was doing made all the difference.

Before TPM, this guy would play similar moves and would be successful in having me and my partner argue one with the other.

Now no more, we both understood he was playing a nasty game even though I was unable to check it.

Lucio Buffalmano and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned
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