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Let's collect short and common powermoves

As a more practical counterpart to this thread, everyone can list powermoves that they have seen getting thrown at others or have been through themselves.


Many powermoves in one single thread gives us the opportunity to

  • test and find effective and broadly applicable goto responses and fallbacks to common powermoves,
  • see patterns
  • have a quick <2-seconds-reply-challenge from time to time

What Powermoves

The powermoves in here should ideally be:

  • short (i.e. they can hit fast!)
  • can come out of nowhere (ideally not too context dependent)
  • somewhat common
  • value-taking (put you in a bad or difficult spot - especially dangerous ones are of great here)



If you already have one or several responses, that's great.
To be able to use this thread also as a quick-response-challenge, it would be ideal if you put your responses to the powermoves in a blockquote with some empty lines, so others can challenge themselves and then read what you came up with afterwards when clicking the spoiler.


If you want to reply to a particularly interesting one in depth it is probably best to open another thread so we can keep this more of a collection that one can quickly go through and test out response patterns on.

We can also go through the threads already posted and link particularly fitting ones here again. John and Bels' threads in particular should be great sources.


Kavalier, Maya88 and 2 other users have reacted to this post.


Them: "Are you on drugs?"


Here is one that I received myself several times in different variations many years ago, and I think it is particularly nasty because it tries to attack happy people for being happy. It directly attempts to make the world a more miserable place.

It can come out of nowhere and could potentially leave a serious stain on you, so I think this is a great example for a dangerous one that can hit fast and strong:

  • Setting: 1-on-1, work environment(!), but especially harmful in group settings
  • Context: Simply having a great time and appearing happy. Or there is no apparent reason at all, and they make up an excuse like you drinking water from glass bottles (wodka).
  • Categorie: direct attack, or hidden behind a pretense of "care"
  • Powermovers' delivery: "concerned" or aggressive

Powermove (and Variations):

Them: "Did you take something?"

Them: "Are you on drugs?"

Them: "Did someone put something in your drink?"

Them: "Are you drunk?"

Them: "Do you drink while working?"

Them: "Do you drink before work?"


The response they wish for:
- If it is delivered aggressively they probably simply want to drag you down and fling mud at you.

- If it is delivered with "concern" they would like:
You trying hard to convince them that, no, you are not at all on drugs and explain yourself to them, so they rethink their judgement about you and judge you worthy.
Gives them lots of power, and also brings your mood down to theirs.


Real world example on Video










(1) "Yes, it's called dopamine! My brain does that for me."

=> Pattern: agree but redirect to harmless statement - this could've even worked in the interview with a big power difference because you don't attack back (which makes it also very consistent with your mood).

(2) - "If someone is happy, it does not mean that they are on drugs. Why would anyone think that?

=> Pattern: Stating their implicit claim explicitly and then simply disagreeing with it and then "naively" wondering why "anyone" (singles them out, less aggressive with "you") would think so. The less aggressive version could have worked in the interview situation.

(3) - "I hope you get to experience happiness without drugs [name]. You could start to make others happy instead of trying to drag them down, that works for me."

=> Pattern: Flying higher by wishing them well - pointing out their pessimistic claim of [someone being happy == someone on drugs]. Gets more aggressive with stating their apparent intention (dragging you down) compared to how they should behave

(4) - "Are you unhappy because you are not on drugs?"

=> Pattern: Flipping their frame on them
Could be combined with one of the former, like (2), attacking them back might conflict with your mood though.

(5) - "Do you randomly think about drugs often?"
(5) - "Do you obsess about drinking often?"

=> Pattern: "Wondering" if they think about what they came up with often
Also better in combination with one of the former as a way to escalate and attack them back, for example if they don't stop attacking you.

(6) - "This is not at all how friends behave."
=> Pattern: Judge as an observer (like someone watching the situation on video) and disapprove

(7) - "Trying to paint someone having a good time as someone with a drug problem is steeping very low and a very nasty and aggressive thing to do. If we were friends before, this would be the moment we wouldn't be friends anymore."
=> Pattern: Going Meta and shaming them for the harm they want to inflict upon you


Maya88 and Bel have reacted to this post.

Often times it might be enough to simply post their powermove as a quote without any more context - you decide.

Them: "Do you have a psychologist?"


Responses are in Johns' thread here.

One annoying and common one: "Are you alright ( or OK).  Same motive they want to push you down and get you justifying.  It's also babying as they re implying you need their help.

I d go with John s strategy on this one mirror the attack.  "I m great are you OK"



Lucio Buffalmano, Maya88 and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMaya88Bel

I m sure it's here somewhere.  It is kind of frame buffet.  One general approach I ve been thinking of is misinterpreting an attack as a positive.

E.g. "that's weird"

"Thank you I ve always been able to think outside the box"

Then bridge back.

"And I think you're like me on that"

What so people think on that as a way to lead back to a collaborative frame?


Bel and dsnw2022 have reacted to this post.